Although the Supreme Court has not yet blocked the Texas law banning most abortions, it has accepted to hear arguments in the case beginning in November.
Friday’s statement by the justices indicated that they would decide whether the federal government is entitled to sue for violating the law. This question will determine whether or not the law should be blocked, while legal challenges continue. It seems that the court is moving at a very fast pace and intends to make a decision quickly. Nov. 1 is the date for arguments
Court’s decision leaves in place a law that clinics claim has resulted in a 80% decrease in abortions in the country’s second-largest.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated that she would have blocked this law.
Sotomayor wrote that “the promise of future adjudication offers cold consolation, however, for Texas abortion care seekers who are entitled now to relief,”
Except for a 48-hour pause by a district court, the law has been in force since September. It bans abortions after cardiac activity is detected. This usually happens around six weeks before most women realize they are pregnant.
This was well before the Supreme Court made major abortion decisions that allowed states to ban abortion. However, the court agreed to hear an appeal from Mississippi, asking it to overrule the decisions in Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood.
The Texas law was intended to avoid early federal court review and instead allow enforcement to be done by private citizens.
In a brief order, the Supreme Court stated that the focus of high court arguments will not revolve around the abortion ban but rather whether the Justice Department can sue to obtain a court order that effectively blocks the law from being applied.
“No decision of the Court is safe if the law remains in force.” States do not have to comply with or challenge precedents they do not agree with. They could simply outlaw the exercise or disfavor of any rights,” the Biden administration stated in a brief filed earlier that day.
Because they are inconsistent with Supreme Court precedents, courts have blocked other state-enforced abortion bans before 24 weeks.
The administration stated that Texas should not be able to achieve a different result by combining its unconstitutional law and an unprecedented enforcement scheme that evades the traditional mechanisms of judicial review.
The state had asked the court to strike the law, claiming that the federal government was unable to file a lawsuit against the Texas ban.
After an earlier attempt by abortion providers to temporarily suspend the law, the Supreme Court denied the Justice Department’s request.
Robert Pitman, U.S. District Judge, ruled in favor of the administration in October. He put the law on hold and allowed abortions to resume.
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals heard the case two days later. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the law.
Already, the court is hearing arguments in the Mississippi case on Dec. 1. The state wants the court to reverse the Roe/Casey decisions.