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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in Louisiana on Monday, a sign that even if the court's newly expanded conservative majority wants to chip away at abortion rights, it will likely do so incrementally.

Why it matters: The court's 5-4 ruling largely leaves the status quo of abortion law unchanged, affirms the court’s precedents and leaves big decisions about the future of abortion access for another day.

The big picture: Louisiana had required abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Supreme Court struck down nearly identical requirements in Texas in 2016. And the justices said today that their earlier decision controls this case, too.

  • Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's more liberal justices in the decision, though his concurrence was based on the precedent established by the Texas case.

This is not a particularly groundbreaking ruling on the law.

  • But it will likely upset conservative activists who want to see the court — and Roberts, in particular — constrain abortion rights and move more aggressively on a host of issues.
  • This is the third blockbuster case in a row, following rulings last week protecting LGBTQ workers and upholding the DACA immigration program, in which at least one of the conservative justices sided with the liberals.

The bottom line: Legal experts from both sides of the ideological divide still expect the court to ultimately chip away at access to abortion and narrow the scope of the precedents that make it legal.

  • And it will likely get there by upholding state laws that place some type of limits on access to the procedure. Those laws will need to be a little more different from restrictions the court has already, and recently, struck down.

Read the ruling.

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2020 - Technology

In Google/Oracle case, Supreme Court will weigh software's future

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Oracle and Google will have their day at the Supreme Court Wednesday, tangling via teleconference in oral arguments aimed at resolving a decade-long battle over whether common interfaces between software programs can be protected by copyright.

Why it matters: The case lies at the heart of how modern software development works, and each side says a ruling in the other's favor will chill innovation. More narrowly, the Supreme Court may settle the question of whether Google owes Oracle nearly $9 billion in damages, as Oracle claims.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."

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