WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court may rule Monday in Texas banning abortion in about six weeks.
The judges plan to deliver at least one opinion on Monday, the first of their new term, the court said on its website on Friday.
There is no guarantee that two cases under Texas law, with its unique enforcement structure, which has so far eluded judicial review, will be resolved on Monday. These cases were discussed on November 1, and the court is also working on decisions in nine cases that the judges heard in October.
But the court has placed Texas cases on a rarely used fast track, prompting expectations that decisions will be made earlier than the months that judges usually spend writing and reviewing their opinions. The law has been in effect since September 1.
With Thanksgiving approaching, Monday is also likely the last day a court can rule on Texas cases before judges hear arguments on December 1 about whether to reverse nearly 50-year precedents and recognize that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to abortion. … The case concerns Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
Texas law prohibits abortion after fetal heart activity is detected, often about six weeks before some women know they are pregnant, and makes no exceptions for rape or incest. It was six weeks before the previous major abortion court orders allowed states to ban abortion.
However, the focus of the Supreme Court is on developing a Texas law that empowers private citizens to enforce it by suing clinics, doctors and others promoting abortion. The court is trying to figure out who can file a lawsuit to challenge the law and whether a federal court can effectively block enforcement of the law.
Although the judges returned to the courtroom for arguments after a 19-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, decisions will continue to be posted on the court’s website rather than summarized out loud in the courtroom.
A long tradition of repeating opinions from the bench has resulted in some notable dramatic moments over the years, especially from judges who read from their passionate dissent on major cases.
The building remains closed to the public, and only a handful of outsiders – lawyers who defend their case and reporters who regularly cover the trial – are allowed into the courtroom.