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Supreme Court Pauses Abortion-Pill Case: What Next?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has temporarily stayed until Wednesday a Texas federal court order imposing restrictions on the distribution of the abortion drug mifepristone while they consider a request by the Biden administration to block the restrictions.

Brendan Pierson, writing for Reuters, discusses What Happens Next?

Whether or not the Supreme Court decides to stay Kacsmaryk’s order, it will not decide the merits of the case. Rather, the court will determine whether and how mifepristone can be distributed while the case is pending.

Whichever way the Supreme Court rules, it will send the case back to the 5th Circuit, where the FDA will pursue a full appeal of Kacsmaryk’s preliminary injunction. The agency and the anti-abortion groups will both have a chance to file briefs, and the case is scheduled to be argued before a three-judge panel on May 17.

That appeal process could last months. The losing party could petition for rehearing with all judges of the 5th Circuit, known as en banc rehearing, and ultimately petition the Supreme Court once again.

A final resolution could be months or years away. Once it does come, the losing side will again have the chance to appeal to the 5th Circuit and, eventually, the Supreme Court.