A federal appeals judge appointed by Bill Clinton lashed out at the other judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for agreeing to hear arguments on a Tennessee abortion law.
Judge Karn Moore already had rejected a request for a postponement of a district judge’s dismissal of the case.
Moore accused her colleagues of bringing disrepute on the court, contending the decision “lacks a principled basis and tarnishes this court’s reputation for impartiality and independence.”
She personally attacked one of the other judges, Amul Thapar, a Trump appointee.
“Judge Thapar disagreed [with the panel decision to refuse delay of the district judge’s dismissal],” she wrote. “So vehemently did he disagree that he called for ‘immediate correction’ of the stay order, urging appellants to seek initial hearing en banc.
“Appellants readily obliged, filing a petition for initial hearing en banc. By granting that petition, a majority of this court has sent a dubious message about its willingness to invoke that extraordinary – and extraordinarily disfavored – procedure in ideologically charged cases.”
She said it was now “sorrier times” when the full court didn’t want to wait for a panel decision to get a case wrong in order to correct it.
The state law, requiring a 48-hour waiting period for an abortion, was adopted in 2015.
Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the law unconstitutional, deeming the required wait “gratuitously demeaning.”
The state appealed, and Moore was part of a panel that rejected a request to delay Friedman’s decision. She then attacked others on the court.
The majority opinion of the court was a single statement, declaring the petition for initial hearing of the full court was granted.
But Moore unleashed pages of condemnation.
Citing the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the circuit’s internal “operating procedures,” she insisted a three-judge panel should have been given the case first.
She argued that the issue is only an abortion waiting-period law.
“This case does not involve an imminent, irreversible event, such as an impending election or execution, which has – still on rare occasion – served as an exceptional justification for skipping over a three-judge panel,” she wrote.
She said the full court is hearing the case apparently because of the “likelihood” that a three-judge panel would get it wrong.
“That prediction is a dangerous one,” she said. “The grant of initial hearing en banc in this case damages the reputation of this court, and the majority that has now granted initial hearing en banc is no less implicated by that damage than anyone else.”
She suggested “there are judges on this court who will always side with appellants on the issue of abortion and will upend standard practice to do so.”
Courthouse News reported Moore was on the panel that denied Tennessee’s petition for a stay of the lower court’s ruling pending the outcome of the appeal.
She said the state lawyers apparently disliked her opposition to their requests, along with that of another judge, so they appealed to the full court.
Abortionists oppose the waiting period, claiming it would increase the costs of accessing abortion.
Pro-abortion activists in state governments in Colorado, Illinois, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and a dozen other states sided with the abortionists.
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