Crime & Justice

Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Provision Mandating Fetal Burial Or Cremation

An abortion-rights supporter argues with an anti-abortion-rights protester in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 21 during demonstrations in defense of abortion rights.
An abortion-rights supporter argues with an anti-abortion-rights protester in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 21 during demonstrations in defense of abortion rights.
Anna Gassot/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court is leaving in place part of an Indiana law that mandates that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

The court did not take up the part of the law that banned abortions because of fetal abnormality or race or sex of the fetus. A lower court knocked down that part of the law in addition to the burial provision. The Supreme Court, though, will wait for other lower-court rulings before weighing in on the fetal characteristics provision.

Vice President Pence signed the legislation when he was governor.

Essentially, the high court is punting here on the issue of abortion to keep it out of the court — for now. But it's sure to come back.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a long, anti-abortion-rights concurrence, criticizing the court's reluctance to take up the Indiana law more fully. More on the case.

Court rules for school district on transgender bathroom rules

Without comment, the court also left in place a lower-court ruling that went in favor of the Boyertown, Pa., school district that lets some transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that they choose, matching their gender identity. More on the case.

Immigration case

The court also will take up cases together about whether families of Mexican immigrants killed on foreign soil (Mexico) by U.S. agents at the border can sue in the U.S. The cases are out of Texas and Arizona and will not be argued until at least October, when the new term begins.

This is the third time the court has taken up a cross-border shooting case. More on the case.

Opinions of the court: Probable cause is enough

There are about a dozen major cases the court is set to decide on by the end of June, but the court did not rule on any of those Tuesday. It did issue one that essentially said if there's probable cause for an arrest, that's good enough, and someone cannot sue if they think their First Amendment rights were being infringed upon.

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