Sotomayor issues fiery dissent after SCOTUS opts not to block ‘catastrophic’ anti-abortion law

The pro-abortion crowd has been agonizing over a law out of Texas ever since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene and block it from going into effect on Sept. 1.

The wailing only grew worse after the high court again decided not to block the law Friday, a move that prompted a scathing and hyperbolic dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor about the “catastrophic” and “devastating” impact of her colleagues’ inaction, as The Hill reported.

As things stand now, Texas S.B. 8, which effectively bans abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or typically around six weeks of pregnancy, will remain in effect until at least Nov. 1. That’s when the high court will hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of the Texas law.

Case before the court

SCOTUSblog reports that the Supreme Court had issued orders regarding deadlines for the two cases — one a direct challenge from the Biden administration, the other a challenge posed by abortion providers — on Friday.

The requests came after a district court in Texas ruled that the law was unconstitutional and issued an injunction to block it, only to be quickly overruled by the panel on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The requests had called for the stay on the initial injunction to be lifted, but the high court “deferred pending oral argument.”

Further, the court limited the scope of what it would consider in the upcoming hearings to focus narrowly on the question of if the U.S. government may “bring suit in federal court and obtain injunctive or declaratory relief against the State, state court judges, state court clerks, other state officials, or all private parties to prohibit S.B. 8 from being enforced.”

“The impact is catastrophic”

That was apparently too much for Justice Sotomayor to bear, as she excoriated her fellow jurists in a six-page dissent for not blocking what she clearly has already decided for herself is an unconstitutional law.

“For the second time, the Court is presented with an application to enjoin a statute enacted in open disregard of the constitutional rights of women seeking abortion care in Texas,” Sotomayor wrote. “For the second time, the Court declines to act immediately to protect these women from grave and irreparable harm.”

The jurist argued that “future adjudication offers cold comfort” to Texas women seeking abortions who, she said, are “entitled to relief now.”

“Because every day the Court fails to grant relief is devastating, both for individual women and for our constitutional system as a whole, I dissent from the Court’s refusal to stay administratively the Fifth Circuit’s order,” she said.

“I cannot capture the totality of this harm in these pages,” the liberal justice concluded. “[T]he State (empowered by this Court’s inaction) has so thoroughly chilled the exercise of the right recognized in [Roe v. Wade] as to nearly suspend it within its borders and strain access to it in other States. The State’s gambit has worked. The impact is catastrophic.” Give me a break.

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