Texas now a "small Soviet republic" after abortion bill, says MSNBC's Reid

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

And the first response from Texans to this hyperventilated take will be … who’re you calling “small’? The new law on abortion that allows all Texans standing to sue abortion providers and facilitators has turned the Lone Star State into the Red Star Republic, MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid declared yesterday on Twitter.

Great to see complex public policy issues discussed with seriousness, restraint, and intellectual rigor, eh?

Since when have progressives considered civil suits the analogue of Sovietism? Progressives sue people all the time in attempts to get their unpopular agenda items imposed by courts when unable to succeed in passing them through legislatures. They sue private citizens, private-sector businesses, and governments rather continuously as a means to punish those who won’t cooperate with their agenda. In many of those cases, progressives seek to usurp private-property rights of individuals for their own political gain. Environmental activists have tied up development and economic growth for decades, in some cases handicapping their own agenda, such as lawsuits to stop mining of rare-earth elements necessary for “green energy” programs. Progressive administrations work hand in hand with activists on these suits to get their own agenda imposed by courts, too.

Besides, lawsuits aren’t “snitching.” Reid seems a bit confused on this point, which is pretty much par for the course with Reid.

Anyway, here in the Red Star — er, Lone Star State, it remains to be seen just how well this law holds up. The legislature may have broadened standing well past any practical standard and that has some risks of its own. If the Supreme Court holds up this kind of standing for personal lawsuits on behalf of people who have not suffered any direct harm, progressive legislatures may well turn the tables and start opening up standing for personal lawsuits for their own hobby-horse issues. Can anyone sue a coal mine operator over climate change? How about suing rich people to gain access to their tax returns on the basis of inequality? In politics just as in physics, any action can and usually does generate an opposite reaction, and sometimes it’s not just equal but far surpasses the action.

That’s why I am still a bit skeptical that federal courts, including the Supreme Court, will uphold this law when it finally gets a challenge that addresses the standing issue. The majority appeared to wink in this direction yesterday when it implied a lack of ripeness in this challenge. When the first such lawsuit gets filed, the challenge on this point will be immediate and likely effective.

Of course, an abortion provider will have to conduct an abortion in Texas to start that process. So far, they’re not testing the waters. The law is having that much of the effect intended, at least for now. That’s not evidence of Sovietism, but an example of incentives and response.