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Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave a scathing dissent on Thursday in response to the Supreme Court’s handling of Texas’ new abortion law, calling it a “disaster” and a “grave disservice to women in Texas,” while proclaiming she would not “stand by silently.”
The leftist justice tore into state officials and her fellow justices over the issue. Her dissent comes as the high court declined for a second time to send the case back to the original trial judge in Texas where challengers had sought relief. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which has delayed a resolution of the case while it is debated. The law remains in force.
“Today, for the fourth time, this Court declines to protect pregnant Texans from egregious violations of their constitutional rights,” she wrote in her fiery dissent.
Sotomayor was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan in her blistering dissent.
NEW: #SCOTUS won’t speed along litigation over Texas 6-week abortion ban. Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissent. pic.twitter.com/F2rdEWTZI3
— Kimberly Robinson (@KimberlyRobinsn) January 20, 2022
“Texas wagered that this court would not mean what it said” in its December ruling, “or at least that this court would not stand behind those words, meager as they were. That bet has paid off,” Sotomayor angrily charged in her dissent.
She called S.B. 8 “a convoluted law that instills terror in those who assist women exercising their rights between 6 and 24 weeks.”
“It has been over four months since Texas Senate Bill 8 took effect,” Sotomayor wrote. “The law immediately devastated access to abortion care in Texas through a complicated private bounty-hunter scheme that violates nearly 50 years of this court’s precedents.”
SOTOMAYOR: "It has been over four months since Texas Senate Bill 8 (S. B. 8) took effect. The law immediately devastated access to abortion care in Texas through a complicated private bounty-hunter scheme that violates nearly 50 years of this Court’s precedents."
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) January 20, 2022
Sotomayor noted how one judge on the appeals court in particular “raised the notion that because this court is considering a challenge to Roe v. Wade … the panel could ‘just sit on this until the end of June’ rather than fulfill its obligation to apply existing precedent.”
The law permits anyone, anywhere to sue any person for a minimum of $10,000 if they perform or assist in an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy when a heartbeat is detected.
“State officials knew that the fear and confusion caused by this legal-procedural labyrinth would restrict citizens from accessing constitutionally protected medical care,” she claimed. It is widely contended there is no such provision as nowhere in the Constitution does it provide for the right to have an abortion.
In conclusion, Sotomayor wrote, “This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to women in Texas who have a right to control their own bodies. I will not stand by silently as a state continues to nullify this constitutional guarantee.”
Justice Sotomayor on the new TX abortion ban ruling:
"This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to women in Texas, who have a right to control their own bodies. I will not stand by silently as a State continues to nullify this constitutional guarantee."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 21, 2022
“The Court may look the other way, but I cannot,” she added.
SCOTUS has not issued a ruling in a separate case involving a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That case directly challenges the landmark abortion case of Roe v. Wade which ruled that an abortion cannot be banned before the age of fetal viability, which occurs at approximately the 24th week of pregnancy.
As the 49th anniversary of the Roe decision occurs this weekend, abortion opponents are protesting the law and praying that it will be overturned.
“My hope is that the Supreme Court has the courage to do what it ought to do,” remarked Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is a conservative legal advocacy group, according to NBC News.
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