Supreme Court Weighs Whether Some Laws Are Unchallengeable

Press Release

Texas

Issues

Reproductive Rights


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2021 – In oral arguments Monday, the Supreme Court finally considered whether Texas’s clearly unconstitutional ban on abortion, SB 8, can be challenged in federal court. A near total ban on abortion, SB 8 was specifically designed to evade judicial review by empowering private bounty hunters to collect $10,000 bounties from anyone who assists pregnant people in exercising their constitutional right to have an abortion. Based on their questions, at least some of the conservative justices appeared to recognize that, by continuing to turn a blind eye to a law that clearly undermines people’s constitutional rights, they would undermine the Court’s legitimacy and federal supremacy on matters of constitutional law.

In the meantime, SB 8 continues to harm millions of Texans of reproductive age who currently do not have access to abortion services. The Court’s inaction has also brought tangible harm to the people of neighboring states, where abortion providers are struggling with severe backlogs while trying to serve both Texans and their own residents. Even if the Supreme Court allows the challenges against SB 8 to proceed, it doesn’t mean that the Court’s conservative majority will protect people’s constitutional right to an abortion or even block SB 8 when the merits of the case are argued. 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim Brooks issued the following statement: 

“The status quo is unconscionable. The Court’s conservative majority has allowed private bounty hunters to unlawfully intimidate and terrorize pregnant Texans for more than two months — in plain contravention of federal law. Every day that the Supreme Court allows SB 8 to stand is a day that an untold number of pregnant Texans will be inhumanely deprived of their constitutional and human rights to reproductive freedom. We cannot have a functioning democratic society if states can legally empower private citizen bounty hunters to suspend the Constitution. We should all be very concerned. Nullification is alive and well, and yet the Supreme Court dithers.”