Ellison signs on to amicus brief in support of DOJ lawsuit against Texas abortion law

Ellison said Texas' "unconstitutional" abortion ban "hurts women in Minnesota and across the country," not just in Texas.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

Keith Ellison, the leftist attorney general of Minnesota, has lent his support to the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Texas after the state banned abortion after six weeks.

Ellison recently signed on to an amicus brief jointly filed by 23 other attorneys general across the United States. The brief calls on the Supreme Court to approve the DOJ’s motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction of the Texas law.

In a news release from the attorney general’s office, Ellison is quoted as saying that Texas’ “unconstitutional” abortion ban “hurts women in Minnesota and across the country,” not just in Texas.

“Making your own reproductive choices is fundamental to living with dignity and respect,” he said. “I use [the] power of my office to fight this unconstitutional law and unconstitutional laws like it whenever I can.”

The main argument in the amicus brief is that SCOTUS and various federal courts have long upheld an “unbroken line of precedent” which has consistently struck down “pre-viability abortion bans.” But the Texas abortion law, known as S.B. 8, represents an “open and purposeful” disregard of this precedent.

“In enacting S.B. 8, the Texas Legislature evinced its willingness to ignore the Supreme Court’s constitutional rulings and to thwart judicial review by creating a private, rather than government, enforcement scheme,” the brief reads. “Such an unprecedented attack on our constitutional order and the rule of law must be unequivocally rejected.”

On Sept. 8 the DOJ warned of its impending challenge to S.B. 8.

“While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion, we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland had written in a statement.

The FACE Act is a federal law that allows the DOJ to prosecute anyone who intentionally damages the property of an abortion facility, or who injures, intimidates, or interferes with abortion seekers and providers.

The day after Garland’s statement, the DOJ followed through and filed its lawsuit against the state of Texas. But the agency has not stopped there. NPR reported Wednesday that the DOJ has asked a Texas federal judge to temporarily block the law’s enforcement as well.


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.