State law that would permanently block joint proceedings was struck down by an appeals court.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from the Kentucky attorney general, who seeks to defend a restriction on abortion rights that lower courts had overturned.
The underlying issue in the case, which will be heard in the fall, is a blocked Kentucky law that abortion rights advocates say effectively banned a standard abortion method in the second trimester. of pregnancy.
But the question before the court is whether Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, can intervene in the case, after the rulings of a trial court and an appeals committee, as well as the Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s decision to drop the case.
The law was passed in 2018, when Republican Matt Bevin was governor. Following a lawsuit filed by abortion providers, a first-instance court permanently blocked the law, ruling that it would have made it impossible to perform an abortion procedure called dilation and extraction. A panel of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in June 2020.
Five days later, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to shoot down an unrelated Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics. But Cameron, who became attorney general in 2019, said the reasoning used by the high court called into question the ruling against Kentucky law.
The appeals court, however, rejected his efforts to intervene, prompting his appeal to the Supreme Court.
“I promised the Kentuckians that I would defend our laws all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and we did,” Cameron said in a statement.
The United States Civil Liberties Union, representing the abortion clinic that had filed a lawsuit, had urged the court to stay out of the case.
“This case concerns only the question of whether the attorney general, after sitting on the sidelines of this trial, can intervene at the last minute in order to revive an unconstitutional law,” said the lawyer for the ACLU, Andrew Beck, in a statement.
In February, the Republican-led Kentucky legislature gave Cameron the power to seek civil and criminal penalties for any violation of Kentucky’s abortion laws. Beshear had initially vetoed the measure.