High Court Puts Abortion Cases On Fast Track

Without waiting for rulings on the merits by the Fifth Circuit, the Court today granted certiorari before judgment in both of the cases challenging the Texas Heartbeat Law (otherwise known as S.B. 8), which permits civil lawsuits to be filed by anyone against those who provide an abortion after a heartbeat is detectable. Both Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas were set for oral argument on November 1, 2021.

The issue in the second case was limited to whether the United States could enjoin all of Texas and private parties from enforcing S.B. 8. The Court did not, however, stay enforcement of the law. Justice Sotomayor concurred with the accelerated schedule to hear the cases, but dissented from the decision not to stay the law in the meantime, arguing that “every day the Court fails to grant relief is devastating, both for individual women and for our constitutional system as a whole.”

Links to the orders are available here (https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/102221zr_986b.pdf) and here (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/21a85_5h25.pdf).