September 26, 2022

Supreme Court to allow ‘Heartbeat bill’ to stay in place during legal challenges

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that it would hear arguments in the Texas bill that banned abortion after heartbeats could be detected in the unborn child with a caveat. 

According to a report in Breitbart News, however, the Court will allow Texas Heartbeat Act (S.B. 8) to remain in effect while the legal challenges brought by abortion providers proceed through the system.

The decision was 5-4 in the nation’s high Court had Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the abortion providers while Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett were in the majority and agreed with Gorsuch majority opinion:

“In this preliminary posture, the ultimate merits question—whether S. B. 8 is consistent with the Federal Constitution—is not before the Court. Nor is the wisdom of S. B. 8 as a matter of public policy,” Gorsuch said in his opinion.

“Generally, States are immune from suit under the terms of the Eleventh Amendment and the doctrine of sovereign immunity,” Gorsuch continued, adding, “this Court recognized a narrow exception,” one that “allows certain private parties to seek judicial orders in federal court preventing state executive officials from enforcing state laws that are contrary to federal law.”

“But … this traditional exception does not normally permit federal courts to issue injunctions against state-court judges or clerks,” he noted. The only recently seated justice went on to parse out some of the more crucial issues of the case and the Court’s position:

“Judges exist to resolve controversies about a law’s meaning or its conformance to the Federal and State Constitutions, not to wage battle as contestants in the parties’ litigation.”

As to the dissenting opinions, Gorsuch answered those saying, “Simply put, nothing in any of our colleagues’ cases supports their novel suggestion that we should allow a pre-enforcement action for injunctive relief against state-court clerks, all while simultaneously holding the judges they serve immune … Nor does Justice Sotomayor explain where her novel plan to overthrow this Court’s precedents and expand the equitable powers of federal courts would stop—or on what theory it might plausibly happen to reach just this case or maybe those exactly like it.”

The case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, No. 21–463 in the Supreme Court of the United States.




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