Just to recap: Texas enacted a law that made it possible for everyday citizens to sue not only abortion providers, but anyone involved in the “abortion process” if a procedure happened after the six-week gestational mark — a truly ridiculous benchmark seeing as most women don’t even know they’re pregnant by that time. The law means that everyone, from a receptionist at an abortion clinic to a friend who books an Uber driver, to the actual driver who offers transportation to and from the clinic, could also be sued for punitive damages. It’s the first and harshest abortion ban of its kind, and it made its way to the Supreme Court earlier this year.
But now, in a decision that’s obviously angered Sotomayor and a few of her fellow justices, the Supreme Court has kicked the case back to the states, leaving the law intact but allowing abortion providers to sue state officials in retaliation for enacting such a harsh abortion law. In her dissent, Sotomayor dragged her fellow Supreme Court justices, writing (via Raw Story), “The Court should have put an end to this madness months ago before S. B. 8 first went into effect. It failed to do so then, and it fails again today.”
Sotomayor continued, writing that the Supreme Court’s decision to basically refuse to make a definitive ruling on the case invites other states to refine the Texas abortion ban to curb the individual rights of women, saying “The Court thus betrays not only the citizens of Texas but also our constitutional system of government.”
And then, in the most scathing section of her dissent, Sotomayor referenced slavery laws, comparing the Texas abortion ban to other measures put in place to rob citizens of their basic human rights.
Sotomayor said the state’s challenge to federal abortion laws “echoes the philosophy of John C. Calhoun, a virulent defender of the slaveholding South who insisted that States had the right to ‘veto’ or ‘nullif[y]’ any federal law with which they disagreed.”
“The Nation fought a Civil War over that proposition,” she concluded. “But Calhoun’s theories were not extinguished.”