The U.S. Justice Department’s request that the Supreme Court consider sanctions against lawyers who advocated for an immigrant teenager at the center of an abortion case has raised questions about the government’s motivation and threatened to jeopardize the reputation of the solicitor’s office before the justices.

Noel Francisco, the solicitor general, on Nov. 3 asked the justices to vacate an unsigned Washington federal appeals court ruling that said U.S. health and immigration officials could no longer block an undocumented teenager in Texas from having an abortion.

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