Justice Dept. Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Roe v. Wade

The capital city of the United States is home to Roe v. Wade should be upheld when the Supreme Court rules on Mississippi’s restrictive abortion law later this year, the Justice Department argued on Monday, arguing that any other decision would uphold an unconstitutional law and undermine a doctrine that gives Supreme Court precedents power.

As a sign of the importance of this particular legal battle in the larger effort to overturn Roe and enact abortion bans across America, the department requested permission to present oral arguments when the case is heard on Dec. 1.

In the latest effort by the Biden Justice Department to protect the legal right to an abortion, acting solicitor general Brian H. Fletcher has filed briefs. Last month, the Justice Department sued Texas to block a law that prohibits nearly all abortions in the state, requesting an injunction from a federal district judge.

To help Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s sole abortion provider, the Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief alongside more than 40 other parties. More than 140 such briefs have been filed this year by both supporters and opponents of the Mississippi law.

When the Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy was passed in 2018, Jackson Women’s Health filed a lawsuit to overturn it. Because courts have ruled that women have the right to end a pregnancy before viability, and because medical experts have determined that viability occurs at 23 to 24 weeks, the clinic argued that the law was unconstitutional.

It was agreed upon by the Justice Department that the state had “failed to identify any medical research or data that showed a foetus had reached the ‘point of viability’ at 15 weeks. ” Jackson Women’s Health was also mentioned as a victor in federal district and appeals courts.

Mississippi’s request to overrule the Supreme Court’s precedents on abortion, including Roe v. Wade, violates the doctrine of stare decisis, Latin for “to stand by things decided,” according to the Justice Department. The principle of precedent-respecting decision-making by the judiciary is encapsulated in this phrase.

According to the Justice Department’s brief, “The United States has a substantial interest in ensuring that the 14th Amendment is properly interpreted and that the principles of stare decisis are applied.”

The Roe v. Wade decision, which Mississippi’s attorney general, Lynn Fitch, has called “egregiously wrong,” is under attack by conservative state legislatures across the country. The Supreme Court has been urged by Ms. Fitch to overturn the decision that underpins the constitutional right to an abortion and to uphold the law of the state.

Opponents of abortion are hopeful that the case in Mississippi will undo Roe. It will be decided by a Supreme Court with a conservative majority, including the newest justice, Amy Coney Barrett, who has stated her personal opposition to abortion.. Other states could follow suit if a similar ruling was made.

However, even if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court rulings that block the Mississippi law, it will not stop Texas from enacting a law that prohibits the majority of abortions performed after six weeks of gestation in that state. By relying on civil suits and private citizens rather than the state’s executive branch, critics claim that the Texas law evades court precedent on abortion. “An unprecedented scheme” that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge the law in court, the Justice Department says.

The Mississippi law has been blocked by lower courts because it is in conflict with multiple precedents set by the Supreme Court. Because it forbids women “from choosing previability abortions rather than specifying the conditions under which such abortions are to be allowed,” the Department of Health and Human Services argued in its brief, the courts in Mississippi rejected its claim that the law is a “regulation.”

Despite this, the justices agreed to hear the case in May of this year.