The Volokh Conspiracy

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The Printing Speed of SCOTUS

Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson incorporated a Texas state court decision from Thursday afternoon.


On Thursday around 5:00 ET, a state judge rule that S.B. was unconstitutional, in part. Friday, at 10 ET, Justice Gorsuch's majority opinion referenced that decision.

A summary judgment ruling in these now-consolidated cases arrived last night, in which the abortion providers pre- vailed on certain of their claims. Van Stean v. Texas, No. D–1–GN–21–004179 (Dist. Ct. Travis Cty., Tex., Dec. 9, 2021).

As did Justice Thomas's concurrence:

The Texas courts held summary- judgment hearings on November 10 and entered partial judgment for the abortion providers on December 9. See Van Stean v. Texas, No. D–1–GN–21–004179 (Dist. Ct. Travis Cty., Tex., Dec. 9, 2021).

I did not see a reference in the other opinions, but my review so far has been quick

The Supreme Court moves fast. I do not know what the cutoff is to modify printed opinions, but it is apparently less than 12 hours. Indeed, last night I wondered if the Texas court's decision could possibly delay the issuance of opinions today. Nope. The Court was ready.

I will have much more to say about this case.

Update: Chief Justice Roberts referenced the state court case in footnote of his opinion. I missed it on quick review because he didn't include the citation.

A recent summary judgment ruling in state court found S. B. 8 un-constitutional in certain respects, not including the ban on abortions af-ter roughly six weeks. See ante, at 2, 15. That order—which does not grant injunctive relief and has not yet been considered on appeal—does not legitimate the State's effort to legislate away a federally protected right.