Texas abortion case arguments show polarized court. The Supreme Court spent 85 minutes hearing oral arguments Wednesday in “its biggest abortion case in years,” Reuters reports. The court’s four liberal justices leaned towards striking down the Texas law that opponents argue makes access to abortion doctors and clinics harder for women. With the decision expected by June, all eyes will be on potential swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, although it’s widely believed his vote will fall on the conservative side. If that happens, the 4-4 decision will essentially delay the court taking a position on abortion. Further, by letting the Texas law stand, the court “could encourage other states with anti-abortion legislatures to pass similar laws.” Reuters

 

Supreme Court vacancy heavily impacts the working class. As if a reminder about how contentious the void left on the Supreme Court by Justice Scalia’s death was needed, Buzzfeed’s labor reporter Cora Lewis provides a quick run-down of the top cases that will affect the working people. Among the cases looming for the court are lawsuits over non-members of public sector unions being forced to pay dues, rights for undocumented workers and the very functionality of the National Labor Relations Board. Buzzfeed

 

White House meeting between Obama and Senate Republicans yields nada. CNN reports President Obama “confronted” Senate Republican leaders in a meeting at the White House on Tuesday (March 1) but, there was no progress on their opposition to him nominating anyone to the Supreme Court. Sitting in on the meeting with the president and vice president were Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Senate Democrats Patrick Leahy and Harry Reid. CNN

 

Supreme Court keeps milestone Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan in place. By deciding not to review a challenge to an Environmental Protection Agency-led effort, the court essentially told American Farm Bureau Foundation to take a hike. The court’s action – technically, inaction – infers that U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo was correct in her 2013 ruling that the EPA has authority “under the Clean Water Act to partner with the six states in the bay watershed to cut the pollution that pours in from sewers, construction developments and chemical and biological waste from farms,” the Washington Post’s Darryl Fears reports. Washington Post

 

Health insurance spending transparency dealt a setback. In a 6-2 vote, the Supreme Court sided with Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in a case involving data on health insurance spending. Liberty cited a 1974 law in its argument that it should not have to submit data on its clients in Vermont, since “companies that have operations across the country shouldn't be subjected to 50 different state laws” and answer only to the U.S. Department of Labor.” NPR via ProPublica