This week, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief in Whole Women’s Health v. Austin Reeve Jackson, a case before the Supreme Court regarding Texas’s unconstitutional Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8), which seeks to flout Supreme Court precedent and deny the right to abortion care to people in Texas. The brief emphasizes the existential danger S.B. 8’s unusual enforcement mechanism, which is designed to circumvent judicial review by federal courts, poses to the rule of law in our country.
LDF has historically been at the forefront of efforts to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of equality—including through successfully arguing the landmark desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education (1954)—and advocates for the right of all people to have access to safe abortion care. The brief references this history to highlight the established precedent of the Court stepping in when states attempt to deny federal rights or evade federal decrees, including through permitting injunctive relief against state officials when necessary. The brief additionally points out that when states attempted to evade Brown v. Board of Education, the Court ruled that no matter how “evasive,” or “ingenious” the method, states cannot, directly or indirectly, nullify constitutional rights.
“The outcome of this case will define the future of our constitutional democracy,” said Sam Spital, LDF’s Director of Litigation. “Absent the Supreme Court’s intervention, S.B. 8’s model for openly defying precedent set by the highest court in our land will metastasize—and not just with respect to abortion rights. Many of our constitutional rights will be in grave danger.”
“The Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the Civil Rights Act, makes it clear that our federal courts are the key forum for the vindication of federal constitutional rights,” said Mahogane Reed, LDF John Payton Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy Fellow. “But the State of Texas is seeking to subvert the core purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment to deny citizens their constitutional right to abortion care. The Supreme Court must rule decisively and unequivocally in the face of this undeniable threat to our rule of law, our constitution, and our democracy.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.