Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson

141 S. Ct. 2494, 142 S.Ct. 522 (2021)

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Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson

United States Supreme Court
141 S. Ct. 2494, 142 S.Ct. 522 (2021)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

The Texas legislature passed a six-week abortion ban, S.B. 8, which delegated enforcement to private citizens. S.B. 8 specifically forbade the state and state officials from enforcing S.B. 8’s abortion ban. S.B. 8 was in direct violation of then-current constitutional law under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey protecting abortion access up to the point of fetal viability. A group of abortion providers (plaintiffs) sued Texas state court judges, Texas county clerks, and leaders of antiabortion organizations (collectively, the S.B. 8 proponents) (defendants) in federal district court, seeking to enjoin enforcement of S.B. 8 as unconstitutional. The S.B. 8 proponents challenged, arguing that the abortion providers lacked standing and that the S.B. 8 proponents had sovereign immunity. The district court’s ruling on the sovereign-immunity issue was immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit then issued a total administrative stay on all proceedings. Because S.B. 8 was scheduled to imminently go into effect on September 1, 2021, the abortion providers petitioned the United States Supreme Court for an injunction to prevent S.B. 8 from going into effect while the litigation was pending. The abortion providers’ injunction petition was placed on the Supreme Court’s emergency docket, also called the shadow docket.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Dissent (Kagan, J.)

Dissent (Sotomayor, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

Dissent (Roberts, C.J.)

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