Federal judge hears request to block Texas abortion law


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Opponents are challenging the Texas abortion law in hopes the Supreme Court will strike it down.

Though the justices declined to step in on an emergency basis, they could still hear a challenge to the Texas law. The law bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected—at about six weeks into a pregnancy before many women know they’re pregnant.

Because in practice the Texas law bans nearly all abortions, legal experts say the challenges against it could be fast-tracked and end up before the Supreme Court as early as this term. But getting the case to the Supreme Court also has its challenges.

Erica Hashimoto, the director of the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown Law said one such challenge would involve “trying to figure out who would be the defendant in a lawsuit saying that this case is unconstitutional.”

The law is also uniquely complex because it calls for private citizens to enforce it.

“It is enforced through private citizen suits and that’s going to be a more complicated issue,” Hashimoto said.

The Biden administration is asking the courts to halt the law. A federal judge in Texas heard the case on Friday; the state argued the courts can’t order Texas to stop enforcing the law because the state isn’t enforcing it.

But Hashimoto pointed out, “It’s still the Texas legislature that passed this.”

It’s unclear when the judge in the Biden administration’s suit will issue a decision. But several other challenges could also propel the case to the Supreme Court.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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