Home Christian News High Court Permits Kentucky AG To Defend Abortion Ban

High Court Permits Kentucky AG To Defend Abortion Ban

In writing for the high court’s majority, Associate Justice Samuel Alito cited a previous opinion by the justices in saying each state “clearly has a legitimate interest in the continued enforceability of its own statutes.” Alito wrote, “This means that a State’s opportunity to defend its laws in federal court should not be lightly cut off.”

Such respect for a state’s sovereignty “must also take into account the authority of a State to structure its executive branch in a way that empowers multiple officials to defend its sovereign interests in federal court,” he wrote, again referencing a past decision by the high court.

Eric Friedlander, the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, shared with Cameron, in his role as attorney general, the authority to defend the constitutionality of the Human Rights of Unborn Children Act, Alito wrote. “The Sixth Circuit panel failed to account for the strength of the Kentucky attorney general’s interest in taking up the defense of [the law] when the secretary for Health and Family Services elected to acquiesce.”

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A federal court struck down the abortion ban, and a divided, three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court upheld the lower-court ruling. After those decisions, Friedlander, appointed by new Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in late 2019 as the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, decided not to defend the law any further.

Two days after becoming aware Friedlander would not continue to defend the law, Cameron, a Republican elected in 2019, sought to intervene, asking the full appeals court to reconsider the decision. When the Sixth Circuit panel denied his request, Cameron asked for a ruling from the Supreme Court.

The case is Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center. The Supreme Court’s opinion in the case is available here.

This article originally appeared at Baptist Press.