John Roberts Speaks on Abortion Case

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We will soon find out how Chief Justice John Roberts will rule on abortion.

The audio recording of oral arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood is up at the C-Span website. The case involves a New Hampshire law that requires parental notification for minors and a 48-hour waiting period.

The majority of the arguments centered around the health exception of the child with only a little concerning parental notification. I've listed all the times Roberts speaks in case you want to try to figure out where he will stand and don't have time to listen to the entire thing.

After listening I am confident Roberts will join the conservative wing, but you never know.

7:30 Justice Breyer hammers Attorney General Kelly Ayotte for the law not having health exemption.
11:23 Stevens sounds very good for 85 years old; wants to know why the law doesn't have a health exception.
12:23 Scalia speaks for first time.
12:57 Roberts speaks for first time. Will physicians face lawsuits?
16:31 Scalia assists the struggling Ayotte by saying physicians can avoid lawsuits if they must perform emergency abortions.
17:23 Roberts talks.
18:01 Ginsburg demands health exception be written into law. Hints she will vote to overturn law.

20:10 Roberts allows Solicitor General Paul Clement to talk
21:00 Clement confronts Souter on Casey merits.
26:02 Scalia wonders if such matters should be left to legislature.
27:40 Scalia and Souter duel on health exception.

30:53 Jennifer Dalven for Planned Parenthood gets to speak
33:21 Dalven argues "Too late for minor to go to court when is in ER"
33:43 Scalia says: "An abortion judge can be reached anytime, anywhere. It takes 30 seconds to make the call. This is an emergency situation?"
34:58 Roberts talks.
35:46 Roberts wonders why rare medical emergencies should invalidate laws for everyone else.
37:33 Roberts talks some more.
40:50 Roberts.
42:18 Roberts.
43:43 Scalia.
44:39 Scalia.
48:50 Roberts defends legislators for not putting health exception into law. Adjourns arguments at 53rd minute mark.