Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Supreme Court of the United States
October 12, 2021, Argued; March 3, 2022, Decided
Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case concerns a state attorney general’s [*8] attempt to intervene in a federal appellate proceeding for the purpose of defending the constitutionality of a state law. The issue arose after a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a decision holding a Kentucky statute unconstitutional. The Kentucky official who had been defending the law decided not to seek any further review, but the Kentucky attorney general then moved to intervene for the purpose of taking up the defense. The panel denied that motion, but we granted review.
In April 2018, the Kentucky Legislature adopted House Bill 454 (HB 454), which regulates the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§311.787(1)-(2) (West 2021). EMW Women’s Surgical Center, a clinic that performs abortions, and two of its doctors filed this action in Federal District Court and sought to enjoin the enforcement of the new law. Their complaint named four defendants, and two of these, the attorney general and the cabinet secretary for Health and Family Services, played pivotal roles in the events that followed. The attorney general is a “[c]onstitutional State office[r]” who is independently elected and serves until a successor is elected and qualified. [*9] Ky. Const. §91. The secretary, on the other hand, is appointed by the Governor and serves at his pleasure. See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§11.065, 12.020, 63.080.
The plaintiffs agreed to the dismissal without prejudice of the claims against the attorney general (at that time Andrew Beshear) and one other defendant.1 In agreeing to the dismissal of these claims, the attorney general reserved “all rights, claims, and defenses that [might] be available to him” and “specifically reserve[d] all rights, claims, and defenses relating to whether he is a proper party in this action and in any appeals arising out of this action.” App. 28-30 (emphasis added). It was also stipulated “that any final judgment in this action concerning the constitutionality of HB 454 [would] be binding on the Office of the Attorney General, subject to any modification, reversal or vacation of the judgment on appeal.” Id., at 29-30 (emphasis added).
After the dismissal of these parties, the secretary remained in the case and conducted the defense of the challenged law.2 Following a bench trial, the District Court held that HB 454 unconstitutionally burdens a woman’s right to an abortion, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C. v. Meier, 373 F. Supp. 3d 807 (WD Ky. 2019), and it issued a permanent injunction against the law’s enforcement. The secretary then [*10] filed a notice of appeal. App. 19.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. LEXIS 1324 *
DANIEL CAMERON, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF KENTUCKY, PETITIONER v. EMW WOMEN’S SURGICAL CENTER, P. S. C., ET AL.
Notice: The pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Subsequent History: As Revised March 4, 2022.
Prior History: [*1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
EMW Women's Surgical Ctr., P.S.C. v. Friedlander, 831 Fed. Appx. 748, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19694, 2020 WL 6551717 (6th Cir. Ky., June 24, 2020)
Disposition: 831 Fed. Appx. 748, reversed and remanded.
attorney general, intervene, district court, court of appeals, parties, nonparty, motion to intervene, defending, en banc, elected, lawsuit, final judgment, state law, appeals, petition for rehearing, class member, claims-processing, timely-appeal, proceedings, third-party, abortion, agreeing, binding, notice, file a notice of appeal, state official, federal court, caption, reasons, filing of a notice of appeal
Civil Procedure, Parties, Intervention, Motions to Intervene, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Timing of Appeals, Notice of Appeal, Time Limitations, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Preservation for Review, Appeals, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, State & Territorial Governments, Claims By & Against, Legislatures, Judicial Officers, Judges, Discretionary Powers, Permissive Intervention