This has been difficult to process.
What is this about abortion being banned in Texas?
When I first heard the news, I thought to myself … surely, there will be a media firestorm and the Supreme Court will strike this down before I can write about it. The True Cons on the Supreme Court will come up with some convoluted rationale for why there is nothing that they can do and the Constitution says that abortion is the law of the land and will issue an opinion that sustains the status quo.
This isn’t happening because Notorious RBG croaked on the eve of the 2020 election and Trump succeeded in getting Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court who appears to have delivered a victory for the pro-life movement. This Texas law essentially bans the vast majority of abortions in the state.
“The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. The move, a response to an emergency application from abortion providers in the state, came less than a day after the law became effective, severely restricting access to the procedure.
The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s three liberal members in dissent.
The majority opinion was brief and unsigned, and it said the providers had not made out their case in the face of “complex and novel” procedural questions.
“In reaching this conclusion,” the opinion said, “we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’ law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts.”
In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that he would have blocked the law while appeals moved forward.
“The statutory scheme before the court is not only unusual, but unprecedented,” the chief justice wrote. “The legislature has imposed a prohibition on abortions after roughly six weeks, and then essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large. The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the state from responsibility for implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime.” …”
John Roberts, of course, sided with the progressives.
“In its next term, which starts in October, the Supreme Court is set to decide whether Roe v. Wade should be overruled in a case from Mississippi concerning a state law banning most abortions after 15 weeks that has been blocked by the courts. …”
Apparently, this decision doesn’t uphold the constitutionality of the Texas law, which is still in legal limbo and could still be challenged and overturned. It might only be a temporary victory. The real test is coming up in the Supreme Court’s next term in which Roe itself could be overturned. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Mississippi law will be a defining moment for the conservative legal movement.