DOJ Goes After Texas

by on September 10, 2021 · 4 comments

in Women's Rights

‘Clearly unconstitutional’: Merrick Garland reveals DOJ’s strategy to fight the Texas abortion law

By Alex Henderson / Alternet / September 9, 2021

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas in response to its draconian new anti-abortion law, which went into effect on September 1.

The Texas law outlaws all abortion in Texas after about six weeks, even in cases of rape or incest. And it authorizes citizens to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, possibly resulting in a $10,000 bounty. Critics of the law, including some conservatives who identify as “pro-life,” have complained that even an Uber driver who drives a woman to an abortion clinic could lose $10,000 because of the law.

Garland, during a news conference on Thursday, explained, “The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent. Those precedents hold, in the words of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that, quote, ‘Regardless of whether exceptions are made for particular circumstances, a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability. Texas does not dispute that its statute violates Supreme Court precedent. Instead, the statute includes an unprecedented scheme to — in the chief justice’s words — quote, ‘insulate the state from responsibility,’ close-quote. It does not rely on the state’s executive branch to enforce the law, as is the norm in Texas and everywhere else.”

Garland continued, “Rather, the statue deputizes all private citizens without any showing of personal connection or injury to serve as bounty hunters, authorized to recover at least $10,000 per claim from individuals who facilitate a woman’s exercise of her constitutional rights.”

Legal experts have been weighing in on Garland’s announcement. Alabama-based law professor Joyce White Vance, a former federal prosecutor, tweeted:

Zoe Tillman, a legal reporter for BuzzFeed News, tweeted:

The DOJ suit features a sweeping argument that the fed govt has an interest in protecting the rights of people to vindicate their constitutional rights, but also a more nuanced arg that SB 8 in fact interferes with federal govt functions in Texas

Law & Crime’s Colin Kalmbacher tweeted:

BREAKING: DOJ Lawsuit claims Texas anti-aborion law violates 14th Amendment and the Supremacy Clause and the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity. The lawsuit additionally claims that S.B. 8 conflicts with federal law and is therefore preempted.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told his colleagues:

“This is going to be a very difficult lawsuit for the administration to win,” says CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on the DOJ’s lawsuit over Texas’s new abortion law.
“You can’t just file a lawsuit because you don’t like a law.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam September 12, 2021 at 8:39 pm

All of this nonsense in Texas will be stricken down by SCOTUS. These laws are being passed for one reason only, to turn out the vote of the depraved republican electorate. The real crime here is that SCOTUS will have to waste their valuable time on a blatantly unconstitutional law that never should have been passed were it not for a mid term voter turnout campaign.


Frank Gormlie September 13, 2021 at 9:19 am

You’re SOOO confident in our current SCOTUS.


Sam September 13, 2021 at 9:25 am

Fair enough!


Geoff Page September 13, 2021 at 10:48 am

If there is any underhanded, sneaky, dishonest way to avoid doing what is right, the Republicans will think of it. That is the one thing they are good at.


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