Legal Analysts

Friday, December 10, 2021

TX Abortion Case Decided by US Supreme Court

To remind you, this is the case that deputized private citizens to enforce the Texas Heartbeat Act (S. B. 8) and rewarded citizens with a $10,000 bounty for their services. 

In its decision, the Supreme Court permitted courts to hear pre-enforcement challenges to test S. B. 8’s compliance with the Federal Constitution rather than forcing those who were subject to it to first violate the law, be prosecuted, and defend themselves before first raising such Constitutional challenges. Had the Supreme Court not so ruled, it was expected that the threat of the law would chill abortions across TX even if the law ultimately was found to violate the US Constitution.  

A pre-enforcement challenge permits anyone who thinks that a law violates the constitution to bring a lawsuit, in court, and have a court rule whether the law is enforceable or should be struck down before that person violates the law. It's like asking for permission for your actions in the face of a law, that exists, but is possibly violative of the US Constitution. 

The Court limited its holding by dismissing the Judge, Clerk, and Attorney General named in the lawsuit. Instead, the Court directed that a pre-enforcement challenge must be brought against executive licensing officials, in state court, or through other unnamed avenues.

Stay tuned, this was just round one of the TX abortion law.