The Biden administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt Texas’ near-total abortion ban while the Justice Department’s legal challenge to the new restrictions goes through the courts.
In its request filed Monday, the Justice Department argued that allowing the law to stand would “perpetuate the ongoing irreparable injury to the thousands of Texas women who are being denied their constitutional rights.” The Supreme Court previously declined to block the law from taking effect in a separate lawsuit, though it did not weigh in on Senate Bill 8’s constitutionality.
The U.S. Justice Department's request comes after a series of federal court decisions flip-flopped on whether the law should remain in effect as its constitutionality is being challenged.
Last Thursday, a panel of federal appellate judges ordered the law would remain in place. That decision came after a U.S. district court blocked the law for just two days until the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — perhaps the most conservative appeals court in the nation — froze the order.
Texas, the Justice Department argued in its filing, crafted an "unprecedented" structure to thwart the courts. Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant, has made abortion "effectively unavailable" after that time period, according to the Justice Department.
"Texas has, in short, successfully nullified this Court's decisions within its borders," the Justice Department wrote.