Whole Woman’s Health v. Smith

Abortion clinic challenges Texas law that regulates the disposal of fetal remains, prohibits their being dumped in the trash or sewer. In discovery, clinic demands documents from the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding any communication it had with Texas officials about the passage of the law and internal documents relating to abortion. Trial court orders the documents produced on an unusually expedited schedule. Fifth Circuit: Which raises a slew of First Amendment issues (free exercise, establishment clause, free speech, association, and petition claims), but we’ll leave those to the side for now and resolve this based on the burden to the bishops (who aren’t a party to the case). Reversed (over a vigorous dissent and troubled concurrence).

Tags: 2018, Abortion, Establishment Clause, Fifth Circuit, First Amendment, Free Exercise Clause, Free Speech, Freedom of Association, Right to Petition

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