Stunt complete: Texas doctor sued over abortions -- by disbarred felon on home confinement

AP Photo/Eric Schultz

Every radio host knows this — if you do a bit, you gotta commit to the bit. Texas abortionist Alan Braid dared someone, anyone to sue him for continuing to perform abortions after the passage of SB8. It didn’t take long for someone to help Braid get back into court, but the “someone” will likely overshadow the activist abortionist:

A San Antonio doctor who wrote a Washington Post op-ed claiming that he had violated Texas’ six-week abortion ban now faces at least two lawsuits brought against him under the ban, both brought by plaintiffs who say they oppose the new law.

One lawsuit was filed Monday by Oscar Stilley, a former tax attorney in Arkansas who is serving a home confinement sentence for a federal conviction on tax crimes.

A disbarred attorney serving out a federal sentence at home is pro-life? Actually, just the opposite. Stilley wants to overturn the law and sees the opportunity to return to court in a somewhat less risky environment:

In a phone interview with CNN, Stilley said he is an opponent of the law that bars most abortions in the state, but wants to clear the way for a judge to rule on its constitutionality.

“I am a supporter of the Constitution, and I am opposed to the law,” Stilley said.

The abortion industry must be proud to have such friends in the trenches, eh? The first page of this lawsuit will likely look pretty novel to whichever judge gets the joy of handling Stilley:

It’s tough to figure out whether Stilley wants to help Braid out in overturning SB8 or whether he’s demanding that his own case be relitigated. Is Braid sure he wants to hitch his wagon to this?

4. Plaintiff is currently on home confinement, in the custody of the United States Department of Justice-Federal Bureau of Prisons, (DOJ-FBOP) serving the 12 year of a 15 year federal sentence on utterly fraudulent federal charges of “tax evasion” and “conspiracy,” all of which repeatedly changed and morphed away from the purported grand jury indictment, to whatever new theory the government chose to espouse at a given time. Even so, the final judgment and commitment order was based upon false testimony, claimed evidence which was clearly contradicted by the record, etc., all of which the government steadfastly refuses to acknowledge and correct despite ethical obligations promptly so to do.

5. Plaintiff has consistently demanded due process, and continues his attack on the baseless felony conviction and sentence that has placed him in various federal prisons, and now on home confinement. Plaintiff periodically makes mention of these efforts at www.bustingthefeds.com, often but not exclusively on the blog at that website.

6. Plaintiff currently carries the appellation “federal felon,” but remains confident that he will eventually receive total exoneration of all counts of conviction.

There is, however, a method to this madness. SB8 has more legal issues than just providing an undue burden to access abortion, which after all was its specific intent. It also grants standing to a vast number of people — in fact, every person in Texas who isn’t a government official. (Stilley notes explicitly in paragraph 7 that “despite all his legal troubles,” he isn’t a government employee or agent of any kind.) There are apparently no other restrictions on standing, not even the necessity of being a citizen, legal resident, or a non-felon. Stilley can’t vote and he can’t leave his house, but he still has standing to bring this lawsuit against Braid.

And that’s even more useful for Braid, who can use this reductio ad absurdum to fight the law on two fronts. The Supreme Court didn’t want to tackle either abortion access or the standing complaint the first time around because neither were ripe without some sort of lawsuit against an abortionist. Well, Stilley is all sorts of ripe on the standing issue, and judges will likely have a field day in ruling that the grant of standing is impermissibly and irrationally large. Stilley makes it very difficult for Texas to defend that grant of standing.

Of course, that would require Braid to object to Stilley’s lawsuit on the basis of standing, which might risk ending it prematurely. That would be no es bueno for Braid’s purposes, unless Stilley has the resources to fight through multiple levels of appeal. However, CNN reports that there is at least one other lawsuit filed against Braid now under SB8, presumably with a less colorful complainant.

Anyway, this lawsuit is in state court for now, in Bexar County. It may not get to federal court immediately, but Braid and Stilley will have nothing better to do than to try to force it onto the Supreme Court track ASAP. It might be good for everyone to make that happen anyway, which would provide a better moment of clarity on the Supreme Court’s direction on Roe. If Stilley’s lawsuit survives their scrutiny, then the Dobbs case will almost certainly be heading for a reversal of Roe. If the Supreme Court swats down Stilley v Braid, it won’t preclude a reversal of Roe, but it might curtail some of the innovations on standing that other states are beginning to adopt in the wake of SB8. And that might be good news for people in blue states who, say, own firearms and don’t want to get sued over it.