A year ago, almost to the day, writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the constitutional right of a property owner divested by a local government ordinance to sue for just compensation.
The owner in Knick v. Township of Scott had failed to seek compensation in state court before filing her federal lawsuit. That meant her federal case should have been barred under the court’s 1985 ruling in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank. But no, reasoned the chief justice. If the justices upheld that precedent to foreclose Knick’s suit, they would be elevating their own wrongly decided precedent over the Constitution’s prohibition on government takings without just compensation.
Yet Monday, in June Medical Services v. Russo, Roberts clung to stare decisis, the principle of upholding precedent, in order to protect the putative “right” to abortion, a wholesale invention of willful progressive justices that is bereft of constitutional grounding.
There are, of course, four uber legislators on the court — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — who reliably vote as a bloc whenever doing so is necessary to advance the Left’s agenda