Sources have informed The Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration’s Department of Justice will indeed proceed with a lawsuit targeting the state of Texas for its new anti-abortion law, Senate Bill 8.
“The Justice Department could file a lawsuit as soon as Thursday, the people said, adding that the timing could be pushed back,” the Journal reported.
Last week, the Supreme Court declined to stay Senate Bill 8. The Daily Wire reported:
The ruling comes 24 hours after the Texas law went into effect on Wednesday morning, banning abortions in almost all cases after cardiac activity is detected in the unborn child. The court’s decision sets up a potentially historic win for the pro-life movement by overturning Supreme Court precedents set in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
While Texas is not the first state to enact such legislation, known as “heartbeat” laws, Texas’s case is the first to avoid a stay preventing the law from taking effect. The Supreme Court decided in a narrow decision against granting relief to a group of abortion providers in the state. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal wing in dissenting.
After the Supreme Court declined to issue a stay of the bill, President Biden issued a statement condemning the decision, threatening a “whole-of-government” attack on the law as he wrote:
I am directing that Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision, looking specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.
This week, 23 Democrat members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in which they claimed, “This ban is a clear violation of a woman’s right to choose an abortion prior to fetal viability established nearly fifty years ago under Roe v. Wade.” They also stated their objection to a provision of the new law that the law permits private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion” in violation of the law,” snapping, “This private right of action is the law’s most insidious feature. It represents an effort by the State of Texas to evade judicial scrutiny long enough for a clearly unconstitutional law to take effect.”
They wrote dramatically, “This perverse system has not only a chilling effect on a deeply private decision-making process that is essential to a woman’s personal autonomy, but is also just plain chilling.”
The New York Times stated:
The Texas law bars state officials from actually enforcing it, a design intended to make it difficult to challenge in the courts. Usually a lawsuit aiming to block such a law as unconstitutional names state officials as defendants. Instead, the Texas law deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who performs an abortion or “aids and abets” a procedure. Plaintiffs who have no connection to the patient or the clinic may sue and recover legal fees, as well as $10,000 if they win.
“The Texas abortion law sets no limit on how much money those who sue to challenge abortions can recover. If they prevail, they can also demand that the losing party pay their legal bills. If they lose in court and their case is dismissed, they owe the defendant nothing,” the Journal pointed out.
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