ADDED ON: 09/11/2021

Could Texas abortion ban strategy be double-edged sword?

9/11/21 | ABC News

The unusual legal strategy used to ban most abortions in Texas is already increasingly being employed in Republican-led states to target pornography, LGBT rights and other hot-button cultural issues. While private residents filing lawsuits is a fixture of some arenas like environmental law, some warn that expanding it and applying it to new areas could have a boomerang effect if Democrats were to use it on issues like gun control. When Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Department of Justice would sue over the Texas law, he said it could become a model “for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and protections.” He worried about the “damage that would be done to our society if states were allowed to implement laws and empower any private individual to infringe on another’s constitutional rights.” The concept has already popped up in other states, including on issues like abortion where courts have sided against laws backed by conservatives. In Missouri, a new law lets people sue local police departments who enforce federal gun laws. In Kansas, residents can go to court to challenge mask mandates and limits on public gatherings, and in Ohio people can sue over any action taken in response to an emergency. It’s also an enforcement mechanism on laws restricting transgender students’ bathroom use in Tennessee and their sports team participation in Florida. “These laws are deliberately engineered to avoid challenge in federal court,” Jessica Clarke, a Vanderbilt University law professor who specializes in anti-discrimination law, said about the Tennessee and Florida measures.


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