The Supreme Court has Ruled on the Texas Abortion Law
The Supreme Court ruled on Friday on the controversial texas abortion law, and experts are calling it a mixed bag. There are two parts to this ruling. The first part states that abortion advocates can move forward with their attempts to stop the law known as SB8. The other part of the ruling states that while those cases are playing out in court, SB8 will be allowed to continue.
SB8 is the abortion law that took effect in Texas back in September of this year and essentially bans all abortions after six weeks. It is important to understand, however, that the Supreme Court justices were not deciding whether or not the law was constitutional, or whether it was constitutional for state governments to in essence ban abortions. What they were actually looking at was the legality of the enforcement mechanism written into this law. This enforcement mechanism was added to avoid judicial review by taking the power away from the state government, and instead giving private citizens the ability to essentially police and civilly sue over it.
Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, saying that abortion advocates could go ahead with suing over SB8. However, he said that state judges, clerks and the Attorney General were not the right people to go after. Instead, he said that the proper defendants to sue would be the officials that have regulatory authority over abortion providers.
The other part of the ruling again allows the law to continue while the cases are making their way through the court system. We do expect that abortion advocates will take their cases right back to the federal district court in Texas to sue those mentioned officials. These cases will likely follow the same path as they did to get to the Supreme Court. In regards to how long this will take, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the lower federal courts should take up and resolve these cases brought by the abortion advocates without delay because of the chilling effect of this state law.
It is also important to note that the Supreme Court just heard a big abortion case out of Mississippi ten days ago from last Friday. In that case, they actually were looking at whether or not the substance of Mississippi’s abortion law was unconstitutional. That case is of course a direct challenge to the decades-old abortion rights and protections granted under Roe V Wade. The ruling for this case is expected to come down in June of 2022.