The majority rejected a petition to immediately send the case to a district court judge.
The Conservative majority on Thursday – over the furious objections of their Liberal colleagues – awarded another blow to Texas abortion providers’ quest to challenge SB8 in federal court.
SB8, which went into effect on September 1, banned most abortions in the country’s second most populous state, despite a lengthy legal precedent that protects access to the procedure.
The majority has now rejected a “request for mandamus” from the providers who wanted the judges to order the case immediately sent to a court judge so the case could get started.
The Conservative judges did not elaborate on their decision.
Providers claimed that the 5th Circuit Panel, one of the most conservative in the state, has stopped the process and overturned the verdict of the district court, which last year voted 8-1 to allow a narrow case against multiple medical licenses in Texas. officials who have a role in enforcing the law.
Instead, the appellate court sent the case to the Texas State Supreme Court for a procedural analysis – a process that will delay providers’ challenge for some time and effectively freeze any hope of relief.
“This court was clear,” Judge Stephen Breyer wrote in the dissent. “When the mandate was given, I had thought the appellate court would quickly remand the case to the high court.”
In a separate blistering dissent, Judge Sonia Sotomayor wrote: “This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a serious disservice to women in Texas who have the right to control their own bodies. I will not stand still as a state. Continue to annul this constitutional guarantee. “
While the Supreme Court move is another setback for advocates of abortion rights in Texas, many have openly acknowledged that the narrow case would likely not restore full access to abortion in the state even if they won.