OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The U.S. Supreme Court’s first decision of its current term involves somewhat of a non-traditional case between two southern states.
In a unanimous decision Monday, the high court “rejected a claim that the Memphis, Tennessee, area has been taking water that belongs to Mississippi from an underground aquifer that sits beneath parts of both states,” The Associated Press reported.
The AP added:
The high court’s first decision of the term came in a case argued in October, deflating expectations that the justices would resolve the issue of whether Texas’ ban on most abortions could be challenged in federal court.
Two cases on the Texas issue were argued Nov. 1 under an accelerated process that the court has previously used only rarely and in some of its most notable decisions, including the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election.
But those cases remain unsettled.
In writing for the court over the water dispute that goes back to 2005, Chief Justice John Roberts relied on justices’ longstanding embrace of the fair-share concept when it comes to deciding disputes over such resources from rivers and streams. The legal doctrine is known as equitable apportionment, according to the AP.
However, Mississippi Mississippi, though, “contends that it has sovereign ownership of all groundwater beneath its surface, so equitable apportionment ought not apply.
“We see things differently,” Roberts wrote.
Though the water source being disputed in the case is situated hundreds of feet below ground, Roberts noted further that the justices “see no basis for a different result.”
Justices’ decision to put off the Texas ruling left many liberals angry.
In fact, a number of prominent Democrats railed at the justices for failing to take action in the case and used the opportunity to once again call for packing the court with left-wing justices.
“The Supreme Court has allowed Texas’s abhorrent anti-abortion law to remain in effect for 83 days,” Demand Justice, a pro-court-packing organization run by former Obama administration staffers, tweeted. “We cannot keep waiting for this Court to act in the interests of the American people – it’s time to #ExpandTheCourt.”
“Many guessed the Supreme Court would weigh in on the Texas law today but it turned out to be a giant head fake. It is insane we let the third branch of government conduct itself with so little transparency when it comes to rights this fundamental,” wrote Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon, the former press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Fox News compiled some additional responses:
“SERIOUSLY. AN ORIGINAL JURISDICTION CASE,” Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser tweeted, using the legal term for disputes between states that go directly to the Supreme Court.
“LOLZ at all of us for thinking that the Supreme Court might do something sensible in an abortion case today,” he added. “The Supreme Court is bad, y’all.”
“John Roberts playing ‘haha made you look’ when it comes to abortion rights is about all you need to know about this Supreme Court. #ExpandTheCourt,” Demand Justice Chief Counsel Christopher Kang tweeted.
“If we still believed that the Supreme Court actually wanted to protect our constitutional rights that went out the window (once again) this am,” MiQuel Davies, who works with the group Physicians for Reproductive Health, said. “There is a constitutional right to abortion. S.B.8 is unconstitutional and cruel. I can’t.”
Last month, Justice Sonia Sotomayor complained about the high court refusing to block Texas’ six-week abortion ban.
In a rant that stretched several pages, she trashed her conservative colleagues while also sensationally claiming that the court “cannot capture the totality of this harm in these pages.”
“But as these excerpts illustrate, the State (empowered by this Court’s inaction) has so thoroughly chilled the exercise of the right recognized in Roe as to nearly suspend it within its borders and strain access to it in other States,” Sotomayor wrote. “The State’s gambit has worked. The impact is catastrophic.”