WASHINGTON – The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court on Monday to reaffirm Roe v. Wade when she hears a case challenging Mississippi’s restrictive abortion law later this year, arguing that any further ruling would uphold a law unconstitutional and undermine a doctrine that empowers the Supreme Court. Legal precedents.
The department has also requested permission to present oral arguments when the case is heard on December 1, an indication of the importance of this particular legal struggle in the larger effort to overthrow Roe and enact bans on abortion across the country.
The briefs, filed by Acting Solicitor General Brian H. Fletcher, are the latest move by Biden’s Justice Department in an attempt to protect the legal right to abortion. They came just weeks after the department sued Texas over a law that bans nearly all abortions in the state and asked a federal district judge to temporarily block the law until courts determine whether it is constitutional.
The Justice Department was one of more than 40 parties to file a friend of the court brief in favor of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in Mississippi. In total, more than 140 supporters and detractors of the Mississippi law have filed such briefs this year.
Jackson Women’s Health sued to stop the Mississippi law, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, when it was passed in 2018. The clinic argued the law was unconstitutional because the courts ruled that one woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy before viability, and it relied on medical experts who determined that viability takes place at 23 to 24 weeks.
The Justice Department agreed, arguing that the state had been “unable to identify any medical research or data showing that a fetus had reached the ‘point of viability’ at 15 weeks.” And he noted that federal district and appeals courts have sided with Jackson Women’s Health.
The department also said that by asking the Supreme Court to overturn its precedents on abortion, including Roe v. Wade, Mississippi was asking the court to violate the doctrine of stare decisis, Latin meaning “to stick to decisions made.” This phrase is a shorthand for the long-standing principle that the court must respect precedent.
“The United States has a substantial interest in the correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment and the principles of stare decisis,” the Department of Justice wrote in its brief.
The Mississippi abortion law is one of many laws passed in recent years by conservative state legislatures that challenge Roe, a move that Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch called “extremely nad “. Ms Fitch urged the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling, which underpins the constitutional right to abortion, and uphold state law.
Abortion opponents hope the Mississippi case will be the one that destroys Roe. He will be heard by a Supreme Court that has a strong Conservative majority, including new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, who says she personally opposes abortion. Such a ruling would pave the way for other states to essentially ban the procedure.
Even though the Supreme Court upholds lower court rulings blocking Mississippi law, it has refused to prevent Texas from passing a law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Opponents say Texas law circumvents abortion court precedents by using civil lawsuits and private citizens to enforce it, rather than the executive branch of the state. The justice ministry called the mechanism “an unprecedented plan that seeks to deny women and providers the opportunity to challenge” the law in court.
Lower courts have blocked Mississippi law, arguing that it conflicts with several Supreme Court precedents. These courts have also rejected Mississippi’s characterization of the law as a “regulation” because it ultimately prohibits women “from choosing predictable abortions rather than specifying the conditions under which such abortions should be permitted,” the author wrote. department in his thesis.
Nonetheless, judges agreed in May to hear the case.