MSNBC’s Katyal: Supreme Court Is Deputizing ‘Private Vigilantes’ Against Woman

MSNBC contributor Neal Katyal said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Deadline” that the Supreme Court has essentially deputized private vigilantes by not sticking down the Texas anti-abortion law.

Katyal said, “The Supreme Court has greenlit the overruling of Roe v. Wade overnight. Abortion clinics are basically closed to most patients.”

He continued, “The five justices are saying, you can have this kind of sneak attack on Roe by by deputizing private vigilantes and basically sue people who help in procuring abortion even an Uber driver who drives a woman to get an abortion, they can be sued in any jurisdiction, in any part of Texas and face massive, huge fines. This is an end-run, a gutting of Roe versus Wade.”

Anchor Nicolle Wallace said, “What else does this open the gateway for? It seems if we’re going to deputize citizens, we’re heading down vigilante justice, a precarious moment for a body politic with insurrectionists hailed as heroes on the political right.”

Katyal said, “The whole point of the rule of law, Nicolle, is to prevent vigilante justice, to have a sense of rules, rights, and obligations that can’t be taken away by the lynch mob. We’re not going to let state officials enforce this. Just your neighbor or anyone down the street can just sue you if they think you had anything to do with an abortion. And the Supreme Court, five justices, notably not the Chief Justice, but, you know, the other Republican nominees on the court, all said, yeah, that’s fine.”

He continued, “Here is why that is such a crazy thing. The right is fine with it now but let’s say New York passes a law that says everyone who — anyone can sue anyone who has a gun even in their home, even for self-defense, something this Supreme Court said is protected by the Second Amendment. We can enable these lawsuits against gun owners and the alike. There’s no logical stopping point for this kind of madness, and it’s fundamentally antithetical to what our enterprise as lawyers is all about.”

Wallace said, “If we passed a law saying anyone who doesn’t get a COVID vaccine before going inside a restaurant or a mask in defiance of a mask mandate can be sued, would this Supreme Court hold that up?”

Katyal said, “I think the logic of the decision last night is absolutely.  Now there are questions would they be consistent with their prior principles and so on, but you can cut and paste. It’s a great point. You can cut and paste and apply it to your COVID situation and, yeah, we can have these kinds of vigilante lawsuits.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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