By Dave Andrusko
The abortion industry won one and lost one in the court battle over Florida’s new abortion law which bans abortion after 15 weeks.
“Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper last week issued a temporary injunction to block the law, finding that it violated the Florida Constitution,” CBS Miami reported. “But the state appealed, which, under court rules, triggered an automatic stay of the injunction.”
Abortion clinics and a physician then asked Judge Cooper to vacate the stay. Cooper on Tuesday denied that request. “That effectively means the injunction remains on hold and that the 15-week restriction will remain in effect at least until the 1st District Court of Appeal — or possibly the Florida Supreme Court — rules on the state’s appeal,” according to CBS Miami.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office had objected to vacating the stay, reported Jim Saunders for News Service of Florida, “ in part saying in a court filing that the plaintiffs had not ‘shown a likelihood of success on the merits’ of their arguments in the case. Also, the filing cited the Florida Supreme Court’s ‘preference for preserving legislative enactments pending appeal even when a trial court has found them invalid.’”
Judge Cooper cited the “very high burden” that the 1st District Court of Appeal has set for vacating stays while appeals are pending.” He wrote that “courts are obliged to follow binding precedent even if they might wish to decide the case differently” and pointed to direction from the appeals court that automatic stays may only be vacated “under the most compelling circumstances.”
The state has asked that the case “be fast-tracked to the Florida Supreme Court, bypassing a decision by the appeals court,” Saunders wrote. “The plaintiffs have objected to such a move.”
This was the same judge who originally concluded the new law “likely violates the Privacy Clause of the Florida Constitution.”
Judge Cooper summed up his order by staying that the state’s arguments “do not overcome the public interest in preventing a likely violation of Floridians’ constitutional rights.”