When the Supreme Court first refused to block Texas’ abortion ban in October, legal experts warned it would open the floodgates to copycat laws carefully crafted to nullify other rights previously protected by the Constitution.
On Friday, the conservative-leaning court once again allowed the draconian law, known as SB 8, to remain in effect, ruling that legal challenges to it may proceed at the same time. Even Chief Justice John Roberts, long considered to be a staunch conservative, wrote in his partial dissent that “the clear purpose and actual effect of SB 8 has been to nullify this court’s rulings.”
The Texas law allows virtually anyone to file a civil suit up to $10,000 against abortion providers who perform the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, a restriction that defies constitutional protections outlined in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is wasting no time putting Texas’ constitutional nullification strategy to the test, announcing that his staff will help introduce a similar law targeting manufacturers who sell banned weapons in his state.
“SCOTUS is letting private citizens in Texas sue to stop abortion?!” he tweeted Saturday. “If that’s the precedent then we’ll let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets.”
Newsom said his staff will work with legislators and the state’s attorney general to introduce a bill allowing up to $10,000 lawsuits against “anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California.” Several cities in California, including Los Angeles, prohibit the sale of several kinds of assault weapons, as well as “ghost guns,” which are untraceable firearms assembled from parts bought online.
He and other Democratic leaders in California have billed themselves as a progressive alternative to the revanchist conservatism taking hold on multiple fronts in Texas. State lawmakers are set to debate proposals from health experts next month that outline how California could position itself as the nation’s primary abortion provider should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.
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