One week after the Supreme Court’s arch conservatives gave the green light to a monstrous Texas law that bans abortion at six weeks with no rape or incest exceptions, and two days after Texas governor Greg Abbott boldly claimed that the “Texas Heartbeat Act” isn’t as vile as it seems because people are effectively given a luxurious two weeks or so after getting pregnant to decide what to do, the Biden administration has sued the Lone Star state, saying the law is unconstitutional and sets an absolutely horrifying precedent.
Announcing the lawsuit at a press conference in Washington, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the law’s “unprecedented” design, wherein Texas has deputized citizen vigilantes to enforce it by putting a $10,000-plus bounty on the head of anyone suspected of “aiding or abetting” the medical procedure, seeks to “prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible.… The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent.”
As many have noted, that was on purpose. The evil minds who came up with the legislation did so specifically with the intention of making it difficult to impossible for clinics to obtain court orders blocking enforcement of the law; since the law went into effect last week, abortion providers across Texas have stopped offering the procedure, and some have been forced to shutter altogether. “This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans—whatever their politics or party—should fear,” Garland warned on Thursday, saying that Texas’s approach could become a model for other states—at least seven of which are already planning copycat legislation—when it comes not just to abortion but other constitutional rights.
“The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot evade its obligations under the Constitution and deprive individuals of their constitutional rights by adopting a statutory scheme designed specifically to evade traditional mechanisms of federal judicial review,” the lawsuit reads. The Justice Department is asking for a declaratory judgement calling the abortion ban invalid, as well as a “preliminary and permanent injunction against the State of Texas—including all of its officers, employees, and agents, including private parties” who would enforce the ban, CNN notes.
According to CNN, the Supreme Court’s refusal to stop the law from going into effect last week caught the DOJ by surprise, despite the fact that it is stacked with conservatives with disturbing views about a woman’s right to chose (which is exactly why they were nominated to the court). But given the fact that similar laws from other states had previously been blocked, DOJ officials apparently didn’t expect the justices to actually allow this one to go through. Per CNN: