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Texas Abortion, NYC Stop-and-Frisk Rulings Blocked

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Rulings against Texas' abortion law and New York City's stop-and-frisk policies were blocked by two separate federal appeals courts on Thursday.

In the Texas case, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling preventing a Texas law from requiring abortion providers to have "admitting privileges" at local hospitals. In the New York case, which chastised the NYPD for unconstitutional search and arrest practices, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the ruling judge was biased.

What do these appellate decisions mean for Texans and New Yorkers?

Texas Abortion Law Reinstated, for Now

According to USA Today, the 5th Circuit decided to overturn a federal district court's ruling striking the requirement that abortion providers have "admitting privileges" at nearby hospitals. The reinstated law is expected to go into effect on Friday.

The controversial provision is part of a large set of new abortion laws, passed amidst great controversy and dramatic filibustering in the Texas Senate. Part of this law was struck down Monday by a federal district court, ruling that the admitting privileges requirement had no rational basis and presented an undue burden on a woman's right to an abortion.

After the case was decided, the state of Texas filed an emergency appeal with the 5th Circuit, asking the court to stay the decision until the case could be appealed.

In blocking the lower court, the 5th Circuit argued that the law was likely constitutional, and that Texas did have a rational interest in regulating the medical profession. The court also felt there was little to no evidence that the law would present a "substantial obstacle" to Texas women obtaining abortions.

Stop-and-Frisk Judge Removed

In the New York case, the 2nd Circuit criticized trial Judge Shira Scheindlin for giving "a series of media interviews and public statements" that made her appear to favor one side over the other.

Judge Scheindlin's decision in August found that the NYPD's practice of "stop-and-frisk" was not only violated the Fourth Amendment, but also violated equal protection based on race.

Mayor Bloomberg vowed to appeal the decision, and true to his word, the 2nd Circuit heard the appeal, stayed Judge Scheindlin's order, and ordered her removed from the case.

The decision did not reverse Judge Scheindlin's ruling on stop-and-frisk, it only delayed its effect. According to Bloomberg, these stop-and-frisk policies have become a centerpiece of the NYC mayoral campaign, which may explain the 2nd Circuit's worries about bias.

Both cases remain to be decided by the 5th and 2nd Circuits in the coming months.

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