The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop Senate Bill 8 (Texas law banning all abortions after six weeks of gestation) from entering effect. The unsigned majority opinion of 5-4 in favor stated that “the applicants now before them have raised serious doubts regarding the constitutionality the Texas law at issue.” Whole Woman’s Health V. Jackson. The majority of those present said that the group would not act at this time due to the “complex antecedent procedural problems also raised”.
The Supreme Court today agreed to address those procedural issues head-on. Additionally, the Court has agreed to address these procedural questions on a fast track. Just 10 days away, the justices will be hearing oral arguments about two cases related to Texas’ abortion law.
It is the unique structure of law that causes legal disputes. Normaly, the state that regulates an activity is responsible for its enforcement. If a constitutional challenge has been filed, the federal court will then answer the law. This is not the Texas law. It says that the abortion ban “shall be enforced exclusively through…private civil actions.” Specifically, “any person” may sue “any person who…aids or abets the performance or inducement of abortion” and win a $10,000 award plus legal fees if the civil suit is successful. Texas’ Texas law had the purpose of allowing state officials to avoid federal legal responsibility.
Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear 2 cases Whole Woman’s Health V. Jackson United States v. TexasBoth deal with S.B. 8’s unique structure. 8’s unique structure. Whole Woman’s HealthThis Court will examine “whether a State may shield from federal-court scrutiny a law that prevents an exercise of a constitutionalright by delegating authority to the public to enforce it through civil actions.” In U.S. v. TexasIt will be considered by the Court whether the federal government can bring suit before a federal court in order to seek injunctive, declaratory relief against state judges or other officials of the state, as well as any private parties that may prohibit S.B. 8 cannot be applied.”
This means that the Supreme Court will not consider abortion as a matter of course on November 1. Instead, it will look at the legality, and possibly ask what parties could challenge this Texas-based scheme.