UPDATE, 11/22, 4:45pm: NEW: Judge Stops Brnovich Motion To Dismiss ACLU Challenge To Arizona's Anti-Abortion "Personhood Provision" (READ Order)
In the closely-watched challenge to Arizona's latest anti-abortion law, a judge this afternoon ruled against Attorney General Mark Brnovich's effort to throw out the ACLU's effort to stop the so-called "personhood" provision. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes ruled in September that that provision could go into effect on time and the ACLU appealed to the Ninth Circuit. (Rayes also ruled against the State's ban on abortions due to genetic abnormalities, and Brnovich appealed that.)
Rayes noted today that the State's Motion to Dismiss and ACLU's appeal "pose the same fundamental question (albeit in different procedural postures): does Webster foreclose Plaintiffs’ facial challenge to the Interpretation Policy?" Therefore, it would be a waste of resources for him to consider the same question the 9th Circuit is considering.
Rayes also said the State's argument that it was a waste for District Court litigation to proceed while the appeal is pending does not make sense because the challenge to the personhood provision is more of a legal argument that will not require much factual discovery. "Though a stay will delay consideration of Defendants’ legal arguments, that delay will be more of an inconvenience than meaningful prejudice."
Meanwhile, in the Ninth Circuit proceeding, 17 states submitted an amicus brief supporting Arizona's law. And, Judge Rayes denied an effort by a local nonprofit named Sharing Down Syndrome to intervene and co-defend the law with the state. The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom was behind the effort, and Judge Rayes ruled the group could simply share its important information with the Attorney General's Office.
Original article, 10/28: UPDATE: Brnovich Moves To Dismiss ACLU Challenge To "Personhood" Provision, ACLU Moves To Stop That MTD (READ Filings)
Last week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the District Court to dismiss the ACLU/NCJW challenge to the new "personhood" provision in Arizona's anti-abortion law. This afternoon, the ACLU/NCJW struck back, telling the court that the AG's motion is premature because of the appeals already filed with the 9th Circuit.
Arizona's Law has been reporting on the Isaacson v Brnovich case. Both sides appealed portions of Judge Douglas Rayes' September ruling, in which he permitted the "personhood" provision to go into effect while stopping the ban on abortions due to genetic abnormalities.
The briefing on the cross-appeals will go through December. However, Brnovich asked both the 9th Circuit and Judge Rayes to permit both parts of the law to go into effect pending appeal. Judge Rayes ripped that inconsistency, and the 9th Circuit has given the parties until next week (Nov. 3) to brief the stay request.
The plaintiffs today suggested that Brnovich's Motion to Dismiss the challenge to the personhood provision is wasteful. "To prevent the parties and this Court from wasting time and resources briefing and considering questions that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion could clarify, and to eliminate the risk of inconsistent rulings between this Court and the Ninth Circuit, this Court should stay briefing and consideration of Defendants’ Motion."
This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives as a "pro-choice" candidate.
"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet.