Steven Colloton

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Pro-choice Republicans and the Federalist Society appear to be lining up behind pro-choice Judge Steve Colloton as of mid-December, and are pushing him to be nominated to the Supreme Court, despite how he joined a decision forcing Missouri to promote the KKK on signs as part of Missouri's "Adopt-A-Highway" program. Robb v. Hungerbeeler, 370 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 2004). A few months after his KKK decision, Colloton cast the deciding vote against the right of pro-lifers to hold signs along a street, on a petition for rehearing of Frye v. Kan. City Mo. Police Dep't, 375 F.3d 785 (8th Cir. 2004). In other words, Colloton denied to pro-lifers rights similar to what he granted to the KKK.

Colloton has two additional court decisions in favor of the pro-abortion side (see below), and another decision in which Colloton wrote a separate concurrence to demand that lawmakers defer to abortionists as though they were professionals. Colloton revealed, unwittingly, his full support of the pro-abortion mindset of Roe v. Wade in his refusal to join the heart of the pro-life decision and instead merely concur in the judgment, by writing the following:

... I thus concur that the State was permitted to require a description of the relative risks as reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, with the physician free to augment that description based on his or her professional judgment. Ante, at 25 & n.8.
For these reasons, I concur in the judgment.

Planned Parenthood Minn. v. Rounds, 686 F.3d 889, 906-07 (8th Cir. 2012) (Colloton, J., concurring in judgment, emphasis added). Colloton's grant of carte blanche to abortionists as though they are professionals diluted the South Dakota pro-life law and renders virtually any pro-life law about disclosure to be ineffective.

Colloton thereby echoed the pro-abortion mindset in Roe v. Wade, which likewise required the state to defer to the "professional judgment" of abortionists, such as Kermit Gosnell. This empowers abortionists to exploit the mother and terminate the life of the unborn child with impunity, and without the state being able to protect the unborn child in any way. Judge Colloton's language above is very similar to this central passage in Roe v. Wade itself:

[This Roe v. Wade] decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention. Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician.

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 165-66 (1973) (emphasis added).

Colloton insisted on allowing abortionists to say whatever they want in order to perform their abortion, which is the same wrongful approach taken by Roe v. Wade. The pro-life court majority in the Rounds II en banc case never deferred to the "professional opinion" or "professional judgment" of abortionists, but Colloton insisted that lawmakers must defer to abortionists as though they were professionals.

Colloton refused to concur with any of the pro-life heart of the court decision. Specifically, Colloton refused to agree with any of its conclusion (Part VI), which was as follows:

In conclusion, we hold that the requirements of S.D.C.L. § 34-23A-10.1(1)(e)(ii) are satisfied by a disclosure that the relative risk of suicide and suicide ideation is higher for women who abort compared to women in other relevant groups, as described in the relevant medical research. The statute does not require the physician to disclose that a causal link between abortion and suicide has been proved. The disclosure is truthful, as evidenced by a multitude of studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals that found an increased risk of suicide for women who had received abortions compared to women who gave birth, miscarried, or never became pregnant. Various studies found this correlation to hold even when controlling for the effects of other potential causal factors for suicide, including pre-existing depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, child neuroticism, and low self-esteem.
Moreover, the suicide advisory is non-misleading and relevant to the patient's decision to have an abortion, as required by Casey. It is a typical medical practice to inform patients of statistically significant risks that have been associated with a procedure through medical research, even if causation has not been proved definitively. While Planned Parenthood points to uncertainty as to whether abortion itself is a causal factor in the observed correlation to suicide, as opposed to other underlying factors that tend to be associated independently with both abortion and suicide, the Supreme Court "has given state and federal legislatures wide discretion to pass legislation in areas where there is medical and scientific uncertainty," including "in the abortion context." Gonzales, 550 U.S. at 163-64. Thus, a truthful disclosure cannot be unconstitutionally misleading or irrelevant simply because some degree of medical and scientific uncertainty persists. To be sure, informed consent requirements "must be calculated to inform [a] woman's free choice, not hinder it," Casey, 505 U.S. at 877, but there is no unconstitutional hindrance of the woman's choice where, as here, the State merely is using "its regulatory authority to require a physician to provide truthful, non-misleading information relevant to a patient's decision to have an abortion, even if that information might also encourage the patient to choose childbirth over abortion," Rounds, 530 F.3d at 735.

Planned Parenthood Minn. v. Rounds, 686 F.3d 889, 905-06 (8th Cir. 2012) (emphasis added). By declining to join this, and instead insisting that lawmakers defer to abortionists, Colloton demonstrated that he would not support a reversal of Roe v. Wade.

On a personal side, Colloton's father, John Colloton, made millions of dollars in leadership positions at multiple entities that perform or fund abortions.

In another case in which Colloton sided with so-called reproductive freedom, he took the unusual step of overturning a condition of probation imposed by a federal district court that had stopped a career criminal from continuing to engage in sexual activity which had resulted in ten out-of-wedlock children with seven different mothers. United States v. Harris, 794 F.3d 885 (8th Cir. 2015).

Colloton is being promoted by pro-choice Republicans and interest groups because he is not going to be pro-life, and will not overturn Roe v. Wade.

Colloton's other two pro-abortion decisions

The additional two decisions by Judge Colloton in favor of the pro-abortion side were in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Heineman, 664 F.3d 716 (8th Cir. 2011), and Coca-Cola Co. v. Purdy, 382 F.3d 774 (8th Cir. 2004).

In Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Colloton joined the pro-abortion Judge Bye as he relied on a procedural technicality to preclude appeal of a settlement that abandoned defense of a good pro-life Nebraska law. The pro-aborts in Nebraska had cut a sneaky, hasty deal with the Attorney General to prevent him from defending the pro-life law, and a pro-life group intervened twice to object to the settlement and then defend the law. Nope, Judge Colloton ruled in siding with Judge Bye, based on timeliness even though two motions to intervene had been timely filed. The result was that more abortions continued to be performed in Nebraska without protection of the victims, as the pro-life law never went into effect.

In Coca-Cola Co. v. Purdy, Judge Colloton sided with the pro-abortion Judge Murphy to render a harsh, unjustified ruling against a pro-life internet activist. The activist was using variants on trade names to direct internet visitors to pro-life information. A federal statute, the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, requires proof that such activity was being engaged in "for profit" before it could be applied against free speech on the internet. Judge Colloton sided with Judge Murphy's ruling that pro-life activism is somehow "for profit," which is implausible, and these judges came down hard on the pro-life internet activist.

Colloton's support of Harry Blackmun's standing decision

Many good pro-life laws are invalidated under a loophole created by Justice Harry Blackmun for abortionists to the normal limitation on third-party standing. (Justice Blackmun was the author of Roe v. Wade and was obsessed with ruling for abortionists for the remainder of his career.)

Colloton has favorably cited Blackmun's pro-abortion precedent on multiple occasions. For example, Colloton praised Blackmun's decision as:

the Supreme Court's prime example of permissible third-party standing, where requiring the third party to assert his own alleged right "'would result in nullification of the right at the very moment of its assertion.'" Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 116, 96 S. Ct. 2868, 49 L. Ed. 2d 826 (1976).

Danos v. Jones, 652 F.3d 577, 582 (5th Cir. 2011).

Colloton's decision in favor of the KKK

In 2004, Judge Colloton joined a decision requiring Missouri to authorize the KKK's participation in the Adopt-A-Highway program in Missouri. See Robb v. Hungerbeeler, 370 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 2004). The State of Missouri had rejected KKK's application to participate in the program, which required erecting a sign promoting the KKK, but Judge Colloton supported an order forcing Missouri to comply with the KKK's demands. In the decision Judge Colloton did not express any discomfort with the ruling in favor of the KKK.

The plaintiffs in the case were the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Realm of Missouri, Unit 188," the "Knights of the Ku Klux Klan," Thomas Robb (its national director), and Ralph Griffith (Unit 188's coordinator). Judge Colloton ruled entirely in their favor and required Missouri to promote the KKK on state-owned signs placed along a highway.

Colloton's deciding vote against pro-lifers

In Frye v. Kan. City Mo. Police Dep't, 375 F.3d 785 (8th Cir. 2004), a panel for the Eighth Circuit held by a 2-1 margin against the free speech right of pro-lifers to hold signs along a roadway. A petition for rehearing en banc was filed for reconsideration by the entire Court. Judge Colloton cast the deciding vote against rehearing the case, and against his pro-life colleagues on the Court. Frye v. Kan. City Mo. Police Dep't, No. 03-2134, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 19032 (8th Cir. Sep. 9, 2004). Judge Colloton so held despite his ruling merely a few months earlier in favor of the KKK on a similar issue.

Voted against free speech by pro-lifers

Judge Colloton concurred in large part with the pro-abort judges who sided against the free speech rights of a pro-life group, Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life, in Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. v. Swanson, 692 F.3d 864, 887-88 (8th Cir. 2012).[1]



See also