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Supreme Court’s Sotomayor calls Texas abortion case a ‘disaster’ in searing dissent

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Supreme Court’s Sotomayor calls Texas abortion case a ‘disaster’ in searing dissent

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WASHINGTON — Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Thursday called the Supreme Court case involving Texas’ restrictive abortion law a “disaster” and a “serious wrong to Texas women” in a dissent that tore officials apart. state and criticized some of his fellow judges.

Sotomayor dissented in dry terms to a Supreme Court order that refused for the second time to send the case back to the trial judge in Texas, a place that law challengers had hoped could bring them some relief. relief. The Supreme Court had referred the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which has now delayed resolving the case even further while the law remains in effect.

Sotomayor, joined by fellow liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, noted that when the Supreme Court ruled in December that the law could be challenged, it allowed legal action to continue narrowly against those responsible for the Texas medical licenses, rather than also including state court clerks, judges and the attorney general, as the challengers had requested. But earlier this week, the appeals court asked the Texas State Supreme Court for its opinion on whether even those licensing officials could be prosecuted.

“Texas bet that this court wouldn’t mean what it said ‘in its December ruling,’ or at least that this court wouldn’t stand by those words, however meager. That bet paid off. “, Sotomayor wrote in his separate dissent. .

She described the Texas law, known as SB 8, as “a convoluted law that instills terror in those who help women exercise their rights between 6 and 24 weeks.” The law allows anyone, anywhere to sue anyone for at least $10,000 who performs or assists in an abortion after about the sixth week of pregnancy.

“State officials knew that the fear and confusion caused by this legal and procedural maze would prevent citizens from accessing constitutionally protected medical care,” she said.

Concluding her dissent, Sotomayor wrote, “This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a grave prejudice to the women of Texas who have the right to control their own bodies. I will not remain silent as a state continues to ‘cancel this guaranteed constitution.’

The Supreme Court has yet to rule in a separate case involving a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This case is a direct challenge to previous Supreme Court decisions, beginning with Roe v. Wade, that a state cannot prohibit abortion before the age of fetal viability, long thought to occur around the 24th week of pregnancy.

This weekend is the 49th anniversary of the Roe decision, and abortion opponents are hoping this will be their last protest to mark the date.

“I hope the Supreme Court has the courage to do what it has to do,” said Kristen Wagoner of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group.

Supreme Court’s Sotomayor calls Texas abortion case a ‘disaster’ in searing dissent

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