Supreme Court Signals It Will Side With Kentucky Attorney General In Bid To Defend Abortion Law

The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered a Republican attorney general's bid to defend a restrictive Kentucky abortion law, with some liberal justices sounding skeptical that a lower court was right to reject his request to intervene.

The case is not the only abortion-related battle that the court, stacked 6-3 with conservative justices, is set to consider this term. The court already waded into the polarizing issue when it voted 5-4 not to block a Texas law banning most abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy. And the justices will hear arguments Dec. 1 in a pivotal case challenging the right to an abortion before fetal viability established by Roe v. Wade.

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The Kentucky law, H.B. 454, would largely ban abortions performed with the "dilation and evacuation" procedure, the most common method used for second-trimester pregnancies. It was signed into law in 2018, but a district court declared it unconstitutional and an appeals court upheld that ruling.

Kentucky's health secretary opted not to pursue further appeal of the decision — but Daniel Cameron, the state's Republican attorney general, tried to intervene to seek another hearing in defense of the law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected that bid, saying Cameron's motion came too late.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron stands on stage in an empty Mellon Auditorium while addressing the Republican National Convention on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. © Provided by CNBC Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron stands on stage in an empty Mellon Auditorium while addressing the Republican National Convention on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC.

In the petition for the Supreme Court to consider the case, attorneys for Cameron argued the attorney general "has not only the power, but also the duty" to jump in when another state official declines to defend state law. He is asking the high court to vacate the appeals court's judgment and send the case back for further consideration.


Video: Justice Breyer: Supreme Court decision on Texas Abortion law was 'very wrong' (MSNBC)

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