Yesterday a couple of cranks sued Alan Braid, the Texas doctor who announced in a Washington Post opinion piece that he'd performed an abortion in violation of Texas's preposterous "heartbeat" law, and the anti-choice goons are PISSED.

"Both cases are self-serving legal stunts, abusing the cause of action created in the Texas Heartbeat Act for their own purposes," Texas Right to Life legislative director John Seago told CNN.

"We believe Braid published his op-ed intending to attract imprudent lawsuits, but none came from the Pro-Life movement," Seago fumed, before immediately contradicting himself and giving the whole game away. "Texas Right to Life is resolute in ensuring the Texas Heartbeat Act is fully enforced."

In fact they do not want to ensure that this law is fully enforced. They don't want to bring these suits, and they don't want anybody else to bring them either. Because putting a bounty on women's bellies is horrendous public policy and makes the forced birthers look like bloody ghouls. Because Americans support a woman's right to bodily autonomy, and these lawsuits will only stoke public outrage over Texas's abortion ban.

But the main reason they don't want anyone to sue to enforce this law is because they know full well that it's patently illegal under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and they don't want to rip the fig leaf off five Supreme Court justices who pretended three weeks ago to be confused about whether the private enforcement mechanism would actually deter anyone from getting the abortion care they needed.

What they want is for abortion providers to be so terrified that they enforce the law themselves, refusing to help their patients and buying Team Forced Birth time to overturn Roe and Casey through the Mississippi case which the Supreme Court is going to hear on December 1. Because it's one thing to ban abortion when the defendant is an evil "abortion clinic," but it's quite another when it's some poor woman and her doctor taking a principled stand.


But don't take my word for it. The biggest blabbermouth in the Federalist Society, Ed Whelan, is saying the quiet part out loud over at the National Review.

"For three reasons, no one should sue Braid to give him the imagined test case that he is seeking," Whelan begins, after the preliminary ad hominems about "abortionists."

Reason 1: No one can be sure [wink wink] that Dr. Braid violated the law [cough] because no one was in the room to hear the fetal heartbeat [AHEM, horks phlegm]. Or, as Whelan put it, "I don't know whether Braid's language is cagey or sloppy, but it leaves open the possibility that he conducted the required test for the fetal heartbeat but did not detect one."

Reason 2: Literally everything in the first six paragraphs of this blog post.

It makes no sense for a private person to bring a civil enforcement action under the Act against Braid or any other suspected violator until the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Until such overruling — which ought to happen by the end of June 2022 — a lawsuit is bound to fail. (To be clear, it's not that the Act is actually unconstitutional; it's instead that it conflicts with the flagrantly unconstitutional holdings of Roe and Casey.) The Act provides a four-year statute of limitations, so there is no point in racing to court before that overruling occurs.

Reason 3: Once the Fifth Circuit does Texas a solid and greenlights this demonic bounty system, everyone can sue at once without fear that the Justice Department will come after them for violating women's civil rights.

These sumbitches ain't subtle.

Which brings us to these lawsuits they're so annoyed about, both of which were filed pro se by attorneys who have been disbarred. What are the odds, right?

Oscar Stilley, who used to practice tax law in Arkansas, was first past the post. Stilley is currently under home confinement for what he describes in his complaint as "utterly fraudulent federal charges of 'tax evasion' and 'conspiracy,' all of which repeatedly changed and morphed away from the purported grand jury indictment, to whatever new theory the government chose to espouse at a given time."

Yeah, it's gonna be like that.

There's a bunch of weird shit about Texas prisons and the stigma of illegitimacy:

On information and belief, Defendant is kind and patient and helpful toward bastards, but ideologically opposed to forcing any woman to produce another bastard against her own free will. On information and belief, Defendant has some understanding of the cruelty and abuse heaped upon bastards and social misfits, in Texas prisons.

Plus some weird shit that may or may not be anti-Semitic:

On information and belief, Defendant believes that his Elohim ("mighty ones," AKA "God" is entirely capable of giving a new body to replace a defective fetus, in the here and now, and not only "when you die bye and bye." On information and belief, Defendant believes that his Elohim ("mighty ones," AKA "God" is not offended because he aborts a defective fetus, at the request of the pregnant woman.

Stilley has given various explanations for filing the complaint, telling the Post, "If the state of Texas decided it's going to give a $10,000 bounty, why shouldn't I get that 10,000 bounty?" Later in the day, he told CNN, "I am a supporter of the Constitution, and I am opposed to the law." But whatever his motivation — not to mention his capacity to travel to Texas to prosecute his claim — he's nobody's idea of an ideal plaintiff.

Felipe Gomez, an attorney in Illinois who was disbarred last year for sending harassing emails and voicemails, is a better plaintiff than Stilley, but only marginally. His complaint "seeks the Court Declare the Act to be illegal as written and/or as applied to the instant facts," and he told the AP he would donate any award to women's groups or Dr. Braid's patients.

These are not ideal avatars for the Gilead Squad, and that's kind of the point. The Texas abortion law is itself a stunt — a clownishly unconstitutional Rube Goldberg contraption, held together with equal parts bad faith and misogyny. It's not meant to stand up to legal challenge; it's meant to self-destruct after the Supreme Court guts Roe and Texas sheriffs can start arresting doctors for helping women. And the women themselves in very short order, because that train is never late.

The very fact that the law allows these ridiculous plaintiffs to sue, despite having no relationship to the doctor, the patient, or even the state of Texas, illustrates exactly what's wrong with it. So, thanks weirdos, we guess, for proving what a pack of lawless jackals Texas Republicans are.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't she?

WaPo / CNN / NRO / Stilley Complaint / Gomez Complaint]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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