DOJ asks federal judge to halt enforcement of Texas abortion law
September 15, 2021 at 03:05
(CNN) In its boldest move to date, the Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Tuesday to issue a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of a controversial Texas law that bars abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.
"The United States has the authority to seek redress from this Court against the State of Texas, particularly in light of the procedural obstacles that Texas erected to shield S.B.
8 from judicial scrutiny in suits by directly affected persons," government lawyers argued in briefs filed late Tuesday.
They said the law has "gravely and irreparably impaired women's ability to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion across the State."
The legal brief comes after the Biden administration filed suit against the state last week asserting that the law was passed in "open defiance of the Constitution."
Now government lawyers are seeking to halt the law while the legal challenge plays out.
The request could move quickly through the courts -- ultimately landing at the Supreme Court -- and could determine whether clinics in the state can once again perform abortions after six weeks as both sides present their legal arguments over the coming months.
It comes as the Supreme Court is set to take up a case concerning a Mississippi 15-week ban that serves as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade sometime in late fall or early winter.
"There can be no dispute that S.B.
8 is contrary to the decades of precedent prohibiting states from banning abortions before fetal viability," the Justice Department argued.