SCOTUS to hear Trump “insurrection” ballot case in February, Idaho ER abortion care case in April
In the abortion case, the justices also allowed Idaho to enforce its near-total abortion ban without regard to the federal ER protections for now.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear Donald Trump’s appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court decision ordering him removed from the state’s primary ballot for having engaged in insurrection for his actions surrounding the invasion of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Oral arguments in the extremely expedited high-court case will be held just over a month from now, on Feb. 8, with briefing to take place in the interim.
All parties involved in the litigation urged the justices to take up unprecedented case, raising many important questions — including whether Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to a president; whether Colorado can apply the provision to its ballot process to remove a candidate from the ballot; and whether Trump’s actions justify a decision that he “engaged in insurrection” and is disqualified from being being president.
The Colorado Supreme Court answered yes to all of those questions in a 4-3 decision on Dec. 19. Maine’s secretary of state reached a similar decision on Dec. 28 regarding whether Trump could appear on Maine’s primary ballot.
Trump urged the justices to take his appeal of the Colorado decision on Jan. 3.
No justices — including Justice Clarence Thomas — recused themselves from considering Trump’s petition, per Friday’s order.
Law Dork will have a further report on this breaking news over the weekend.
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Emergency room abortion care at SCOTUS
The Supreme Court also agreed on Friday to hear cases over the Biden administration’s guidance, issued after the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that abortions can be required in emergency situations under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) even when that abortion would be banned by state law.
As part of the order, the court is also allowing Idaho to enforce its near-total abortion ban while the appeal is heard without regard to the federal emergency room protections requiring “stabilizing treatment.”
The Justice Department had sued Idaho, arguing that the state’s near-total abortion ban would conflict with its obligations under EMTALA. DOJ obtained a limited preliminary injunction in the case at the district court in 2022, barring enforcement of Idaho’s law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA.
The case was on appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but Idaho and Idaho’s legislature had been seeking a stay of a district court injunction that has been in place most of the time since August 2022. Idaho — which is represented by lawyers from Republican Attorney General Raúl Labrador’s office, Alliance Defending Freedom (working “without charge”), and Cooper & Kirk) — also asked the justices to skip over the Ninth Circuit and hear the case on the merits now.
On Friday, the court did all of that — staying the injunction, which allows full enforcement of Idaho’s abortion ban during the appeal, and agreeing to hear the case on its merits now, with arguments in April.
Notably, the decision to hear the case now — granting certiorari before judgment — means that a decision from earlier this week out of the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit siding with Texas in similar litigation over the EMTALA guidance will be the only appeals court decision on the issue when the Supreme Court hears the case. Normally, the court prefers to let matters “percolate” in the lower courts to see if a circuit split develops justifying the court taking up the case.
Here, the more liberal Ninth Circuit might very well have provided that contrasting opinion — but now the Supreme Court cut that process short, so the Ninth Circuit won’t hear and rule on the Idaho case.
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