(RepublicanNews.org) – Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest justice on the US Supreme Court, was the lone dissenter on a ruling that overturned a lower court ruling on minor children’s ability to get an abortion without parental permission.
The lower court ruling came from a case decided by the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. That court ruled that a pregnant minor teenager had the right to sue a Missouri state court clerk. That clerk, acting according to Missouri law, told the teenager that the court would have to notify her parents about the teenager’s court request to have an abortion.
The 8th Circuit court ruled that the teenager did have the right to personally sue the state court clerk. The March 20 Supreme Court ruling overturned the lower court’s ruling and instructed that the court consider the case “moot” (irrelevant). In the end, the pregnant teenager chose to travel to a different state where she obtained an abortion.
Justice Jackson wrote the sole dissent, arguing that the Supreme Court used the wrong legal theory to decide the case. She argued that because SCOTUS should have used a different test, the court clerk in this case who claimed immunity from being sued should not have the right to appeal the decision against her.
“Indeed, Chapman’s only argument in support of vacatur is that the Eighth Circuit’s opinion was wrongly decided,” Justice Jackson wrote. “But mere disagreement with the decision that one seeks to have vacated cannot suffice to warrant equitable relief under Munsingwear (the legal test in question).”
The Supreme Court’s majority ruling that threw out the lower court’s decision stated that it was overturning the 8th Circuit because the case was now moot. This is because the Supreme Court overturned an earlier 1973 decision, Roe v Wade, which had barred US states from banning abortion within the first trimester.
Since Roe was overturned, giving the states the sole right to regulate abortion, the ruling argued, the pregnant teen’s claims against the Missouri court clerk were irrelevant.
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