If the draft opinion leaked earlier this month reflects the U.S. Supreme Court's ultimate ruling, overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and creating a new precedent, leaving abortion law up to individual states, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall vowed to act immediately.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 host Sean Sullivan, Marshall said his office was already preparing to seek the dismissal of federal injunctions preventing the institution of Alabama laws already on the books pertaining to abortion.
Included among those is the 2019 Human Life Protection Act, which bans abortion with limited exceptions. A preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson blocked the law from taking effect in October 2019. That injunction would likely be Marshall's target under a new high-court ruling.
"What we're readying for is being the aggressor," Marshall said. "For example, the one thing people aren't necessarily talking about but the fact that the multiple statutes that Alabama has in place are currently subject to a federal injunction. And so one of the things we will have to proactively do is to be able to file and seek to have those injunctions released so that the law will be in play, and that is going to take litigation that will be able to do it. We have, obviously, already initiated the planning process for that. One thing that we'll obviously have to see is what the opinion actually says, and that dictates a little bit about what we have the ability to do.
"If, in fact, it is exactly as you described, and again, the left doesn't want to accurately describe it -- but it is returning to the states the ability to make the decision relating to abortion, and then we would have the responsibility at that time as the people's lawyer to be able to lift what other restrictions may exist as a result of prior federal action."
Marshall also said the state would seek to recoup attorney's fees from those who challenged the state on the basis its 2019 abortion law was unconstitutional.
"I think we're entitled to get a recovery of that, so we're going to try to get some of the state's money, as well," Marshall said. "That's going to be through a federal order as part of the relinquishment of those injunctions. And so, most of those cases are in the Middle District of Alabama. We expect some of those to be consolidated. But we're going to be demanding quick action from the federal court. If the order is consistent with what we've seen in the draft, there's not much for the court to evaluate in deciding whether or not to relinquish the injunctions.
"The reality is they were based upon Roe's interpretation of the federal constitution. Alabama has been very specific with the adoption of an amendment to our constitution that says nothing in our lengthy constitution can be construed to grant a right for a woman to get an abortion. And so, we think it's abundantly clear at that point in time if the opinion comes out like we believe it will, for the court to be able to lift those injunctions if Alabama's public policy were put in place."
Marshall is being challenged in the May 24 primary election by Harry Still III, a Baldwin County attorney.
The winner will face Democrat Wendell Major in the Nov. 8 general election.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
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