Meet The Legal Strategist Who Devised The Texas Abortion Law’s Most Unique Provision

It was former Texas solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell’s idea to allow private citizens to sue those who assist women in obtaining an abortion.

By Wells Dunbar & Alexandra HartSeptember 7, 2021 2:55 pm,

Texas’ near total ban on abortion relies on a new kind of enforcement: lawsuits from private citizens, not the state. Such suits can be filed against anyone involved in the procedure, from the patient to the doctor, potentially even the person who drives a patient to the clinic. Opting not to stop the new law after an emergency request to do so, Tte Supreme Court cited what it called the complex and novel procedural questions it posed. All of this is by design, Mimi Swartz writes for Texas Monthly in a new piece titled “Meet the Legal Strategist Behind the Texas Abortion Ban.”

“His name is Jonathan F. Mitchell,” Swartz told the Standard. “We’re looking at somebody who has really some of the best education credentials in the country. He’s taught at Stanford. He’s a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.”

Mitchell is the former Texas solicitor general, and is behind the new law, Swartz said, working with anti-abortion groups to come up with a new way around Roe V. Wade. 

“When (anti-abortion groups) have a legal problem, as they have now, this is sort of a new way to stop abortions, which is allowing private citizens to sue other private citizens who get them instead of getting the government involved,” Swartz said. “And I think it took a pretty creative legal mind to come up with this idea.”

However, while the Supreme Court didn’t stop the law from going into effect, it has not ruled on whether it is constitutional or not. So this likely isn’t the end of the story, Swartz said.

People don’t generally like vigilante justice. And that’s what this law encourages,” Swartz said. “I think what’s interesting now is that the opposition is saying, ‘Well, now you know what’s going to happen. Are people in blue states going to start reporting people for having guns and using their guns?’”

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