Arguments were scheduled this morning before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
on the state's appeal of federal Judge Susan Webber Wright's invalidation of the 2013 Arkansas law banning virtually all abortions
at the 12th week of pregnancy.
It would be a huge shock — and a reversal of decades of U.S. Supreme court precedent — if the court said a state could prohibit abortion almost three months before the time a fetus becomes viable outside the womb.
The three-judge panel hearing the case includes Judge Bobby Shepherd of El Dorado. The panel also will hear arguments on North Dakota's effort to ban abortion at six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.
Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, will argue on behalf of the Arkansas physicians who challenged the ban. It was enacted over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto
and will cost the state money in both its own attorney time and plaintiffs' costs.
I wonder if the state assistant attorney general handling this case will still have a job after this argument is done, given the sweeping firings underway in that office.
I did, by the way, get a belated statement from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's
spokesman, Judd Deere, on office changes that began yesterday afternoon
“Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge personally interviewed all of the current staff members that make up the Attorney General’s office. Today is the start of a new administration, and everyone is considered a new employee. As is the case with any transition, changes are going occurring. Yesterday, 23 employees—from various departments—were notified that they would not be offered a position in the new administration.”
UPDATE: A New York Times report i
ndicates skeptical questioning of the states' appeals.