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  • Writer's pictureWendy Sibbison

Talking Fifth Circuit Blues

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

Last night a 3-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered that Texas’s abortion ban remain in effect until that court decides the merits of the case. Although the U.S. DOJ says it will appeal the order to the Supreme Court, the odds of success are slim to none. Remember? In September five of the nine Supreme Court justices already refused to halt the Texas ban, even though it’s flagrantly unconstitutional. They're going to change their minds?

So Texans who get pregnant but don’t want to be are shit out of luck--martyrs of the sick crusade to force them to give birth against their will. Bring on the abortion funds to help pay for their out-of-state abortions! DONATE TO THOSE FUNDS! They’re listed HERE–scroll down to Texas.

A few words on the Fifth Circuit, which the American Bar Association Journal called “one of the most controversial, rancorous, dysfunctional, staunchly conservative and important appellate courts in the country.” When we talk about the right-wing political takeover of the judiciary, this gang is the model. Twelve of the seventeen members of the Fifth Circuit are Republican appointees–a full half of them by Trump. The two who voted in favor of the ban yesterday and the five on the Supreme Court who did the same in September are all cut from the same ideological cloth. The bright light in all this darkness is Judge Carl Stewart, a Clinton appointee who for 17 years was the only Black judge on the 5th Circuit. He was the third judge on the panel that gave the go-ahead to the Texas bounty hunters. He dissented. Thank you, Judge Stewart.

Judicial appointments have always been political. The same people who want to control the bodies of Black people, of people with uteruses, of queer and trans people are doing everything in their power to control our votes, too. I am disgusted every day. I am also heartened every day by the activists who are giving their all to stop the rising tide of authoritarianism.



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