The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not hear two cases brought by states seeking to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding, as Republican-appointed justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh sided with their liberal colleagues.
The court rejected appeals from Kansas and Louisiana, which sought to overturn federal appeals court rulings barring them from cutting off the medical provider's funding. The court's order announcing its decision not to hear the cases does not list how each of the justices voted.
But Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision. He was joined by fellow conservatives Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito. Four justices must agree to take up a case in order for the court to hear it. The court would have taken up the case had either Kavanaugh or Roberts, the chief justice, wanted to do so.
Kavanaugh's decision is particularly notable. Anti-abortion groups celebrated his confirmation in October and many assumed his ascension to the bench would solidify a conservative majority that would take on abortion rights. The cases the court declined to hear Monday did not directly concern the legality of abortion, though Planned Parenthood is a frequent target of lawmakers who oppose it. In his dissent, Thomas said his colleagues' decision was rooted in the abortion issue though the cases themselves were not.