NEW ORLEANS, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Supreme Court has rejected a request by Attorney General Jeff Landry to lift a restraining order temporarily blocking the enforcement of Louisiana’s abortion trigger laws.
Orleans Parish District Court granted the temporary restraining order last week in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of June Medical Services, which operates an abortion clinic in Shreveport. The suit challenges the abortion laws that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, leaving the decision up to states on whether to ban abortions.
In the original request for the TRO, CRR called the trigger laws “unconstitutionally vague.”
Landry on Saturday asked the state’s highest court to dissolve the TRO, claiming the laws are “clear to people of ordinary intelligence what is being proscribed, which is enough to survive challenges regarding unconstitutional vagueness.”
In its 4-2 ruling Wednesday, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied Landry’s request to summarily issue a stay on the preliminary injunction before a hearing on the matter set for Friday, July 8.
Associate Justices Scott J. Crichton (Second District), Jefferson D. Hughes III (Fifth District), James T. Genovese (Third District), and Piper D. Griffin (Seventh District) were in the majority on the ruling declining to get involved “at this preliminary stage.”
“This application is procedurally premature,” Hughes wrote in his concurring opinion. “Applicant should first seek relief in the trial court and court of appeal. This application does not reach the merits.”
Associate Justices William J. Crain (First District) and Jay B. McCallum (Fourth District) said they would have granted the stay, arguing there is reason to review whether the TRO was appropriate to grant.
McCallum wrote that plaintiffs hadn’t shown that enforcing the laws before the case could be heard would cause “immediate irreparable injury,” so the hold should be dissolved.
“The plaintiffs have asserted that they, as doctors, will suffer irreparable harm if the ‘triggering’ statutes that prohibit abortions go into effect,” Crain wrote. “The contrasting interest is that alleged life will be terminated if the prohibitory statutes do not go into effect. While whether these doctors will suffer irreparable harm by being prohibited from performing abortions is debatable, terminating alleged life during the period of the temporary restraining order is irreparable.”
Chief Justice John L. Weimer (Sixth District) recused himself due to his own current litigation in Federal Court over an order blocking his ability to run for re-election this fall in connection with a lawsuit filed by the NAACP over redistricting. Landry opposes Weimer’s position in that case.
Wednesday’s ruling means the temporary block on the trigger laws will remain at least until Friday’s hearing.
Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted, “Louisiana Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable. Our Legislature fulfilled their constitutional duties, and now the Judiciary must. It is disappointing that time is not immediate.”
“The Louisiana Supreme Court let Louisiana citizens down by not decisively defending our laws from pro-abortion delay tactics,” Louisiana Right to Life said in a statement released following the ruling.”
“We look forward to the preliminary injunction hearing on Friday” in district court, said Joanna Wright, an attorney for the north Louisiana abortion clinic that filed the suit, along with others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.