The Corner

Partial-Birth Abortion Back in Court

Yesterday, the Justice Department filed its first appellate brief

challenging trial court rulings which struck down the federal ban on partial

birth abortion. It is here. In Carhart v. Ashcroft, the

government argues that a Nebraska federal district court failed to accord

proper respect for the findings by Congress, developed after 8+ years of

hearings, that the partial birth abortion procedure is never medically

necessary. While the central issue in the case is the constitutionality of

the ban, it also raises important issues about the relationship between

Congress and the courts. The government will be filing separate briefs in

cases in both the 2nd Circuit (New York) and 9th Circuit (California).

Briefing in these cases is expected to take several months, with argument

not likely to be scheduled anytime soon. Expect these cases to take some

time, then, to make their way to the Supreme Court.

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