Court Sides With Republicans in Major Blow to Democrats

Court Sides With Republicans in Major Blow to Democrats

( – Republicans have been playing a long game when it comes to the courts. For more than three decades they had a goal: transform the courts. Lawmakers wanted a conservative majority on the Supreme Court and in the lower federal courts. 

Over the years Republicans appointed as many judges as possible. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is one of the courts they filled with conservatives. GOP presidents appointed 12 of the 17 active judges on the court — former President Trump appointed 6 of them. That move is paying off big time now. 

Opinion of the Court

On August 18, the full Fifth Circuit reversed a ruling from a three judge panel of the same court that stopped an anti-abortion law from taking effect. The decision was a major victory for the movement to stop abortions in the country. 

In 2017, Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed Senate Bill 8 into law. The legislation prohibits abortion doctors from performing dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions. The method is what doctors most commonly use while performing the procedure past 15 weeks gestation unless they perform a second procedure to make sure the fetus is dead. 

Texas describes D&E procedure as “dismemberment abortion.” Doctors who perform the abortion procedure are now subject to a prison term of up to two years. By banning the method, the state essentially stopped most second trimester abortions from taking place. Advocates of the law say it prevents fetal pain.

The majority of the judges stated records showed most doctors already perform the procedure within the parameters of the new law. The judges said its false to suggest women can only receive an abortion if its done by live dismemberment. The ruling also stated the three-judge panel committed “numerous, reversible legal and factual errors.” Texas allowed the new ruling to start being enforced right away. 

Judge James Dennis wrote a dissenting opinion. He stated the new requirement will lead to “painful, invasive, expensive” procedures that could be experimental and risk the woman’s health or life. 

Big Win 

Pro-life advocates celebrated the win. “Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves” released a statement applauding the court for the ruling. She said the Lone Star State showed it respects life when it passed SB8 to “strictly limit the gruesome procedure of dismemberment abortions.” 

Pro-abortion groups are promising to appeal the ruling. That might work in the GOP’s favor as well because it would possibly get the case in front of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court and all of that hard work over the last three decades could pay off. It certainly has in the lower courts.

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