After nearly three hours of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 1, it appears a majority of justices is poised to overrule Texas’ draconian abortion law.

It’s a fool’s game to predict any Supreme Court decision, but the critical and skeptical line of questioning from many of the justices, particularly conservatives Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, underscored serious concerns about the law’s unique and troubling structure.

Texas’ newest abortion law allows any private citizen to sue an abortion provider or any other person, including a driver, who helps a woman obtain an abortion. If successful, they can collect a bounty.

It’s a blatantly unconstitutional law, upending decades of precedent. The law bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy — before most women even know they are pregnant. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The Supreme Court erred in allowing it to take effect and should quickly overturn it.

While the Texas law has enormous implications for abortion rights and women’s health — this is a brazen effort to hollow out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling — the Supreme Court’s focus is on the unique and troubling structure of the law, known as Senate Bill 8.

Justices focused on the question from abortion providers as to whether the state can “insulate from federal-court review a law that prohibits the exercise of a constitutional right” by offloading its enforcement to the general public.

In other words, SB 8 has created an unprecedented vigilante system that provides incentives for anyone to sue abortion providers, who then must defend themselves in court at enormous cost. The chilling effects aren’t hypothetical. It’s virtually impossible for a woman to have a legal abortion in Texas.

U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar called the statute “unprecedented, extraordinary, and extraordinarily dangerous for our constitutional structure.”

Prelogar explained the law was designed to “thwart the supremacy of federal law in open defiance of our constitutional structure ... .”

As the Department of Justice argued, under such a structure, no constitutional right is safe.

Kavanaugh appeared particularly concerned about this, emphasizing how the law’s structure could open the door for other states to pass laws that would intrude on constitutionally protected rights: “It could be free speech rights. It could be free-exercise-of-religion rights. It could be Second Amendment rights,” he said.

As if on cue, the Texas Tribune reported Tuesday night that a gun rights group filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to Texas’ abortion law, fearful that similar statutes could be crafted in other states to target gun ownership.

“This case is about how far a state may go in deterring the exercise of any and all individual constitutional rights,” the gun rights groups asserted.

This alone is ample reason for the Supreme Court to quickly overturn SB 8.

The Supreme Court should never have allowed this law to take effect. While the line of questioning from a majority of justices suggests the Texas law will be overturned, the fate of abortion rights is still precarious.

When justices hear arguments in a restrictive 2018 Mississippi law that seeks to ban abortions at 15 weeks, they should weigh it is as another dangerous measure that not only chips away at women’s rights to abortion — but to all of America’s sacred constitutional protections.

• San Antonio Express-News editorial board via The Associated Press

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(26) comments

Bailey Jones

This abomination should have been terminated in utero.

Dalton Logan

The abomination is the termination in utero.

This won't mean anything to agnostics or non-believers but I feel compelled to put it here.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you

Ed Buckner

Mr. Logan, you're correct that for a non-believer like me, Jeremiah (and the Bible in general) is not an authoritative or reliable source. But for those who do, doesn't the verse suggest that God foresees everything, and wouldn't that include Mozart and Hitler, etc., even before they were conceived? Would that mean that Christians must devote their entire lives to creating babies nonstop? Does it mean Christians must oppose contraception (as some say it does)? Doesn't the verse raise more questions than it answers?

Dalton Logan

No Mr. Bucker, l don't question the Bible. You and other non-believers can question it as much as you dare. God bless you.

Ed Buckner

Mr. Logan, you've missed my point (perhaps because i didn't articulate it well). I'm not suggesting that, as a believer, you should distrust the Bible. I'm asking you how you or anyone can know what that verse tells you about abortion. It certainly tells you to believe that God is omniscient, that He knows that person before it is born or even conceived. But even if that is so, what does that have to do with abortion? (If the verse said, "Even in the womb, you are a sacred human life to me," that would be clearly anti-abortion. But the verse has no such clarity. Does the verse tell you that any destruction of any sperm or ovum is murder? Why not?

Carlos Ponce

Read the Oral arguments here:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2021/21-588_m648.pdf

Gary Scoggin

There are two aspects to SB8 - the pro-life aspect and the enforcement aspect. The arguments centered on the enforcement aspect.

I agree this novel enforcement mechanism is dangerous and likely unconstitutional. If upheld, it opens the door for challenges to all sorts of previously established constitutional rights. It seems from the oral arguments that the Justices see that.

As for the practice of abortion itself, let’s wait to see how the Mississippi case turns out.

George Laiacona

Some of us remember just why Thomas Jefferson insisted that a wall be built between church and state to reject the ideas of religious zealots from interfering with state policy. But over the years the Supreme Court has to contend with these jerks that think they have the right to deny Liberty to Americans that don’t think like they do. In this case the religious zealots want Liberty taken away from the female Americans. Do you see them trying to do away with men’s birth control surgeries?

Carlos Ponce

When a man has a "birth control" surgery, no one dies.

In every abortion, death results.

And to understand Thomas Jefferson's statement in his letter to the Danbury Baptists you must read the letter FROM the Danbury Baptists that prompted it.

Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" dealt with religious freedom.

Jim Forsythe

If you are in favor how SB 8 is using a “bounty” system, you will also be happy when the same type of measures are used for issues like gun control.

States could pass any number of SB8-style laws on everything from guns to voting to religion.

Who will these bounty hunter be after. Anyone who offers information or referrals for abortion cares, a provider of help, the funder, clergyperson, friend or family member — pays the damages which are set at a minimum of $10,000. If there are several defendants, they each pay $10,000 in damages.

The person that can not pay damages, is the Women receiving an abortion, she cannot be sued under the law.

Ed Buckner

Well written, San Antonio editors.

Stuart Crouch

And, indeed, they shall. Undoing a bit more of the damage that a corrupt governor (a.k.a. deranged madman) lusting for winning political favor, has been responsible for. This week, his mask mandate ban was ruled to violate the ADA & was overturned. One more feeble attempt to break the law that was corrected with little consequence for his lawless behavior.

Up next, his maniacal empowering of vigilante justice and overreach of others, lives. Big government at its best. On its most basic level, SB8 is really about authoritative control over other people's lives - in this instance - women's lives & bodies. As I understand it, this effort by Abbott and his minions, while blatantly unconstitutional (read: illegal) it will soon be affirmed as such by SCOTUS in the days to come.

Up next, Abbott's overly-restrictive, baseless, meritless & prejudicial (soon to be illegal) voter suppression effort. Which is soon to be followed by the plethora of lawsuits concerning the illegal, racially-motivated gerrymandering maps of the SOT and Gal. Co.

Y'all aren't fooling anyone but your own fools. The clock is ticking for you and your feeble-minded lust for control. The theoretical writing is on the wall; your days as a race-centric majority are coming to a close and there is little that can be done about it. You will fight it until the end, but that's what will make it all the sweeter for the rest of us.

Ed Buckner

Count me in with Stuart Crouch--thanks, Mr. Crouch.

Carlos Ponce

Stuart Crouch posted, "Up next, Abbott's overly-restrictive, baseless, meritless & prejudicial (soon to be illegal) voter suppression effort."

There is no voter suppression.

The bill was written by Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes, approved by the Texas House and Senate. Asides from calling for a special session, Greg Abbott merely signed it. If you knew ANYTHING about the Texas Constitution and its history you would know the office of the Texas governor is relatively weak. This came about post Civil War when Texas governors were hand picked by the powers in Washington DC. There is more political power in the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas.

Gary Scoggin

Merely signed it? Who put it on the agenda for the Special Session? Who could have vetoed it but didn’t? If you knew ANYTHING about the Texas Constitution, you would know these things.

Carlos Ponce

DE FACTO

The Texas Governor has input from the Texas Lt. Gov, here Dan Patrick.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick consulted with Gov. Greg Abbott to decide what had a chance to pass in special session. And that's why not everything got through. Patrick had full knowledge of what could pass in the State Senate but not the State House. He blamed the State House for the failure of certain measures.

Gary Scoggin

Who put it on the agenda for the Special Session? Who could have vetoed it but didn’t? If you knew ANYTHING about the Texas Constitution, you would know these things.

Carlos Ponce

'Who put it on the agenda for the Special Session?" After consulting with Lt Gov Dan Patrick on which bills had the most merit and best chance, the Governor placed the items on the Special Session agenda. That is de facto.

Gary Scoggin

So you were incorrect when you said “Abbott merely signed it.” Carlos admits a mistake! First time for everything!

I hope you learned something about the Texas Constitution today.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin needs to learn to read.

What I posted:

" Carlos Ponce Nov 12, 2021 7:36am

Asides from calling for a special session, Greg Abbott merely signed it."

Let me repeat,:

"Asides from calling for a special session, Greg Abbott merely signed it."

"Asides from calling for a special session, Greg Abbott merely signed it."

"Asides from calling for a special session, Greg Abbott merely signed it."

You post all I wrote was that Greg Abbott merely signed it. There's more there, Gary!!!!

Why do you refuse to see, "Asides from calling for a special session"?????

Let me use all caps, then maybe you will see it:

"ASIDES FROM CALLING FOR A SPECIAL SESSION"

or do you need a reading comprehension lesson to understand what that means?

Jim Forsythe

What has been said about Texas's governor is relatively weak, use to be true. Most Texas state agencies are overseen by multimember boards and commissions. The governor gets to appoint those commissioners, but most of them get six-year terms that are staggered so that only one-third of a board turns over every two years. This is what keep Texas's governors weak, because of the turnover of governors..

But things changed when Perry was in office for 14 years, every board member and commissioner in state government owed his or her appointment to him. Perry is also the first Republican in modern Texas to have had his party in complete control of state government. This turned Perry into a strong governor.

The same can be said about Abbott. Abbott completed his sixth year in office in January, which means he's the one who has given all of the state's top bureaucrats their jobs. Covid19 gave Abbott a chance to show his strength. Abbott forced private businesses to close or curtail operations. And he decided when operations could resume. He ordered a mask mandate. Then he rescinded it. Then he barred anyone else from ordering mask mandates.

Since May, Texas has been without a secretary of state. It's one of the few state offices whose leader serves at the pleasure of the governor. But the Constitution states that the secretary, who oversees Texas elections, is subject to approval by two-thirds of the Senate. The person Abbott picked for secretary of state, Fort Worth lawyer John Scott, probably could not have mustered that two-thirds support. But Abbott delayed the appointment until the special legislative session he called had ended. That means Scott can stay on the job until January 2023. Abbott now has complete control, because of the appointment of John Scott .

Charles Douglas

Sometimes I wish I had taken the trails in life which would have allowed or compelled me to get high on like many of these Radicals on this Forum seems to be getting high, smoking, or hallucinating on! They seem to be spacing out on something! Must be some strong [censored] though if they think we are going to lay back, and turn this nation over to them.

Charles Douglas

I love how all these Radicals claim they love African-Americans here, you know the same ones who enslaved BLACK FOLKS for over a century in this country in years past?

We are the ones they sic Jim Crow on, when they could not maintain SLAVE control! They are the same ones who imposed SHARE-CROPPING ( another form of Slavery )..on us to make up for the Emancipation Proclamation meddling? Yall know!!!! The same Radical Liberals who imposed Segregation on people like me, to keep us subdued & in our place, ( I could not play football for the Longhorns) and the same ones who voted for the scoundrel in the Oval Office now who conspired with KKK affiliated RACISTS who sent African-Americans males unporportionately to prison in large numbers more than other demographics, during the nineties, because he didn't want his family to be confronted by us, nor go to school with us!

The same scoundrel who even now is conspiring to pay $450,000 to Illegal Alliens who sneaks in this country illegally making outrageous claims of abuse while the poor, and destitute Americans citizens here ...go without, while he practice "America Last!"

Governor Abbot is not the problem here, but Joe China is! Voter Suppression is a tool fabricated by words, fiction, lies, made up to agitate African-Americans and Hispanics so they will be more mutable, and willing to be " RACE- HUSTLED" by the LEFT, who been doing it for decades! The LEFT will sell not only this nation out, but will sell their own souls to the devil in order to get control and power by Race-Baiting and Race-Hustling African-Americans!

They are allowing the Border to be crashed now my hundreds of thousands of illegals now, because many minorities already here are beginning to walks off the Idelogical Plantation Of Lies And Deceptions they have deployed in this nation since the Civil War! Even now, everything they touch turns to FECES! ( Not the word I prefer ). They have done nothing right nor successful in the time Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were engineered in the Leadership positions for this nation! NOTHING!!!!!!!!! Nobody respects them on the world stage, nobody! Right now China is getting ready to invade Taiwan, and Russia is sending thousands and thousands of troops and war equipment to the Ukraine Border, getting ready to invade Ukraine, a former part of the Old Soviet Union, and what will Joe China Do? NOTHING!

This is what happens when America has a old Racicist, Ineffective, Brain Shot, Leader in the Oval!

Ed Buckner

If Charles Douglas is trying to claim that it was the Democrats who defended and fought for slavery, he's right of course. The Republicans--the radicals of the 19th century--championed civil rights, abolition, women's rights, public works, labor, church/state separation, taxing churches, and much more. Details on request.

Ted Gillis

Several commenters on the site love to point that out Ed. They think it is a some kind of big historical scoop, and that they are the only ones that know about it. They all fail to include the second paragraph though, when all of those racists left the democratic party and went over to the republican party, were they were welcomed with open arms. To use an Al Gore phrase, "It's an inconvenient truth".

Ed Buckner

Right you are, Mr. Gillis. All the commenters--all reasonable Americans, in fact--need to know American history. Brilliant and effective writers/hsitorians like Heather Cox Richardson ("To Make Men Free--a History of the Republican Party," and many other books) would be a good place to start.

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