Tuesday, July 01, 2003

E.D. Va. judge enjoins new Virginia abortion statute, amid procedural maneuvers

Judge Richard Williams of the E.D. Va. entered a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the new Virginia abortion statute, on the same day it took effect, according to this AP report, which is worth considering at some length.

The story says that the lawyers from the Attorney General's office filed a motion to have the case reassigned, after it went to Judge Robert Payne because plaintiffs had indicated that he presided over a similar case. On reassignment, the case went to Judge Williams, who was not convinced that the Commonwealth needed the amount of time requested to prepare for trial. The article quoted Judge Williams as saying ""I don't know why you need 120 days for a no-brain case such as this," but he proceeded to set the hearing date for November 4.

One vulnerability of the new law, as pointed out in the article, is that it "does not include an exception to protect the mother's health," which may be a requirement under case law from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The article notes that one of the lawyers arguing for the Commonwealth as a "special assistant attorney general" was Ed McNelis, who was in my class at law school, where he headed up a band called the Wailing Cats.

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