In response to a federal district judge’s decision to file a temporary injunction to stop the new Texas abortion law from being enforced while the Biden Administration challenges it in the courts, a group of GOP-led states have written a letter to the DoJ demanding that the federal government immediately cease its interference in a state issue.
Here’s the situation: the DoJ has asked a federal appeals court on Monday to halt Texas’ abortion law (which has infuriated progressives and feminists, in particular) from being implemented, requesting that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals deny a stay against an injunction blocking the law from going into effect. The move comes days after a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit decided last week to temporarily reinstate the abortion law, placing an administrative stay on the lower court’s injunction while it considers Texas’ argument for why the law is doesn’t break from precedent, or the Constitution. The original injunction was granted by a federal judge in Austin, who said the Texas law’s restrictions on abortion were “contrived”.
If the temporary injunction blocking enforcement of Texas’s law is reinstated, the Republicans argue, the DoJ will have emboldened Democratic judges to file similar suits in the future. 18 states signed the letter included in a filing at the federal appeals court in New Orleans Wednesday.
According to the letter, the injunction “threatens to expose every State in the Union to suit by the federal government whenever the US Attorney General deems a state law to violate some constitutional right of someone, somewhere,” the states said.
“The Attorney General has no authority to act as a roving reviser of state law, challenging as unconstitutional any rule with which he disagrees.”
The appeals court that blocked the injunction last week will hear arguments on Texas’s bid for why it’s law, which relies on a novel enforcement mechanism specifically to prevent public officials from being sued. Instead, any member of the public is entitled to bring a complaint against a woman believed to have had an abortion, and anybody who helped her (even the Uber driver who may have driven her to the clinic). All could be eligible for fines up to $10K.
In response, practically every clinic in Texas has shut down, while women in need of abortion “services” are quietly scrambling to nearby states with less-restrictive laws.
However, as GOP officials in several Republican-controlled states have already heavily suggested, Texas wasn’t the first state to adopt a heartbeat bill, and it likely won’t be the last, now that a strong conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States has arguably given the GOP the best opportunity in decades.