The Volokh Conspiracy

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Supreme Court Prematurely Releases DIG in Moyle

Bloomberg downloaded the file before it was removed.


Bloomberg has a scoop!

The US Supreme Court is poised to allow abortions in medical emergencies in Idaho, according to a copy of the opinion that was briefly posted on the court's website.

The decision would reinstate a lower court order that had ensured hospitals in the state could perform emergency abortions to protect the health of the mother. The briefly posted version indicated the majority will dismiss the case as "improvidently granted."

Bloomberg Law obtained a copy of the opinion that appeared briefly on the court's website as the justices were issuing two other opinions Wednesday morning. The copy of the opinion isn't necessarily the final ruling, given that it hasn't been released.

The Supreme Court's press office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on this inadvertent release.

This morning I was clicking reload as the opinions were coming down, but I missed this. The link must have been there momentarily.

This is a huge error on the Court's part. For all of the post-Dobbs security measures, this was a self-own. They usually hold all of the DIGs for the last day of the term, but this one came prematurely.

The Court's order from January stated:

The stay shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court. VIDED.

Is a cert denial akin to "sending down" a judgment?

In any event, a DIG here is another victory for the Biden Administration.

Update: Bloomberg has more details:

The Supreme Court's press office said the opinion in the case had not been officially released. "The Court's Publications Unit inadvertently and briefly uploaded a document to the Court's website," Patricia McCabe, the court's public information officer. "The Court's opinion in Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States will be issued in due course."

The copy indicates the court is voting 6-3 to lift a stay it previously placed on a federal district court order, with conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissenting. The district court order is designed to stay in place while the litigation goes forward.

The high court decision "will prevent Idaho from enforcing its abortion ban when the termination of a pregnancy is needed to prevent serious harms to a woman's health," Justice Elena Kagan said in a concurring opinion.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote separately to say that she wouldn't have dismissed the case, according to the copy that was briefly online.

"Today's decision is not a victory for pregnant patients in Idaho. It is delay," she wrote. "While this court dawdles and the country waits, pregnant people experiencing emergency medical conditions remain in a precarious position, as their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires."

Update: Bloomberg posted a link to the opinion.

It is not formatted as a Supreme Court opinion would be formatted.

The Metadata says the author is "Thomas Houston." There is a notation at the top that says Moyle v. 1.0 5/23/2024 12:00 PM.