August 25th, 2020
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Whole Woman's Health v. Paxton
Opinion Date: August 22, 2020
Judge: James L. Dennis
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Health Law
Almost three years after a federal district court declared that Texas Senate Bill 8 placed an undue burden on a woman's right to access a previability abortion and enjoined its enforcement, the State seeks to stay the judgment. The Fifth Circuit denied the state's motion for a stay and held that June Medical Servs. LLC v. Russo, 140 S. Ct. 2103 (2020), has not disturbed the undue-burden test, and Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016), remains binding law in this circuit. Under this circuit's reading of the Marks principle, that the challenged Louisiana law posed an undue burden on women seeking an abortion is the full extent of June Medical's ratio decidendi. The court stated that the decision does not furnish a new controlling rule as to how to perform the undue-burden test. Therefore, the court held that Hellerstedt's formulation of the test continues to govern this case, and because the district court correctly applied Hellerstedt's balancing test, remand is not warranted. The court also held that the state's law is patently procedurally defective where the state's failure to show the impracticability of moving first in the district court under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 8(2) is sufficient grounds to deny its motion.
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