Law

Supreme Court signals quick resolution on Biden challenge to landmark Texas abortion law

Acting solicitor general claims Texas has ‘nullified’ the Supreme Court’s precedents on abortion

The  U.S. Supreme Court signaled a quick resolution to the latest challenge to Texas’ landmark abortion law Monday, hours after the Department of Justice under President Biden asked the court to block the law, which bans abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity.

The court signaled that it will move quickly on the issue, asking Texas officials for a response to the DOJ request by midday on Thursday, Reuters reported. The justices also fast-tracked their consideration of whether to immediately take up a separate challenge to the law, brought by abortion facilities in the state.\

In a 41-page filing Monday, Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher condemned Texas, claiming that the state has “successfully nullified [the Supreme] Court’s decisions within its borders” by circumventing Roe v. Wade and making “abortion effectively unavailable in Texas after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.”

Pro-life activists have celebrated that most abortion facilities ceased operation when the law took effect.

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Fletcher asked the Supreme Court for a preliminary injunction, blocking the law until the federal courts issue a final ruling on the merits. 

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo the Supreme Court is seen in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
source J. Scott Applewhite

The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, effectively prohibits abortion at around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant. Rather than having the state enforce the ban, the law creates a private right of action against individuals who commit or aid and abet an abortion that violates the law – but not against the woman who undergoes the procedure.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected requests for a stay when abortion providers sought to prevent the law from becoming operative until the resolution of a court dispute. The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, which allowed the law to go into effect. 

The Department of Justice then filed a motion to block the law, and U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman issued the injunction earlier this month. 

The Fifth Circuit reversed Pittman’s injunction, however, so the DOJ is appealing the case to the Supreme Court.

The case will go to Justice Samuel Alito, who handles matters pertaining to the Fifth Circuit Court. 

Written by Tyler O’Neil 

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