Garland Insists DOJ Is Not 'Going Around the Supreme Court' by Suing Idaho Over Abortion Law


The Justice Department is bringing a lawsuit against Idaho over its near-total ban on abortions, claiming the restrictions violate federal law.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday after announcing the decision, Attorney General Merrick Garland insisted that the lawsuit is not designed to be a way to “go around” the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“What’s the point of the Supreme Court if DOJ is going to go around and do these kinds of things?”

Garland responded with an apparent sarcastic tone, “I’m not sure what you mean by what’s the point of the Supreme Court. I can give you a long discussion on the point of the Supreme Court.”

The reporter suggested that the lawsuit is “going around” the high court.

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However, Garland pushed back as he said, “This is not in any way going around the Supreme Court.”

“The Supreme Court said that each state can make its own decisions with respect to abortion,” he continued. “But so too can the federal government. Nothing that the Supreme Court said said that the statutes passed by Congress — such as EMTALA — are in any way invalid. It’s quite the opposite. The Supreme Court left it to the people’s representatives.”

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Finally, Garland said, “EMTALA was a decision made by the Congress of the United States. The supremacy clause is a decision made in the Constitution of the United States. Federal law invalidates state laws that are in direct contradiction.”

“This has really nothing to do with anything the Supreme Court said, and certainly nothing to do with going around the Supreme Court,” he added.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, as IJR reported. The opinion states, “Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion.”

“Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” it added.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit is over Idaho’s law which implements a near-total ban on abortion.

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Idaho’s law does provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest, and when doctors believe the life of the woman is at risk. Additionally, it excludes cases when it is believed a woman would harm herself if she did not receive an abortion.

The lawsuit alleges Idaho’s restrictions violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

As NBC News notes, EMTALA requires that “every hospital in the U.S. that receives Medicare funds must provide ‘necessary stabilizing treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency.'”

The outlet notes that in some circumstances, abortion is considered a “stabilizing treatment.”

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