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Criminal Law Case Report - Essay Example

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Summary
This report addresses criminal abortion laws in Texas and in Georgia. The Texas abortion laws date back to 1854 and they made it a criminal act to "procure an abortion" or to attempt an abortion. An exception was provided when a physician declared that an abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother…
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Criminal Law Case Report

Download file to see previous pages... She therefore initiated a legal action in order to challenge the constitutionality of the criminal abortion laws in Texas.
There were additional plaintiffs, however, the facts were quite different than those of Roe. In particular, these plaintiffs were not pregnant and they did not present the same sense of urgency and relevance as existed in the case of Roe. The United State Supreme Court dismissed these plaintiffs because they lacked legal "standing" and because the issues in their cases were not yet decidable or "justiceable." This report, consequently, will focus on the specifics and the legal merits of the case involving Roe. The main questions presented are whether the Texas criminal abortion laws violate certain constitutional principles and provisions.
Roe, a resident of Dallas, Texas, initiated this lawsuit in a federal court. The defendant was the District Attorney of the county in which she resided. She didn't sue for money; instead she requested that the federal court issue a declaratory judgment stating that the criminal abortion laws violated the federal constitution and she further requested that the federal court issue an injunction to prohibit the District Attorney from enforcing the criminal abortion statutes. ...
Roe was successful as the federal trial court found that the ninth and fourteenth amendments did, in fact, extend to women a "fundamental right" to decide whether or not to have children. The federal court further decided that the Texas criminal abortion laws were "unconstitutionally vague" and that Roe was entitled to a declaratory judgment. A difficulty, however, was that because the criminal abortion laws were declared void, the injunctive relief requested by Roe was dismissed. Neither party was satisfied. Roe appealed from the rejection of her request for injunctive relief and the District Attorney appealed from the declaration that the criminal abortion laws were unconstitutional and therefore void.
Traditionally, cases are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. In this case, by contrast, a "protective appeal" was made to the 5th Circuit and also directly to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court noted some awkwardness with the skipping of the intermediate appellate court, but at the same time noted that it had discretion to review the appeals. Therefore, the Supreme Court proceeded to review the case on its merits.
Legal Discussion: The United States Supreme Court
Justice Blackmun was compelled to address a number of preliminary issues prior to addressing the constitutionality of the Texas criminal abortion laws. There was a suggestion that Roe did not have legal standing to bring this case because she was not pregnant at certain times during the course of the litigation. The Supreme Court dismissed these arguments by stating that pregnancy is by its very nature a limited condition and that the legal issues were of sufficient important to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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