By Jake Kaplan
Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:
All eyes are on the Supreme Court as reproductive rights once again take center stage.
- On Monday, November 1st, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a pair of challenges to SB8, Texas’s law that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is around six weeks of gestation.
- In the latest development in the Department of Justice’s case, the Supreme Court granted DOJ’s request for certiorari before judgment, permitting DOJ to bypass the Circuit Court and immediately put the case in front of the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court then decided to leave in place the law while the justices consider the parties’ arguments. The justices will now determine whether the federal government has legal standing to sue Texas to block enforcement of the law.
- Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to write about the Court’s order. She disagreed with the Court’s decision to let the law stand for the time being, writing, “The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now…[b]ecause every day the Court fails to grant relief is devastating, both for individual women and for our constitutional system as a whole.”
- The Court also combined DOJ’s case with a challenge brought by Texas abortion providers. In that case, the Court will decide whether Texas can deputize private citizens to enforce the law.
There are new developments in the House select committee investigation into the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.
- Last week, both the committee and the full House voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt, and to refer the case to DOJ for potential prosecution. It remains to be seen whether DOJ will act on this criminal referral. If DOJ charges Bannon with criminal contempt of Congress, a conviction would carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
- Today, the committee is expected to interview former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who was an instrumental figure in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure DOJ leadership to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
- The committee reportedly is reaching out to former Trump DHS officials Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli to request that they voluntarily appear before the committee. On the day of the attack, Wolf was serving as the acting secretary of homeland security and Cuccinelli was serving as the deputy secretary of homeland security.
- Reports also indicate that the committee plans to subpoena legal scholar John Eastman. Eastman has been in the news recently for a memo he wrote that detailed how former Vice President Mike Pence could refuse to certify the election results and deny Joe Biden the presidency.