TOP LEGAL NEWS OF THE WEEK

ABA files Supreme Court briefs in abortion, gun cases

The American Bar Association has filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in two closely watched cases related to a woman’s right to abortions and a state’s authority to regulate concealed firearms in public.

The ABA filed amicus briefs in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen.

The ABA filed amicus briefs in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen.

On Sept. 20, the ABA urged the justices to promote the rule of law by upholding Roe v. Wade and its subsequent line of decisions, citing nearly a half century of legal precedent. The brief was filed in opposition to a Mississippi law that would effectively overturn the landmark 1973 Roe decision by banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, rather than at fetal viability.

The ABA brief said the abortion case “stands at the intersection of two principles of great importance to the ABA.” The first, it notes, is advancing the rule of law through adherence to precedent. The second cites one of the ABA’s four chief goals in noting that the association is “committed to equality, including gender and racial equality.”

In a statement, ABA President Reginald Turner said, “The ABA opposes any law that prevents access to a legal abortion and supports the rights of women to choose to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability or to protect the life or health of the mother.”

In the firearms case out of New York, the ABA brief filed on Sept. 21, asks the Supreme Court to affirm its prior decisions allowing states to tailor firearm regulations to local conditions and needs under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The case marks the first major gun case since the court decided District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008.

In that decision, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority to say that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use firearms for traditionally lawful purposes. But Scalia’s opinion did not invalidate regulations on carrying concealed firearms, which the ABA brief noted is “an essential tool states have used for centuries to stem gun violence.” That “tool,” the ABA added, allows jurisdictions to develop diverse, flexible approaches to the regulation of concealed weapons to address public safety concerns and to protect victims of domestic violence.
 
Oral argument in the New York gun case is set for Nov. 3 and in the Mississippi abortion case for Dec. 1.

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