Ruth Conniff

Legislators Can’t Intervene in Abortion Case, Court Says

Leaves Attorney General Kaul to defend state in Planned Parenthood challenge to GOP-passed abortion law.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Nov 11th, 2019 11:00 am
Josh Kaul. Photo courtesy of the State of Wisconsin.

Josh Kaul. Photo courtesy of the State of Wisconsin.

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld U.S. District Court Judge William Conley’s decision to deny intervention by the Wisconsin Legislature in a case brought against the state by Planned Parenthood.

The decision is a setback for the GOP-controlled legislature, which argued that a law it passed during the lame duck session after Gov. Tony Evers was elected gave it the right to intervene with its own lawyers in any court to defend state statutes, even when the attorney general was already defending the statute.

In January, Planned Parenthood challenged Wisconsin laws allowing only doctors to perform abortions and requiring women seeking abortions to see the same doctor on two separate visits.

Judge Conley ruled in April that legislative intervention would “needlessly complicate this case.”

The 7th Circuit’s decision upholding the decision leaves Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, to defend the state in court against Planned Parenthood.

All three of the judges on the 7th Circuit panel were appointed by Republican presidents and the decision was written by an appointee of President Donald Trump.

U.S. Circuit Judge Amy St. Eve wrote in her decision that “the Legislature’s motion to intervene as of right was appropriately denied because the Legislature did not demonstrate that the attorney general is an inadequate representative of the state’s interest absent a showing he is acting in bad faith or with gross negligence,” Courthouse News Service reports.

“The judge was not convinced by the Legislature’s mistrust of Kaul in defending the state’s interests in court based on the fact that he is a Democrat,” according to the Courthouse News Service report.

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.

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