We take it that Dahlia Lithwick over at Slate would generally not approve of District Court judges issuing “rebukes” to the SCOTUS. But she loves this one.
We at LoS are quite struck by this passage:
In order to block the law, [District Court Judge] Pitman crafted an injunction to “halt existing S.B. lawsuits and prevent new suits from being maintained by the state judiciary.” He forbade state judges and clerks from “accepting or docketing” these cases, and, for good measure, barred “private individuals who act on behalf of the state” from filing them. Finally, he ordered Texas to “publish this preliminary injunction on all of its public-facing court websites with a visible, easy-to-understand instruction to the public that S.B. 8 lawsuits will not be accepted by Texas courts.”
When you are being “meticulous” you “craft” injunctions, because you are being so, so careful to follow “the law”.
Lithwick can’t really believe this drivel.
Judge Pitman is actually enjoining state court judges from doing their jobs under state law.
Will the SCOTUS sign off on this sweeping assertion of the power of federal courts over state courts?
If this were a habeas case, the decision would have already been reversed. But habeas cases are about some poor and likely innocent schmuck who is slated (no pun intended) to be executed, or is rotting away in some state prison. No one cares about that, certainly not our Very Important federal judges who have other more Very Important matters to attend to.
Again, as we have pointed out before (and we have actually re-read that one recently with a certain amount of surprise – and yet satisfaction – that it seems to say what it says pretty well), there is only one area of the law where the federal courts, and the SCOTUS in particular, have any “federalism” concerns: habeas corpus. Because that’s the little guy against the big guy and we crush the little guy, who is constantly wasting our time. We like Big, Important Ideological Questions like Abortion because they Matter in some Hegelian World-Historical sense, whereas the plight of the innocent imprisoned or executed are lesser concerns consigned to lesser levels of government, whose job it is to return, again and again, to the Augean Stables.
Judge Pitman’s decision is one part lawlessness and two parts effete snobbery. And Slate applauds.