Abortion providers say Court of Appeals slows down Texas SB 8 lawsuit, asks Supreme Court to intervene – again



Top line

Abortion providers on Monday asked the Supreme Court to review for the third time their lawsuit challenging Texas’ near-total abortion ban, hoping to expedite the case after a Conservative appeals court refused to immediately transfer it to a lower court more likely to rule in favor of providers.


The petition asks the Supreme Court to order the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to refer the case to a lower district court.

The Supreme Court ruled in December that abortion providers have the right to prosecute certain named defendants in their lawsuit against Texas Senate Bill 8, which bans nearly all abortions after six weeks and allows citizens deprived of taking legal action against anyone who “assists or encourages” an abortion.

The high court then returned the case to the 5th Circuit, which is widely regarded as one of the most conservative courts in the country and which previously ruled against a separate SB 8 challenge filed by the Biden administration.

Rather than sending the challenge back to the district court – which is more likely to rule in favor of abortion providers because it has already briefly blocked the law once and would allow the case to go through the court system more quickly – Instead, the 5th Circuit has scheduled a hearing to determine whether the case should be referred to the Texas Supreme Court instead, which would then determine how the case progresses.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the organizations representing abortion providers, said in a statement that the 5th Circuit is “unnecessarily delaying” the case by doing so, and the providers note in their petition that the actions of the appeals court could “derail” the proceedings. “Indefinitely” and harm Texans who seek abortions by keeping the law in place.

Crucial quote

“In the absence of intervention by the Court, the Fifth Circuit is about to examine the issues already decided by the Court … and to delay the resolution of this case in the district court for at least weeks, even months or more, ”abortion providers told the Supreme Court. To research.

What to watch out for

The 5th Circuit has program his hearing in the case for Friday morning. The petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to seek a response from Texas officials by Wednesday, which would allow the High Court to potentially rule ahead of Friday’s hearing.


Even if the case goes to the lower court and rules in favor of abortion providers, that won’t completely block SB 8. The Supreme Court limited the scope of the trial in its December ruling, stating that abortion providers can only sue doctors. licensing officials responsible for punishing doctors and nurses who perform abortions, but not state judges or other state officials who also play a role in law enforcement.

Key context

Monday’s Supreme Court petition is the latest twist in a lawsuit challenging SB 8, which has so far avoided being overturned by the courts like other state abortion bans due to its prosecution mechanism. Abortion providers first asked the Supreme Court to rule on the law before it went into effect on September 1, and judges decided to leave it in place because they ruled it was too early to take legal action. The case was then sent to court for a second time in September – also arguing that the 5th Circuit was moving slowly on the case – and the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on that trial and the challenge from the Biden administration. The court’s 8-1 decision to let abortion providers prosecute only certain defendants was viewed by abortion rights advocates as a narrow victory at best, as it severely limited the trial, and the court leaned Conservative has dismissed the federal government’s lawsuit and refused to adjudicate on the case.

Further reading

Texas Abortion Law: Here’s What Happens After Supreme Court Refuses To Block It (Forbes)

Federal Court of Appeals to Hear Texas Abortion Case Jan. 7 (NBC News)

Supreme Court rules against Texas in abortion case – in part – but leaves the law in place (Forbes)

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