The court will not stop the ban on abortion in Texas, but will allow to sue clinics

V Supreme Court on Friday upheld Texas’s ban on most abortions, offering only a glimpse of daylight to state clinics to challenge the nation’s strictest abortion law.

The ruling, made a little over a week after the court announced that it would waive abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, was greeted with dismay but praise by abortion advocates. …

Five conservative judges, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, formed a majority to limit who the clinic can sue, which both sides believe would likely prevent federal courts from effectively blocking the law.

The court can sue Texas licensing officials, but not state judges, clerks or Attorney General Ken Paxton, as the court ordered. Under the unusual structure of Texas law, this appears to give people the opportunity to sue abortion clinics and anyone who “aids or instigates” an abortion performed after the embryo has been found to have cardiac activity for about six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant.

“The Supreme Court essentially approved the Texas cynical scheme and prevented federal courts from blocking the unconstitutional law,” the Center for Reproductive Rights, representing Texas clinics, said on Twitter.

The court acted more than one month after hearing disputes under the law, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

The law is in effect for about three months, starting September 1. The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling to legalize abortion nationwide has remained in effect since 1973.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, who has consistently voted against abortion rights, did not mention Roe in his primary opinion before Friday’s trial. Gorsuch is one of Trump’s appointees, along with Judges Brett Cavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett.

Abortion providers will now try to follow the same legal process that previously frustrated them. A federal judge who has already blocked a law known as SB 8 once will almost certainly be asked to do so again. His decision will then be reviewed by the 5th US District Court of Appeals, which voted twice to enforce the abortion ban.

Either way, this could all go back to the judges, and so far there have been no five votes in a nine-member court to suspend the law while the legal battle continues.

“The court should have put an end to this frenzy a few months ago, before SB 8 first came into force. Then he couldn’t do it and he is failing again today, ”Judge Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion on Friday.

The conservative majority of the court is also likely to overturn abortion rights in the Mississippi case, which was discussed last week, although this decision is not expected until spring.

If Rowe is rejected, the fight over Texas law would be largely irrelevant because Texas is one of 12 states that have laws banning abortion in the post-Rowe world.

The Supreme Court ruling on Friday was made the day after a state court judge in Texas Holds the application of the law, which rewards lawsuits against violators with $ 10,000 sentences, is unconstitutional but the law upheld.

The legal battle over Texas law has focused on its unusual structure and whether it unduly restricts the ability to challenge the law in court. Texas lawmakers have delegated responsibility for enforcing the law to individuals, not government officials.

The law allows lawsuits to be brought against clinics, doctors, and others who perform or facilitate prohibited abortion. The case raised a complex set of questions about who can sue in federal court, which is a typical way of challenging abortion restrictions. Moreover, federal courts usually block similar laws that are based on traditional state and local law enforcement.

On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the clinics’ suit against the ban by 8 votes to 1, with only Judge Clarence Thomas voting no. But the court was split – 5-4 – on the difficult question of who to target the court order, which is supposedly trying to block the law. The judges ruled that Texas licensing officials could be sued, but dismissed the claims against state court judges, court clerks, and the state attorney general.

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Gorsuch wrote that those who perform abortions must abide by the same rules as those who defend other constitutional rights. “The Court has consistently applied these requirements irrespective of whether the contested law is considered to restrict freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms or any other right. The applicants are not eligible for special exemption, ”wrote Gorsuch.

Chief Justice John Roberts and three Liberal justices disagreed with this portion of the ruling, stating that the purpose of the Texas law was to “overturn this court’s orders” regarding abortion.

The same four judges expressed their opposition in September, when the court once refused to block the law.

“The nature of the violated federal law does not matter; The role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system is at stake, ”wrote Roberts.

Roberts called on US District Judge Robert Pitman, whose previous blocking order had been overturned by the appellate court, “to promptly provide an appropriate judgment.”

Sotomayor also chastised her colleagues for their involvement in “disastrous consequences for women seeking to exercise their constitutional right to abortion in Texas.” She said the court’s ruling closed the most direct route to challenging the law and would “clear the way” for other states to “re-examine and improve the Texas scheme in the future to pursue the goal of enforcing any right recognized by this court that they disagree with.”

Since it took effect in September, the law introduced the country’s strictest ban on abortion since the Supreme Court first declared a woman’s right to abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade judgment.

In the first month of the Texas law, a study published by researchers at the University of Texas found abortion rates across the state fell 50% from September 2020. According to the study, the study was based on data from 19 out of 24 clinics in the state. Texas Policy Assessment Project.

According to a separate study by the Guttmacher Institute, some residents who left the state in search of an abortion had to travel far beyond neighboring states, where clinics cannot cope with the increase in the number of patients from Texas.

Following a September vote in court, the Justice Department filed its own lawsuit under Texas law. On Friday, the judges dismissed the claim, which raised a number of difficult legal issues.

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