How Much Could Anti-Abortion Law Cost Louisiana Taxpayers Now? His challengers want $ 9 million more | State policy

After months of talking behind closed doors to reach an agreement with the attorney general, doctors who successfully challenged an anti-abortion law in Louisiana have called on a federal judge to convict the Louisiana taxpayer who gave the victorious attorneys nearly $ 9 million to pay.

That’s another $ 2.5 million Louisiana taxpayers already hooked when Attorney General Jeff Landry, who represented the state, hired two private Washington, DC firms to handle what appears to be the largest abortion case has been described for a decade.

Doctors ask Baton Rouge District Judge John deGravelles to award their attorneys $ 8.4 million in fees and $ 246,929 in expenses. deGravelles, according to the court record, asked the state to respond to the winners’ demands and then he would decide how much he was owed June Medical Services, a case in which the US Supreme Court twice killed the law that required doctors performing the legal procedure to terminate the pregnancy to have licensing privileges in nearby hospitals.

“Louisiana has spent immense resources and tax dollars on this six year legal battle. Although that case was lost in the Supreme Court last summer, the state continued to litigate and squander even more tax dollars. The state is also still fighting flat out for other unconstitutional abortion restrictions. That time and money should be spent on real problems in Louisiana, like tackling the state’s maternal mortality crisis or the effects of the COVID pandemic, “said Julie Rikelman, senior litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City.

Rikelman represented the case before the US Supreme Court.

“It’s important to know that the majority of abortion patients in Louisiana are low-income blacks,” she added. “The restrictions the state defends will harm these communities more than anyone else. Low-income and people of color are already facing the greatest barriers to accessing health care in general, even more so during the pandemic. But rather than removing barriers to health care, the state is deliberately making it difficult for these communities to have access to abortion. “

Louisiana Attorney General Elizabeth Murrill, who represented the state on behalf of the US Supreme Court, said: “The negotiations have ended due to pending motions that needed to be resolved. At that point, they filed their fee claim, which we believe is excessive, and it is on trial. “

Behind closed doors, attorneys negotiate how much Louisiana taxpayers will pay to defend an anti-abortion law the US Supreme President …

The federal court records indicate that in addition to the legal fees, the judge was asked to effectively identify the doctors listed as John Doe 1, John Doe 2 on the court records.

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Murrill added that the Louisiana Department of Justice has a duty to defend the state’s laws. “One such law is the women-led, bipartisan Louisiana Act 620, a law that even the governor’s office was worth fighting for,” Murrill said.

Act 620, sponsored by Katrina Jackson, now a Democratic Senator from Monroe, received a total of 14 “no’s” in six separate legislative votes in 2014. Louisiana law was almost identical to a Texas law passed by the US Supreme Court in June 2016. The Supreme Court ruled that Texas law places restrictions on the provision of abortion services that ” constitute an unreasonable burden ”. The number of abortion clinics in Texas had dropped from 42 to 19.

When Louisiana law went into effect on February 15, 2016, two of the state’s six clinics were closed.

While other states like Alabama and Tennessee conceded that their identical licensing laws were unconstitutional following the Supreme Court ruling, then-newly elected Attorney General Landry said Louisiana’s law had enough differences to keep the fight going. “This appointment was the beginning of more than three years of additional appointment procedures,” argued the doctors.

The matter went to deGravelles’ trial, “with twenty-four testimony, extensive written discovery, and briefing on several motions in Limine (to determine what can be presented as evidence); Notification of a request for a partial summary judgment; and a six-day injunction hearing where the court heard live testimony from 12 witnesses and received testimony from eight witnesses about the filing denomination and 245 exhibits as evidence, ”argued the doctors.

Following the trial, Judge deGravelles spoke in April 2017, citing the Supreme Court decision in favor of abortion clinics and their doctors, stopping the state from enforcing the law.

Landry appealed to the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals, which deGravelles overturned with a 2-1 vote in September 2018. The majority found that Louisiana was essentially different when the state was smaller and women seeking an abortion didn’t have to travel as far as they did in Texas. The case ended up in the US Supreme Court.

A US Supreme Court split in 5-4 on June 29, 2020 ruled that, as it did in 2016 when it reviewed the almost identical Texas law, Louisiana’s requirement that doctors be liaison with a nearby hospital that The operability of the clinics is jeopardized and becomes an unnecessary hurdle for women who seek legal proceedings. Chief Justice John Roberts, who was among the dissenters in the Texas case, endorsed the majority in the Louisiana challenge, saying essentially that the Supreme Court had already ruled the matter. “The outcome in this case will be determined by our decision four years ago to invalidate a nearly identical Texan law,” wrote Roberts.

On August 6, 2020, the 5th district closed the case administratively. Federal law requires the loser to pay the winner’s legal fees.

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