Supreme Court Allows Challenge Of Texas Abortion Law But Leaves It In Force

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a challenge to a Texas abortion law that banned most abortions in the state after about...


WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a challenge to a Texas abortion law that banned most abortions in the state after about six weeks, ruling that state abortion providers could sue some officials state in federal court despite the procedural hurdles imposed by the unusual structure of the law.

But the The Supreme Court refused to block the law meanwhile, saying lower courts should consider the matter.

This development was both a victory and a disappointment for proponents of the right to abortion, who had hoped that judges would reverse the course of a September 1 ruling that allowed the law to come into force, causing state clinics to interrupt the execution of the procedure and forcing many women to have abortions travel out of state.

The decision in the Texas case came less than two weeks after the court heard a direct challenge to the right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, in a case involving a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. Roe prohibits states from banning abortion before fetal viability, the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or around 23 to 24 weeks after a pregnancy begins.

The court’s six-member Conservative majority appeared poised to uphold Mississippi law, and several justices have indicated they will vote to reject Roe outright. A decision in the case is not expected before the end of June.

Texas law flouts Roe’s viability line banning abortions once fetal heart activity can be detected, usually around 6 weeks.

The Texas law challenges were not about the constitutionality of the law, but whether the law could be challenged in court by state or federal abortion providers. The cases gave the court an opportunity to reconsider its earlier ruling allowing the law to come into force before judges challenged its constitutionality or settled the question of how it could be challenged.

Texas law, known as Senate Bill 8has unusual characteristics.

Usually, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. However, Texas law, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, prohibits state officials from enforcing it and instead allows individuals to sue anyone who practices the procedure or the rape. “help and encourage”.

The patient may not be prosecuted, but doctors, clinic staff, counselors, people who help pay for or take the procedure to it are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who do not need to live in Texas, have a connection to the abortion or show damage caused by it, are entitled to $ 10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win. Successful defendants are not entitled to legal fees.

The court’s previous encounter with the law left judges bitterly divided, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the three more liberal members of the court in dissenting.

The majority opinion, issued just before midnight on September 1, was unsigned and consisted of one long paragraph. He said abortion providers who challenged the law in an emergency request had failed to make their case to “complex and novel” procedural issues. The majority stressed that it did not rule on the constitutionality of the texan law and did not want to limit “appropriate procedural challenges” to him.

Each of the dissenting judges provided an opinion in this earlier decision.

“The court order is astounding,” wrote Judge Sonia Sotomayor, for example. “Presented with a request to ban a clearly unconstitutional law designed to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evading judicial scrutiny, a majority of judges chose to stick their heads in the sand . “

“The court rewarded the state’s efforts to delay federal consideration of a clearly unconstitutional law, enacted in defiance of court precedents, with procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation,” wrote the judge Sotomayor. “The court should not simply ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and the rule of law.

The case came to the Supreme Court on two separate tracks. After the court dismissed the providers’ request for emergency relief, the justice ministry filed its own challenge to the law, which it said was not subject to the procedural hurdles providers faced. The case quickly reached the Supreme Court on an emergency request.

Abortion providers have also returned to court, asking judges to use an unusual procedure – “prejudgment certiorari” – to skip the appeals court and decide whether they have the right to sue.

The Supreme Court agreed to decide the two cases on October 22, putting them on an extraordinarily fast track. He heard arguments just 10 days later, on November 1, focusing on whether suppliers and the government had the right to sue in light of the unusual structure of the law.

To these arguments, two members of the original majority, Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, asked questions suggesting that they might have changed their minds about the law.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Supreme Court Allows Challenge Of Texas Abortion Law But Leaves It In Force
Supreme Court Allows Challenge Of Texas Abortion Law But Leaves It In Force
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