AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Six SCOTUS Justices Recuse Themselves From Frivolous Texas Abortion Case That Named Them as Defendants

There was a dose of intrigue this week in the U.S. Supreme Court when two-thirds of the justices stepped away from a case brought before them. All six were the conservatives on the bench, and the reason behind this action concerns a case brought against a variety of defendants in a Texas case, regarding the repeal of Roe vs. Wade.

A reason for the recusals was not given, but it becomes evident pretty quickly when you read the details of the case. The suit was brought by a New Jersey resident, Mac Truong, as a means of targeting the Texas Heartbeat Act. The claim in the case is that this Texas state legislation is in violation of the Constitution, and that presents the first problem in this Hail Mary attempt. 

Since the highest court in the land determined that abortion law would be sent back to the states, the Texas law cannot be found in Constitutional conflict. After the initial case was set to be dismissed, Truong appealed to the 5th Circuit, and when his case failed there, it went before SCOTUS. The case is rather scattershot, with defendants named including the state’s Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, and former President Donald Trump. Others are also named, and this is where the case unraveled.

Also named as defendants are five of the Justices — Thomas, Kavanaugh, Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett — all of whom recused themselves, as well as Chief Justice Roberts. This means that the remaining three justices are not enough for a quorum to take place. This also means that the case reverts to the 5th District court decision, which was a resounding rebuke. 

In that dismissal, the court recognized the frivolousness of the case, with the unanimous decision citing:

Contrary to MacTruong’s assertion otherwise, the district court was entitled to dismiss the action sua sponte upon a finding that the action was frivolous.

This appears to be the proper result given the mocking tone taken in MacTruong’s filing. The ruling continued:

In  his  filings  in  this  court,  MacTruong  refers  to  the  defendants,  including the five named Supreme Court Justices, as murderers, misogynists, racists, and criminals; he asserts that the five named Supreme Court Justices, in   particular,   are traitors, cheaters, and  mass   sex   abusers   who   have committed  perjury  and  treason  and  who “deserve  the  death  penalty  or  at least  to  be  disbenched”;  and  he  labels  the  district  court  as  misogynist  and criminal and asserts that the court has an “anti-American attitude.” We will not allow liberal pleading rules and pro se practice to be a vehicle for presenting documents that are abusive. 

It must be nice to have both the disposable income and the free time to submit posturing court cases meant to make a statement with no merit nor real chance of having a legal impact. Clearly, this was little more than a grandstanding effort, and the plaintiff’s decision to list off the justices as defendants ultimately became the case’s undoing.

This is not the end, however. It is said Mac Truong has other active cases that revolve around this same issue. We can expect similar resolutions–although, probably with less fanfare.

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