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U.S. Supreme Court lets Republican defend Kentucky abortion curbs -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The Supreme Court can be seen at Washington, U.S.A, 26 January 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

By Andrew Chung

After the Democratic governor of Kentucky dropped his defense of the law when it was struck down by lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Kentucky’s Republican attorney General permission to seek to reinstate a restrictive abortion statute.

In Cameron’s appeal against a rejection by a lower court to allow him to participate in the litigation, 8-1 was voted in favour of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The federal appeals court found that Cameron’s attempt to revive the law was too late.

Justices decided that the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had issued its decision in this case. However, the court ruled that the attorney general of the state should have exercised its discretion and allowed the appeals to be heard by the Supreme Court.

According to conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the 6th Circuit failed “to account for Kentucky’s strong interest in taking up defense of the law,” the ruling was signed by five other conservative justices.

Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, Liberal Justices, concurred in the judgement. Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed.

The attention of America’s top judicial authority has continued to be drawn to the many Republican-backed abortion restrictions that have been enacted in the United States by states over the past few years.

The 2018 Kentucky law, which was backed by Republicans, placed restrictions on dilation and evacuation as the abortion method most commonly used after the first trimester of 15-week-old pregnancy. Advocates for abortion rights claim that the law will effectively ban this procedure. However, its supporters deny it is a ban.

Cameron stated that his office would now be pursuing further litigation at Circuit 6. He added, “We will proudly continue the mantle of this important pro-life law.”

EMW Women’s Surgical Center (a Louisville abortion center) challenged Kentucky’s law. Cameron argued Cameron shouldn’t have the right to pursue the case further, claiming that Cameron was bound by Kentucky’s lower court’s final judgement and did not appeal.

Alexa Kolbi Molinas, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing the clinic said that Kentucky politicians have been working hard to force women to carry on their pregnancies. We will continue to fight for every person’s right to an abortion.

Kentucky’s legislature passed the law and Matt Bevin signed it. Bevin, a Republican lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Andy Beshear in 2019.

Supreme Court didn’t hear the case about the legality and lawfulness of the law. It focused instead on the question of Cameron’s legal right to act when a state official is in decline.

The case highlights how sometimes messy conflicts can occur when political opinions or parties differ between a governor of a state and its top lawyer. This sometimes leads to differences in whether certain laws should be defended in court.

Sotomayor stated in her dissent that she was concerned about “the floodgates being opened for government officials to avoid the consequences of litigation decisions made earlier by different political parties”

The case was dropped by Beshear after the 6th Circuit declared that the law infringed Supreme Court precedents that held that abortion is a constitutional right for women. After Beshear’s election, Kentucky’s Health Department had continued to defend Beshear’s law before the 6th Circuit’s decision. However, they decided not to continue the case. Cameron attempted unsuccessfully to take control of the defense.

Opponents of abortion are optimistic that the Supreme Court with its conservative 6-3 majority will reverse abortion rights.

The justices heard arguments in December over a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a case in which that state is asking them to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure nationwide. The justices are due to rule by June 30th.