**Scroll for updates** Within the past hour, the U. S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in the first of two cases related to the federal partial-birth abortion ban. Oral arguments in the second of the two cases will begin any minute now. SCOTUSblog is reporting:
C-SPAN has announced on their website that C-SPAN Radio will be broadcasting the audio of oral argument in today’s partial-birth abortion cases back-to-back beginning at 12:30 PM eastern.
C-SPAN’s website is here. **UPDATE: 11/8, 12:15pm: AP’s Mark Sherman posts a report on the hearings that notes the following:
Supreme Court justices Wednesday sharply questioned attorneys on both sides of the legal battle over what opponents call partial-birth abortions as the high court weighed whether to uphold Congress’s ban on the procedure.
A man in the audience began shouting midway through the proceedings, disrupting the hearing briefly before police dragged him away.
The AP article doesn’t offer any more explanation about what the man said, but whatever his opinion on abortion is, disrupting a Supreme Court hearing is an act of almost unbelievable stupidity. On the other hand, what I’ve listened to thus far from Solicitor General Paul Clement — who is arguing on behalf of the government that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban is constitutional — has been the opposite of stupid. He has been very articulate and thorough in answering the justices’ questions. **UPDATE: 11/8, 1:17pm: SCOTUSblog reports that the disrupter was an abortion opponent:
The Court proceeded with the case without allowing itself or counsel to be diverted by a brief but noisy outburst from a spectator, who shouted out against abortion and warned the Court of repentance before he was hustled out. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., reacted with some humor, telling the lawyer at the podium at the time that the Court would allow her an extra 30 seconds to make up for the brief pause. (The spectator, identified as Rives Miller Grogan of Los Angeles, was arrested under a federal law against disruptions in the Supreme Court or on its grounds and for resisting arrest, and was turned over to local authorities for possible prosecution.)
I repeat: Disrupting the hearing was an act of almost unbelievable stupidity. We pro-lifers face a constant struggle to dispel the stereotype that we are a gaggle of Bible-thumping, uncivilized, slack-jawed bumpkins. Idiotic stunts like the one pulled this morning at the Supreme Court make this struggle that much harder. **UPDATE: 11/8, 2:33pm: Transcript of Gonzales v. Carhart (the first of the two cases) is available here [PDF]. **UPDATE: 11/8, 3:07pm: Transcript of Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (the second case) is available here [PDF].