Full Text: Merrick Garland Sues TX Over Abortion Ban

September 9, 2021

Accusing Texas of acting in “open defiance of the Constitution,” the DOJ filed suit against Texas over its six-week abortion ban.

The DOJ’s complaint was fiercely direct, opening with the statement: “It is settled constitutional law that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.’” Thus, concluded the DOJ, “Texas enacted S.B. 8 in open defiance of the Constitution.”

The DOJ further asserted that “Because S.B. 8 clearly violates the Constitution, Texas adopted an unprecedented scheme ‘to insulate the State from responsibility,’ . . . by making the statute harder to challenge in court.” The DOJ found the political motive behind the Texas anti-abortion statute transparent, noting that Texas’s goal is “to make it too risky for an abortion clinic to operate in the State, thereby preventing women throughout Texas from exercising their constitutional rights, while simultaneously thwarting judicial review.”

The DOJ made clear its determination to prevent Texas from evading its Constitutional obligations, writing forcefully: “The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot evade its obligations under the Constitution and deprive individuals of their constitutional rights by adopting a statutory scheme designed specifically to evade traditional mechanisms of federal judicial review. The federal government therefore brings this suit directly against the State of Texas to obtain a declaration that S.B. 8 is invalid, to enjoin its enforcement, and to protect the rights that Texas has violated.”

Putting an even finer point on Texas’s sneak attack on the constitutional rights of its citizens, the DOJ wrote: “In a transparent effort to evade constitutional scrutiny, Texas has outsourced the authority to enforce S.B. 8 to ordinary citizens.”

In its prayer for relief the DOJ seeks “a declaratory judgment stating that S.B. 8 is invalid, null, and void” as well as “a preliminary and permanent injunction against the State of Texas—including all of its officers, employees, and agents, including private parties who would bring suit under S.B. 8—prohibiting any and all enforcement of S.B 8.”

To read the DOJ complaint, open the PDF file for “U.S. v. Texas” in your browser at the link below, or click the “Download” button to download the file to your device.