On Tuesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5 to 4, with three Trump-appointed judges joining two other Conservative judges. The dissidents were Chief Conservative Judge John Roberts and the three Liberal judges of the court.
The decision left open the option for abortion providers to challenge Texas law in other ways in the future, leaving open the possibility, even the likelihood, that the case will return to the Supreme Court, though not for longer. months or more.
The opinion was not signed. He said abortion providers did not adequately address “complex and new background procedural issues” in his case.
“In reaching this conclusion, we emphasize that we do not intend to definitively resolve any jurisdictional or substantial claim in the plaintiffs’ claim, ”the decision said. “In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas law and does not in any way limit other procedurally appropriate challenges to Texas law, including Texas state courts.”
The ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy is long before most women know they are pregnant and disagrees with Supreme Court precedents, which prohibit states from banning abortions before the viability of the fetus, usually between 22 and 24 weeks. The Texas bill, however, was structured in such a way that the law could not be quickly tried in the courts.
Because the established procedure for challenging state law is to sue officials charged with execution, the Texas state legislature wrote the law instead of putting citizens at the forefront of execution. Specifically, the law allows anyone, without establishing any personal interest, to sue clinics and people alike for “helping and inciting” abortions performed after six weeks.
This may involve the focus of responsibility not only on clinics, but on people who work in clinics, who drive patients to clinics, or help fund abortions.
The lawsuit came just before midnight on Wednesday, almost a day after the law went into effect. Reproductive rights defenders last week filed an urgent appeal in court after a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals court overturned a hearing that had been scheduled by a federal trial judge. on whether the law should be blocked.
Chief Justice Roberts, a dissenter, said he would have temporarily blocked the law from coming into force to give lower courts adequate time to hear and decide “whether a state can avoid liability for its laws” by “essentially delegating”[ing] application to … the general population “.
He acknowledged that the case presents difficult and novel issues, but none of the lower courts had yet thoroughly studied them. Nor, Roberts said, had the cases been fully reported or considered by lower court judges.
Liberal judges Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined Roberts’ opinion. Each also wrote separately, as did Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Breyer, citing Marbury’s famous 1808 case against Madison, said that normally when a legal right is invaded, the law itself “provides a legal remedy on demand,” and that law, he suggested, does the opposite.
Judge Kagan, in her written dissent, said that “Texas law delegates to individuals the power to prevent a woman from having an abortion during the first stage of pregnancy. But a woman has the federal constitutional right to obtaining an abortion during this first stage, “a right that the Supreme Court has repeatedly approved over nearly half a century.
Judge Sotomayor used bolder language than the other three dissidents.
“The court order is impressive,” he wrote. “Filed with a petition for a flagrantly unconstitutional law designed to ban women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, most judges have chosen to bury their heads in the sand. Designed to prevent judicial review and causes significant harm to applicants and women seeking abortions in Texas, I disagree. ”