DOJ Still Doing Great Job Looking Busy In Fight Against Vile Texas Anti-Abortion Law
Good news in the fight against Texas's Fugitive Uterus Act, maybe? Haha, whatever. At least news that isn't obviously horrible? Let's go with that.
The Department of Justice is reportedly going to sue Texas over its new misogynistic abortion ban, according to the Wall Street Journal, arguing that it interferes with federal interests. The lawsuit might be filed by the end of the day, but maybe it won't, the newses say. What will the lawsuit say? Dunno.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he was looking at all the options to respond to the very bad and very cleverly written Texas law. What options? Dunno.
All this confusion is by design, obviously.
In writing the Texas Heartbeat Act, known as Senate Bill 8, or SB 8, lawmakers assigned enforcement to private parties giving them an incentive by authorizing damages of $10,000 or more if they successfully sued a defendant they accused of performing or aiding in an abortion. The law puts the enforcement powers in the hands of private citizens, rather than state or local officials, leaving its opponents without obvious individuals to sue.
The Justice Department is expected to pursue an argument that the Texas law illegally interferes with federal interests, one of the people said. The precise nature of those arguments couldn't immediately be learned.
What "federal interests" do they intend to argue the Texas law interferes with? Dunno.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, one of the only concrete things the Justice Department has said is that it's going to be upping prosecutions of "people who injure or intimidate abortion-clinic patients and employees" under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which was passed in 1994. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter this week that they want Garland to specifically go after people who try to use the Texas law to sue people in order to destroy abortion care in the state:
"The Department of Justice cannot permit private individuals seeking to deprive women of the constitutional right to choose an abortion to escape scrutiny under existing federal law simply because they attempt to do so under the color of state law," Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said Tuesday in a letter to Mr. Garland.
So all of that sounds great, obviously.
What we know for sure is that this law, again, was literally designed to be extremely difficult to challenge in court. The Associated Press has a great explainer today on what a pain in the ass this all is:
[The FACE Act] is geared more toward physical acts of intimidation or violence than lawsuits, said Mary Anne Franks, a constitutional scholar and professor at University of Miami School of Law.
"The nefarious cleverness" of the Texas law is that "you can't do anything until someone actually attempts to use this law," she said. "And that's really late in the game."
And even if an abortion provider — or people who help a woman get an abortion — should successfully defend a lawsuit, that wouldn't block a stack of future suits. A Texas judge's decision last week temporarily shielding some some abortion clinics from being sued by the state's largest anti-abortion group, for example, didn't affect any other groups.
"That raises real concerns about any efficacy of any of the actions DOJ could take," Franks said.
Womp womp. Are there other options? Sure, but so far it looks like the Department of Justice hasn't figured out much, if anything, to really do with them. But hey, maybe this upcoming lawsuit will blow all our socks off and we will be so impressed!
Of course, we all also have to contend with the fact that the Supreme Court is about to hear actual arguments on the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban, and might (probably will) just go ahead and officially throw Roe v. Wade out with the bathwater. What a fun time to be an American.
Point is, Wonkette can exclusively report that the Department of Justice is doing a very good job of looking busy fighting against Texas's vile SB 8 law, and we will let you know if anything comes of it.
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