On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to halt a Texas pro-life law but agreed to give two cases regarding challenges to the law expedited review, with oral argument set for Monday, November 1.
In the opinion and order, the high court stated:
Consideration of the application (21A85) to vacate stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is deferred pending oral argument.
In addition, the application is treated as a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, and the petition is granted limited to the following question: May the United States bring suit in federal court and obtain injunctive or declaratory relief against the State, state court judges, state court clerks, other state officials, or all private parties to prohibit S.B. 8 from being enforced.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred in part, but also dissented in part, writing an opinion about the court’s action.
Sotomayor acknowledged, “[t]he Court is right to calendar this application for argument and to grant certiorari before judgment in both this case and Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson…in recognition of the public importance of the issues these cases raise. The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now.”
She added, “These women will suffer personal harm from delaying their medical care, and as their pregnancies progress, they may even be unable to obtain abortion care altogether. Because every day the Court fails to grant relief is devastating, both for individual women and for our constitutional system as a whole, I dissent from the Court’s refusal to stay administratively the Fifth Circuit’s order.”
As Politico previously reported, “Texas on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to turn away a Biden administration effort to halt enforcement of the state’s six-week abortion ban but broached the possibility that justices could also opt to use the matter to more broadly consider decades-old precedents affirming abortion rights.”
As The Daily Wire reported earlier this week, the Biden administration’s Justice Department officially asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on Texas’s pro-life law yet again and temporarily halt the law while legal actions continue.
As reported by The New York Times:
The court signaled that it may act quickly. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who oversees the federal appeals court responsible for Texas, asked officials there to file their response to the Justice Department’s application by Thursday at noon. The court could rule in the following days.
The Justice Department’s brief stated that the law is “clearly unconstitutional.”
“Allowing S.B. 8 to remain in force would irreparably harm those interests and perpetuate the ongoing irreparable injury to the thousands of Texas women who are being denied their constitutional rights. Texas, in contrast, would suffer no cognizable injury from a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of a plainly unconstitutional law,” it went on.
The brief also requested that the high court go around the appeals court and take it on as a case this year.
Texas’ Heartbeat Act effectively outlaws abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, when fetal cardiac activity can be detected. As The Daily Wire previously reported, “The Texas law allows citizens to sue abortion providers and those who ‘aid and abet’ illegal procedures for a financial reward if the lawsuit is successful.”
The Biden administration has attempted to block the law in the courts prior to this most recent effort.
The Supreme Court previously refused to block the law and notably didn’t rule on the constitutionality of it when it did so. Rather, it made its decision based on specifics of the law’s enforcement mechanism.
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