Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Big Victory for DOJ in Alien Minor Abortion Case

Last fall, I described the remarkable shenanigans in the case of an unaccompanied pregnant minor alien who was apprehended unlawfully entering the United States and who sought an order requiring the federal government to transport her to an abortion provider. In a unanimous ruling today in Azar v. Garza, the Supreme Court granted the Department of Justice’s petition for certiorari of the en banc D.C. Circuit’s ruling in her favor and vacated that ruling on the ground that the abortion that the minor obtained rendered the case moot.

This action by the Supreme Court is a big victory for the Department of Justice and for Solicitor General Noel Francisco, all the more so as some folks on the Left slammed DOJ’s certiorari petition as patently meritless and as “fundamentally a press release.” (I responded here and here to one such claim.)

On a much lesser matter, DOJ’s certiorari petition also suggested that the Court “may wish to issue an order to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against [the minor’s] counsel … for what appear to be material misrepresentations and omissions to government counsel designed to thwart this Court’s review.” The Court instead concluded that it “need not delve into the factual disputes raised by the parties in order to answer the Munsingwear [vacatur] question here.”

Ed Whelan — Ed Whelan is a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law.

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