As the Supreme Court struggled Monday over whether it could or should prevent Texas courts from hearing lawsuits by private citizens against abortion providers under the state’s novel anti-abortion law, a 1908 case was called. Ex part young it kept going up.
That case involved a dispute over a Minnesota rail fare law and a federal lawsuit against state attorney general Edward Young. The Supreme Court held that state officials could be sued in federal court to prevent them from trying to enforce unconstitutional laws.
However, the majority court decision, written by Judge Rufus W. Peckham, said that this mechanism could not be used to “prevent the state court from acting in any case before it, whether civil or criminal in nature.”
He added: “An injunction from a federal court against a state court would violate the entire scheme of this government, and it does not follow that because a person may be prohibited from doing certain things, a court may be imposed in Similarly”.
The twist raised by the Texas anti-abortion case is that state officials are prohibited from enforcing the law, which conflicts with current Supreme Court rulings on abortion rights. Instead, the law is enforced by filing lawsuits by private citizens against abortion providers, or against the people who help them or women seeking abortions.
The plaintiffs, the Department of Justice and abortion providers in Texas have tried to address that turn by seeking a court order prohibiting state courts from hearing such cases.