Police filed a lawsuit before the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered a Republican attorney general to defend the abortion law in Kentucky, with some independent judges expressing doubts that the lower court was right to reject this intervention request.
The case is not the only abortion-related war in which the court, rated 6-3 by security guards, is set to consider the term. The court even went so far as to split when it voted 5-4 to overturn Texas law banning multiple abortions after six weeks of detention. And the judges will hear the argument in Chapter 1 in another important case challenging the right to abort the child before it is granted by Roe v. Wade.
Kentucky law, HB 454, would specifically prohibit abortions performed by “dilation and evacuation” procedures, a common method used in pregnancy-trimester pregnancies. It was signed into law in 2018, but the district court declared it unconstitutional and the appeals court upheld the ruling.
The Kentucky health secretary decided not to go ahead with the request – but Daniel Cameron, a Republican attorney general, tried to intervene to seek a hearing in defense of the law. The United States Supreme Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit rejected the request, saying that Cameron’s request was delayed.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron stood on stage in the empty Mellon Auditorium speaking at the Republican National Convention on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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In asking the Supreme Court to look into the matter, Cameron’s lawyers said the attorney general “has not only the power, but the duty” to intervene when a government official refuses to defend state law. He is appealing to the high court to overturn the appellate court’s decision and return the case for review.
A summary of the surgical site responded that Cameron’s willingness to intervene did not work, in part because the attorney general’s office had agreed to be arrested for the outcome of the case.
Tuesday’s oral debate focused not only on the validity of the abortion law in Kentucky, but on whether Cameron should be allowed to intervene after the court has ruled in its favor and after all the courts have ruled.
“If there is no prejudice against anyone, and I can’t see it, why doesn’t he just go in and defend the law?” Judge Stephen Breyer asked a lawyer representing EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only abortion clinic, to Cameron.
“Now, he could lose,” Breyer said, “and he could lose the reasons you say. But I don’t see why he can’t, if Kentucky allows him to argue, why can’t he argue?”
Volunteer clinic escorts waiting for patients outside the EMW Women’s Surgery Center in Louisville, Kentucky, US, on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
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Breyer later said he could be confused about the truth of the matter. But Judge Elena Kagan, another independent, raised the issue that a dispute had arisen over the fact that Kentucky’s leadership had changed parties during the courts.
Ipapo-Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed HB 454 to make the law in March 2018. When a surgical site was closed recently, he immediately named Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, as a prosecutor, but his office was quickly dismissed. Later, during the appeal, Beshear was appointed governor of Kentucky and Cameron was appointed attorney general. The political health secretary, who is still handling the case, continued to defend the law until the appeal was over, stating that he would no longer do so.
Cameron’s lawyers told the court that the attorney general had tried to intervene within two days after hearing that the secretary would stop defending the law.
“There is a real-world approach that seems to be very important. I mean, what creates the problem here, is that no one is left to defend the law of the land,” Kagan said.
“And I think Justice Breyer’s point is, ‘Gosh, that would be a serious law of the land'” if no one wanted to defend the law, even though parts of the Kentucky government still want the law to be protected, he said.
The attorney, Alexi Kolbi-Molinas of the American Civil Liberties Union, replied that “the difficult outcome does not change once the rule of law is passed.”