Court Battles

Sotomayor tells law students: I can’t change Texas abortion law, but you can

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
New York Times/Pool

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told an audience of law students on Wednesday that while her power to overturn a restrictive Texas abortion law is limited, the public wields the power to force change, CNN reported.

The Texas abortion legislation, which took effect about a month ago, banned almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or about six weeks into a pregnancy. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court refused to block the new law from being enacted, but did not decide on its constitutionality. 

“You know, I can’t change Texas’s law,” Sotomayor said. “But you can, and everyone else who may or may not like it can go out there and be lobbying forces in changing laws that you don’t like.”

Sotomayor, who has been a vigorous voice of dissent on the conservative majority court, was speaking at an event hosted by the American Bar Association.  

In a dissenting opinion on the Texas law case, Sotomayor said her colleagues who declined to block the “clearly unconstitutional” law “have opted to bury their heads in the sand.”

Speaking to the law students, Sotomayor noted that she wasn’t supposed to be speaking about a case currently before the court.

“But my point is that there are going to be a lot of things you don’t like,” and the public can effect change, she said. 

The Supreme Court is set to start a new term next week, during which it will hear a Mississippi abortion case that could end the abortion rights granted in Roe v. Wade, as well as a Second Amendment case that could invalidate many gun restrictions in the U.S.

Tags American Bar Association Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court Texas abortion law Tezas

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