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What the Justice Department should do to stop the Texas abortion law

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06.09.2021

Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor emeritus and a professor of constitutional law emeritus at Harvard Law School.

The Texas legislature and five Supreme Court justices have joined forces to eviscerate women’s abortion rights — the legislature by creating and the justices by leaving in place a system of private bounties designed to intimidate all who would help women exercise the right to choose. But the federal government has — and should use — its own powers, including criminal prosecution, to prevent the law from being enforced and to reduce its chilling effects.

Of course, the best approach would be for Congress to codify the right to abortion in federal law, although Democrats likely lack the votes to make that happen — and there is a risk that this conservative Supreme Court would find that such a statute exceeded Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause.

But as President Biden calls for a “whole of government” response to the fact that thousands of women in Texas — and no doubt soon elsewhere — are being denied their constitutional rights, there are other solutions that already exist in federal law.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has the power, under........

© Washington Post


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