Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy jolted conservatives on Monday when he surprisingly voted to uphold wider abortion access in Texas.
Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, went along with the high court's liberal justices to strike down 5-3 a Lone Star state law that placed strict regulations on abortion doctors and clinics, making it harder for them to practice.
The Hill reports
that Kennedy has been a party-crossing wild card in the past.
Last week, Kennedy he helped uphold race-based affirmative action in university admissions across the nation. And last year, he leaned liberal to uphold same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act.
Close observers of the Supreme Court had said it would be hard to predict Kennedy's direction in the Texas case.
The Hill said during oral arguments earlier this year, Kennedy said evidence that showed "medical abortions are up nationwide but down significantly in Texas," — which "may not be medically wise."
Within minutes of the Supreme Court's 5-3 ruling
, Republican lawmakers denounced it, with House Speaker calling it "a stunning disappointment."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.