The DOJ previews the Supreme Court’s arguments against Texas abortion legislation

President Biden’s Justice Department argued in court papers Wednesday that the Supreme Court should allow Texas officials to be sued for banning abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is discovered.

The Department of Justice, which asked judges to crack down on Senate Bill 8, said Texas lawmakers drafted the fetal heartbeat bill specifically to evade judicial review and to prevent courts from reviewing the law’s constitution.

The law only allows private citizens to sue violators of the law, which, Texas has argued, means the federal government cannot sue the state.

“SB 8’s architects have honestly acknowledged that the law was designed to deter constitutionally protected abortions while evading judicial control,” the Justice Department said in its brief. “SB 8 was designed to overturn this court’s precedent and to protect this annulment from judicial review. So far, it has worked.”

The federal government noted that neighboring states have been flooded with women from Texas trying to have abortions since the law went into effect Sept. 1.

The Department of Justice wants to sue Texas, as the Supreme Court’s precedent has given women the right to abortion until viability, which historically was between 24 and 28 weeks.

Government lawyers will present the arguments in person to the Supreme Court on Monday.

The judges will decide whether the federal government can sue Texas over its law, and evaluate the citizen enforcement system.

Whole Woman’s Health, an abortion provider in the state, is also suing Texas officials and will also appear in court on Monday.

In his card to The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the abortion clinic should allow judges to allow state officials to be held accountable for violating women’s rights.

“If Texas gets away with this trick, the constitutional right to abortion will be the first, but certainly not the last, target for states unwilling to accept federal legislation that they disagree with,” the clinic said.

Texas officials have told the court they should not be sued because they do not enforce SB 8, private citizens are the ones who can sue to hold abortion providers accountable if they perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

State officials said in their brief Wednesday that the damage – or damage, known as Article III standing – that the Justice Department and abortion providers claim to suffer, cannot be traced to them.

“Because neither the lawsuit presents a case nor controversy under Article III, both should be dismissed,” state officials wrote.

The Department of Justice and abortion providers asked the courts for the case earlier this month after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to remain in force while the trial continues.

The case reached the district court after Texas appealed a decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, a nominee by Obama, who blocked the law.

However, the 5th Circuit quickly reversed this step and the law remains in force.

Under the law, private citizens can sue if they have knowledge that a provider illegally performed an abortion after a heartbeat was discovered.

Anyone who successfully sues someone who helps with an abortion after six weeks will receive at least $ 10,000.

The Supreme Court first refused to block SB 8’s adoption last month, leaving the legislation in place while lawsuits against it continue in lower courts.

The abortion providers were the first to challenge the law – before the Ministry of Justice filed its separate lawsuit.

The Supreme Court initially refused to halt SB 8’s enforcement, and did not decide whether the law was constitutional, but the court noted that the abortion providers who fought against it had sued defendants who are unlikely to enforce the law.

Since the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that women were entitled to abortion in the Roe v. Wade case, pro-life advocates and conservative states have aimed to interrupt that decision.

Texas is not alone in its latest attempt.

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks violates its abortion order during its new term, which began earlier this month. The case will be heard in December and a verdict is expected in June.

Unlike in the Texas case, lower courts blocked the Mississippi law from coming into force, but the Supreme Court agreed to review this move.

Emily Zantow contributed to this report.

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