Thursday, June 30, 2022

Special Chancellor Appointed to Abortion Case

 The Mississippi Supreme Court issued the following statement.

THIS MATTER is before the Court upon request by the Judges for the Chancery Court of Hinds County, Mississippi, First Judicial District, for the appointment of a Special Judge to preside over the proceedings in the above numbered and styled cause, which is presently pending in the Chancery Court of Hinds County, Mississippi. This request is necessitated by the recusal of the Judges for said Court by virtue of an Order of Recusal executed in said case on June 28, 2022.

Having fully considered the matter, the Court finds that the request is proper pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. Section 9-1-105.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Honorable Debbra K. Halford, Judge of and for the Fourth Chancery Court District, be, and she is, hereby specially appointed Special Judge to preside and conduct proceedings in the above referenced case pursuant to and by the authority of Mississippi Code Ann. Section 9-1-105; which states that the Chief Justice may, with the advice and consent of a majority of the Justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court, appoint a Special Judge.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court transmit copies of this order to the Honorable Debbra K. Halford, Special Judge, the Honorable J. Dewayne Thomas, the Honorable Crystal Wise Martin, the Honorable Denise Owens, and the Honorable Tiffany Piazza Grove, Judges for the Chancery Court of Hinds County, and, to the Clerk of the Chancery Court of Hinds County, who is directed to file this Order and deliver copies to all counsel of record in said case and to parties not represented by counsel.

Kingfish note: Chancellor Patricia Wise adjudicated Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice but apparently none of the Hinds County Chancellors want to step up to the plate. 



Anonymous said...

Judge Halford will not put up with any BS from counsel or their clients. I expect this case will move right along.

Anonymous said...

Somebody's got to put their name on the Order confirming abortion in Mississippi so that it can be appealed to the Supreme Court and then
reversed. That's the gig. Somebody's got to do it.

Anonymous said...

I hope Deddie Halford gets paid a lot to perfrom her court duties, because she just got a bucket of shit dumped into her lap. Please excuse me, I have no idea if Kingfish allows use of the word shit, but is the best way I know of to describe this case.

Anonymous said...

Well if she can read she has to agree with the 1998 decision and uphold abortion rights in MS.

Watch the appellate courts….they cannot wait to parrot the Supreme Court and have their names emblazoned in lights for all of a sudden….reversing a case clearly on point…..

What this effectively does to the practice of law is lawyers will now be able to simply tell a court a case they don’t like is not good law…..yes case x says that but it will be overruled so it’s bad law and I win

Watch ….should be fun

Perry Mason said...

7:00 am
That is not a new legal strategy!
Lawyers have been making that argument since there were cases and lawyers!
Find something else to complain about.

Krusatyr said...

Can Judge Halford deem the 1998 ruling unsupported by the MS and US Constitution and 'return' it to the state legislature, knowing such judgment will be appealed? When USSC overturned RVW, it returned it to the people and the states, meaning state legislatures not state supreme courts, yes?

Anonymous said...

"meaning state legislatures not state supreme courts, yes?"

In an ideal world, yes. But since this isn't an ideal world, no. The US Supreme Court doesn't advise on hypothetical statutes, it rules on that which it has accepted and is before it. While appeal in Mississippi is a matter of right but certiorari to SCOTUS is not. While there are no absolutes, it is a safe assumption that it wouldn't review a state law case that generally conforms to an opinion it just released or was well within much less "controversial" precedent.

For example, if a legislature passed a law that said only white/black/purple men/women property owners from age 38 to 41 were allowed to vote, and that state's supreme court ruled that the state constitution prevented any law that infringed upon the right of any constitutionally-unrestricted (both MS and US, like certain felons) citizen from age 18 up to vote. the SCOTUS isn't going to get involved. Even if the Federal courts were to get involved in this case, there isn't much for them to say ("Erie guess," etc.) or do. The MSSC spoke clearly on the matter. According to the MS Constitution, the MSSC is the final word on interpretation so until it reinterprets or there is an amendment, abortion (whatever that means - see below) is a right protected from infringement in Mississippi.

Dobbs didn't say states couldn't "regulate" "abortion." In fact, it said the exact opposite: "The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. ... We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives." In MS, the supreme court justices are elected and "regulating" is not "prohibiting." A state could allow any and all abortions but simply issue a regulation that a doctor be present or prohibit "choice" abortions altogether. But once the MSSC has stated that "abortion" is a right, prohibition is off the table and regulations must be such so as not to infringe upon that right, with the MSSC being the final word on "infringement," again, until it overrules itself or an amendment is passed.

One twist to this is going to be what does "abortion" mean in the context of Fordice. It uses ill-defined terms that are subject to some degree of reasonable and objective medical interpretation. From a purely medical perspective, abortion restrictions were on the more-restrictive end rather than the less-restrictive already. This could easily play out such that abortion will be less restricted in MS than pre-Dobbs.

Anonymous said...

State constitution supersedes state statute. If the state legislature passes a law the violates the state constitution, the appellate courts' job is to interpret it in such a way that it does not violate the statute, or strike it down.

The lower courts are obligated to apply the law as-is. They cannot overrule binding precedent.

For someone as opinionated at 12:01, I really thought he would have a better grasp of how government is supposed to work.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the ensuing hilarity if Jess Dickinson was assigned this case! Alas...

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