Abortion Providers Say Court of Appeals Slows Texas SB 8 Trial, Asks Supreme Court to Intervene – Again

Topline

Abortion providers on Monday asked the Supreme Court to review their lawsuit challenging Texas’ near-total abortion ban for the third time, hoping to expedite the case after a a conservative appeals court declined to immediately transfer it to a lower court more likely to rule in favor of the suppliers.

Highlights

The motion asks the Supreme Court to order the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to return the case to a lower district court.

The Supreme Court ruled in December that abortion providers have the right to sue certain named defendants in their lawsuit challenging Texas Senate Bill 8, which bans nearly all abortions after six weeks and allows private citizens to sue anyone “aiding or abetting” an abortion.

The high court then referred the case to the 5th Circuit, which is widely regarded as one of the most conservative courts in the country and previously ruled against a separate SB 8 challenge launched by the Biden administration.

Rather than referring the challenge to the district court – which is more likely to rule in favor of abortion providers, as it has already briefly blocked the law once, and would allow the case to move more quickly through the court system – the 5th Circuit instead scheduled a hearing to determine whether the case should be sent to the Texas Supreme Court, which would then determine how the case would move forward.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the organizations representing abortion providers, said in a statement that the 5th Circuit was “unnecessarily delaying” the case by doing so, and the providers note in their petition that the actions of the appeals court could “derail” the process “indefinitely” and harm Texans seeking abortions by keeping the law in place.

crucial quote

“In the absence of Court intervention, the Fifth Circuit is poised to review the issues already decided by the Court…and delay the resolution of this matter in the District Court by at least weeks, maybe even months or longer,” abortion providers told the Supreme Court. To research.

To monitor

The 5th circuit has program his hearing in the case on Friday morning. The petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to seek a response from Texas officials by Wednesday, which would allow the High Court to potentially rule before Friday’s hearing.

Tangent

Even if the case goes to the lower court and finds in favor of abortion providers, it will not completely block SB 8. The Supreme Court limited the scope of the lawsuit in its December ruling, stating that abortion providers can only sue doctors. licensing officials tasked with punishing doctors and nurses who perform abortions, but not state judges or other state officials who also play a role in law enforcement.

Key Context

Monday’s Supreme Court motion is the latest twist in litigation challenging SB 8, which has so far avoided being struck down in court like other state abortion bans because of its mechanism. enforcement of prosecutions. Abortion providers first asked the Supreme Court to rule on the law before it takes effect on September 1, and judges decided to leave it in place because they felt it was too soon to take legal action. The case was then reported in court a second time in September — also arguing that the 5th Circuit was slowing the case — and the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on that lawsuit and the Biden administration’s challenge. The court’s 8-to-1 decision to let abortion providers sue only certain defendants was seen by abortion rights advocates as a narrow victory at best, as it severely limited the lawsuit, and the conservative-leaning court dismissed the federal government’s lawsuit and refused to hear the case.

Further reading

Texas abortion law: Here’s what happens next after the Supreme Court refuses to block it (Forbes)

Federal appeals court to hear Texas abortion case on January 7 (NBC News)

Supreme Court rules against Texas in abortion case – partially – but leaves law in place (Forbes)

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