We've come a long way down the road towards the end of legalized, safe abortion in the United States, and another milepost on that road whizzed by on Monday as the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the possibility of an expedited challenge to Texas's abortion ban.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to a request from abortion-rights advocates and providers to quickly consider taking up their challenge of a restrictive Texas law that bans most abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
The petitioners last month had submitted the unusual request for the Supreme Court to hear the case before final judgment in lower courts.
If the court agrees to consider the case on an expedited basis, it could accept briefs, hear arguments and deliver a ruling much faster than if the case had to wind through the normal court channels. Though the case is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, arguments would not be held until December at the earliest, the petitioners said.
The high court directed the respondents in the case to file a response by noon on Thursday. That’s the same time Texas is due to file its reply in a separate challenge of the law, which the Department of Justice brought to the Supreme Court earlier Monday.
A pivotal abortion case is already set for oral argument on Dec. 1. Proponents of abortion rights fear the court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, could weaken or abolish decades-old precedent protecting the right to an abortion before fetal viability.
I mean "not saying no outright" is a good thing, but then again an expedited case means this court could get to kill abortion in Texas far more quickly, leaving the road open to a couple dozen more red states filing Texas "fetus bounty hunter" laws.
Either way, the Mississippi case that the court is hearing in six weeks will almost certainly be the beginning of the end. What I expect is that the expedited case will be taken up and then rendered moot while the Mississippi case is being heard, and I fully expect a national ruling allowing states to invalidate abortion (with individual states having already passed such laws in anticipation).
November 2022 is going to be a far more fraught political environment than it is now, and that's not a good thing.