The U.S. Supreme Court was asked Monday by 23 attorneys general and Washington, D.C. to block the Texas near-total abortion ban. They filed an amicus brief, arguing that the law is a new frontier in Republican attempts to restrict abortion.
Pro-abortion rights activists demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court, Washington, DC, March 4, 2020. AFP via Getty Images
The Key Facts
After the government requested that the Supreme Court block Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) from being in effect, and hold oral arguments, the brief was filed in connection with the DOJs lawsuit. The Supreme Court then decided whether the law should be struck down entirely. The states claim that SB 8, which prohibits abortions for nearly all after six weeks of pregnancy, is a brazen disregard for the Constitution. It also flout[s] court precedents when it comes down to allowing abortions. Because Texans who want to have abortions must travel to other states in order to get them, the AGs claim that Texas' law has an adverse effect on their states. This is putting pressure on the resources of New Mexico, California and Nevada. SB 8 is controversially enforced by individuals filing lawsuits against anyone who aids or abets abortions, rather than government officials. This has resulted in a strain on the resources of those states, including New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Colorado. California, Connecticut, Delaware and Hawaii signed the brief.
The Texas legislature passed SB 8. It imposes an all-encompassing ban on abortions in Texas. However, it also attempts to block judicial review and shield the State from responsibility for its unconstitutional ban. This unprecedented attack on the rule-of-law must be rejected.
Texas has yet to respond to the Justice Departments Supreme Court Petition, but it has previously supported the argument of other states that the law is harming Texas neighbors. In response to the Biden administrations claim that the law is burdening interstate commerce, Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, claimed in a court filing that SB 8 sends Texans to other States to obtain abortions.
After the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday night that the law should be kept in force while litigation continues, the Justice Department requested Monday's Supreme Court to address the Texas abortion law. An appeals court issued a temporary stay to prevent a lower court injunction from stopping SB 8 being enforced while the legal battle continued. This resulted in abortion becoming legal in Texas for only two days before the appeals courts issued their first temporary ruling. Because it was too early to bring the case, the Supreme Court already weighed in on SB 8. The court did not address the constitutionality of that law, but abortion providers asked for a second look. However, the court has not yet taken any action.
Biden Administration Asks Supreme Court To Block Texas Abortion Law (Forbes)
24 Attorneys General Ask Court To Block Texas Abortion Ban (Forbes)