Texas urges Supreme Court to leave restrictive abortion law in place

WASHINGTON – Attorney General of Texas asked the Supreme Court Thursday to leave the state’s restrictive abortion law in place, saying ...


WASHINGTON – Attorney General of Texas asked the Supreme Court Thursday to leave the state’s restrictive abortion law in place, saying the federal government had no right to challenge it.

If judges are nonetheless inclined to hear the Justice Department’s request to block the law while court challenges continue, wrote Ken Paxton, the state attorney general, they should use the case to overturn Roe v . Wade and eliminate the constitutional right to abortion. .

State law, which has been in effect September 1, prohibits most abortions after six weeks and makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Abortion clinics in Texas have largely stopped performing the procedure, forcing women seeking abortions to travel out of state.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8, was intended to escape federal court scrutiny. It prohibited state officials from applying the law and allowed individuals to prosecute anyone who performed an abortion or assisted it in any way, including providing counseling, financial assistance, or a ride to the abortion. at the clinic.

Successful claimants are entitled to damages of at least $ 10,000 and payment of their legal fees. Defendants must bear their own legal costs, whether they win or lose.

Mr. Paxton wrote that the structure of the law is binding on the hands of judges.

“Basically, the federal government’s complaint is that SB 8 is difficult to effectively ban,” Paxton wrote. “But nothing requires a state to write its laws in such a way that they can be easily enforced.”

It would be a dangerous thing, he added, to allow the federal government to challenge the laws of states it has opposed. “The United States’ lawsuit against Texas is extraordinary in its scope and consequences, impacting precedents that have existed for much longer than any right to abortion has been recognized,” he said. he writes.

Mr Paxton took issue with the Justice Department’s assertion that state law conflicted with Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, rulings in which the court said the Constitution prohibits states from banning abortions before fetal viability, roughly 22 to 24 weeks.

“Merely creating the potential for liability for certain abortions is not a prohibition,” Paxton wrote. The only reason that many women in Texas cannot have an abortion, he wrote, “is that abortion providers choose not to provide them because they do not wish to plead their responsibility before an abortion. state court under a law they find unconstitutional “.

After devoting most of his brief to procedural arguments as to why the Department of Justice lacked the capacity to prosecute to block the law, Mr Paxton turned to key precedents, asking the court to overturn them s ‘he decided to consider the ministry’s request.

“Understood correctly, the Constitution does not protect the right to elective abortion,” he wrote, adding, “If it hits bottom, the court should overturn Roe and Casey. “

Last month, in a bitterly divided 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rejected an emergency request abortion providers in Texas to block the law as the provider’s legal challenge progressed. In an unsigned opinion in this separate lawsuit, the majority cited “complex and novel” procedural obstacles to blocking the law and stressed that they were not ruling on the constitutionality of the law.

The majority wrote that their ruling “in no way limits other appropriate procedural challenges to Texas law, including in the state courts of Texas.” Texas officials have said vendors can challenge the law by breaking it, being sued, and asserting the unconstitutionality of the law as part of their defense.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the three more liberal members of the court in dissent.

The Justice Department then filed its own challenge to the law, a challenge it said was not subject to the procedural hurdles providers faced.

On October 6, Judge Robert L. Pitman of the Austin Federal District Court ruled for the federal government, granting it a prior injunction prohibiting the State, its officials and individuals acting in concert with them from applying the law.

“It is up to them to decide whether other courts find a way to avoid this conclusion,” he wrote. “This court will not sanction this offensive deprivation of such an important right one more day.”

An injunction was an appropriate response, Judge Pitman wrote, to a law that both violated the Constitution and was drafted to escape judicial review.

“Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right through direct state action would be patently unconstitutional,” he wrote, “the state has designed an unprecedented and transparent legislative regime to do just that. “

A three-judge split panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans has stayed Justice Pitman’s decision, restoring the law. The Ministry of Justice then filed an application asks the Supreme Court to lift the suspension.

In their separate action, abortion providers, after losing a first round in the Supreme Court, filed a new claim last month, asking judges to hear their challenge quickly, bypassing the court of appeal, using a procedure called “certiorari before judgment”.

This procedure is rarely used, usually in cases involving national crises such as the seizure of the steel industry by President Harry S. Truman and President Richard M. Nixon’s refusal to turn the tapes over to a special prosecutor.

The providers said the court should use the procedure to decide what they said was an urgent matter: “Can a state isolate from review by a federal court a law that prohibits the exercise of a right? constitutional by delegating to the general public the power to enforce this prohibition through civil actions.

In a second deposit On Thursday, Mr Paxton urged judges to dismiss the providers’ request for expedited processing of their challenge. “This case does not deserve to be included in the small number of cases where this court has taken the extraordinary step of granting certiorari before judgment,” he wrote.

In December, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. The case is a direct challenge by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Texas urges Supreme Court to leave restrictive abortion law in place
Texas urges Supreme Court to leave restrictive abortion law in place
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