When judges start an opinion with the plea that their only job is to apply the Constitution, they often don’t. When the district court in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott concluded that Texas’ health and safety regulations of chemical abortions were not a “substantial obstacle” to a safe abortion, but still invalidated them, it failed to apply the relevant standard of review from the U.S. Supreme Court’s controlling decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, issued in 2007. Thus, Abbott is ripe for reversal. But although the most obvious, that was only one of several mistakes.
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