Thomas M. Messner, J.D.Senior Fellow In Legal Policy
Thomas Messner, J.D., is Senior Fellow in Legal Policy at CLI where he researches and writes on issues involving life and conscience. Messner earned his law degree from Notre Dame Law School and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. After law school, Messner clerked for Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, and practiced law in Washington, D.C. Previously Messner served as a Visiting Fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, where he researched and wrote about religious liberty and other issues.
On June 29, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform the abortion. Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh dissented, with each writing separate dissenting opinions. Justice Gorsuch joined all of Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion and Justice Thomas and Justice Kavanaugh joined parts of it. Here are 7 of the top quotes from today’s dissenting opinions.
The Supreme Court's ruling today in the June Medical case does not answer the question whether the free-form balancing test required by the 2016 Hellerstedt decision "supplants" or "supplements" the undue burden test from Casey.
As the Supreme Court moves toward the end of its term having heard abortion cases involving admitting privileges and legal standing, a provocative question of potentially wide scope could be headed its way. The question is whether states may prohibit the eugenic practice of Down syndrome discrimination abortion, which occurs when an abortion is performed because a child has Down syndrome. The question has already drawn a powerful opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote last year that the issue is still one of first impression after nearly five decades of abortion decisions.
Title X Litigation Update: What’s Next for Trump’s Protect Life Rule after Huge Win in Ninth Circuit?
Abortion advocates ferociously attacked the Protect Life Rule in federal court. Eight separate lawsuits were filed in federal district courts, two in California, two in Oregon, two in Washington state, one in Maine, and one in Maryland.
The stated purpose of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2019 is to protect the ability to perform and obtain abortions. An earlier version of the legislation, introduced in the 113th Congress, was described by one lawmaker’s office as the “Abortion On Demand Act.” H.R. 2975 would supersede and apply to all Federal law notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and it would trump any State law that conflicts with H.R. 2975. H.R. 2975 is premised on the belief that abortion is “essential” to women’s health and “central” to women’s ability to “participate equally” in economic and social life.
The Supreme Court Has Said It Will Hear a Major Abortion Case from Louisiana. Here’s What You Need to Know.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a major abortion case from Louisiana. The name of the case is June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Gee. The Court is expected to hear arguments on March 4, 2020 and issue a decision by early summer 2020.
Since January 2010, twenty-one states have enacted statutes prohibiting abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, roughly five months or more than halfway through pregnancy. All but one of these laws make at least some explicit reference to fetal pain in either the title, findings, statement of purpose or intent, definitions, substantive provisions, or some combination of these legislative elements.
On May 28, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-anticipated ruling in an abortion case from Indiana involving disposition of fetal remains and whether a state may prohibit abortions performed because of the child’s race, sex, or diagnosis of Down syndrome or other disability.The lower courts had struck down both policies. The Supreme Court reversed the lower court and upheld Indiana’s fetal remains law but declined to rule on the Down syndrome issue at this time.
On April 26, 2019 the Kansas Supreme Court declared that the Kansas state constitution guarantees a right to abortion. The case involves a challenge to a Kansas statute banning the practice of dismemberment abortion.
Justice Thomas to Supreme Court Justices: Don’t “consult popularity,” rely only on “the Constitution and the laws”
Last week Justice Clarence Thomas issued a respectful but strong admonition to his colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court in his dissent from the Court's decision to deny review in two suits filed by Planned Parenthood.