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A spate of decisions handed down by the nation’s high court on Tuesday left room for cheers — and jeers — from both the right and the left, continuing a trend of judicial independence that flies in the face of expectations that Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment tipped the scales of justice firmly to the right.

So much for a predictable Supreme Court.

A spate of decisions handed down by the nation’s high court on Tuesday left room for cheers — and jeers — from both the right and the left, continuing a trend of judicial independence that flies in the face of expectations that Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment tipped the scales of justice firmly to the right.

The latest batch of orders and opinions included one likely to be celebrated by both sides of the abortion debate, another giving promise to those seeking greater accountability for the actions of border patrol agents, and another that left in place an Obama-era policy regarding transgender students.

The abortion case involved two aspects of a law that was first passed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana. One part required fetal remains to be disposed of separately from surgical byproducts following an abortion, and the other prohibited abortion when the decision was based on the sex, race, or possible disability of a fetus.

The unsigned ruling of the court disagreed with the Seventh Circuit’s decision that blocked part of the law involving the disposal of remains. The court ruled that because the law did not present any burden against a woman’s ability to get an abortion, it only needed to pass the low level of scrutiny that requires it to be “rationally related to legitimate government interests.” The court found that it met that requirement, in that it was related to the interest of “proper disposal of fetal remains.”

As far as the prohibition on race-, sex-, or disability-based abortion, the court punted. By refusing to hear the issue, they left in place the Seventh Circuit’s decision against it, effectively allowing such abortions to go on. At the same time, however, the court made a point of saying that their decision was only based on the fact that only one Circuit Court had ruled on the issue so far, and “expresses no view on the merits of … whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex-, race-, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers.” That means that in theory, the court could rule against such a law in the future.

Next is the case of Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, where Pennsylvania students were pushing against a school policy of allowing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their gender identity instead of their sex at birth. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, leaving the policy in place.

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Source: Supreme Court hands down varying decisions in hot-button abortion, transgender and border cases

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