President Biden directs DOJ to sue Texas over abortion law

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President Biden directs DOJ to sue Texas over abortion law

The Justice Department reportedly is preparing to sue Texas over the state’s recently enacted law prohibiting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, setting up yet another court battle over one of the most contentious issues in the American culture war.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday that the suit challenging the law, known as SB8, could be filed as soon as Thursday. President Biden, who has described the law as “almost un-American,” announced in a statement last week that he had directed the Justice Department to find ways to block its enforcement.

The Supreme Court voted late on Sept. 1 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers attempting to prevent the law from taking effect — though the justices stressed that the order was not a judgement on the law’s constitutionality and emphasized that challenges to the measure could still go forward in lower courts.

Protesters
The Justice Department will look to sue Texas over the state’s recently enacted law prohibiting abortions.
ZUMAPRESS.com

The Texas law is different from most abortion restrictions because it leaves enforcement to private citizens using civil lawsuits rather than government prosecutors. SB8 authorizes payment of $10,000 or more to anyone who successfully accuses a person in court of performing or aiding an abortion.

Some experts have warned that SB8’s reliance on private citizen enforcement makes it near-impossible for would-be legal challengers to identify individuals as respondents in a lawsuit.

The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court voted in September to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers attempting to stop the mandate.
AP

According to Mary Anne Franks, a constitutional scholar and professor at University of Miami School of Law, the way the Texas law is written means “you can’t do anything until someone actually attempts to use this law, and that’s really late in the game.”

Even if a suit filed under the law is successfully defended, that may not stop other lawsuits from following close behind. A Texas judge’s decision last week temporarily shielding some abortion clinics from being sued by the state’s largest anti-abortion group, for example, didn’t affect any other potential plaintiffs.

The Journal reported that the Biden administration is expected to argue that the state law interferes with federal interests. The DOJ deployed a similar argument last month to win an injunction from a federal judge blocking an executive order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that authorized state troopers to stop and potentially impound vehicles suspected of carrying illegal immigrants.

protester
A protester is seen holding a sign against the new abortion ban the state of Texas imposed.
AP

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments this fall in another case regarding the constitutionality of a Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after the 15-week mark of a pregnancy except in a medical emergency or cases of severe fetal abnormality.

In briefs filed before the court in July, Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch argued that Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion across the US — should be overturned, saying that “nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion.”

With Post wires

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