Thirteen attorneys from the U.S. government, the State of Texas, and a group of intervening parties are arguing that the state of Texas is enabling a regime of "vigilante justice" in defiance of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of the right to a pre-viability abortion, Law&Crime reports.
U.S. Department of Justice attorney Brian Netter said the restrictive anti-abortion law S.B. 8 is an "open threat to the rule of law" and Texas was "appointing vigilante bounty hunters" to enforce an anti-abortion measure that is unenforcible.
As Law&Crime points out, Netter accused Texas of "subversive" legislative activities that were designed to challenge the "supremacy of the federal government."
"They are state actors," he argued while referencing individuals who chose to sue under a legal mechanism that he characterized as "functionally equivalent" to a direct paycheck from the state. S.B. 8 plaintiffs can collect damages of at least $10,000 — possibly more — if they win cases against abortion providers.
"The shutdown of abortions after six weeks within the State of Texas is proof enough already that the state court review has achieved its design. And that design was to create a system of deterrence to make it impossible for individuals to vindicate their rights through the court system," Netter argued. "It's because that system of state court review isn't adequate that the extraordinary process of law — this action by the United States — is necessary because the United States surely has an interest in defending and upholding the supremacy of the federal constitution. Were it the case that the United States had no interest and that there were no recourse — no ability for the United States to assert the supremacy of federal law — then that key provision of the constitution would lose meaning and we would return to the era in which states felt that it was appropriate to nullify provisions of the constitution that they felt were inconvenient or inconsistent with their individual state-held views in conflict with what the Supreme Court had held."
Read the full report over Law&Crime.