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Idaho Supreme Court reviewing arguments for an expedited review schedule of new abortion law

After an expedited review was requested, the Idaho Attorney General's Office is asking for more time or even a new venue to consider the recently signed law.

BOISE, Idaho — In response to a petition filed by Planned Parenthood seeking to block Idaho’s new abortion law, the Idaho Attorney General’s office says they need more time after a quick turn of events.

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court back on March 30th. Part of that filing included a request for an expedited process, which the court granted the next day, March 31st. The reason for the expedited process, Planned Parenthood wants to get the new abortion law blocked before it goes into effect on April 22nd.

However, court records show that the Idaho Attorney General’s Office is pushing back, saying things are moving too quickly. They write in an April 1st court filing that Through no fault of its own, Respondent did not have an opportunity to file its opposition to Petitioners’ Motion to Expedite Briefing and Argument prior to the granting of this Motion.

They point to three major issues they have with the expedited hearing:

“(1) the novel and weighty constitutional issues raised in the Petition deserve careful consideration, which will be lost if the current briefing schedule set by the Order stands; (2) the Petition presents generalized constitutional questions, as well as factual issues, that are inappropriate for the exercise of original jurisdiction; and (3) there are multiple alternative and timely avenues by which Petitioners could obtain the expeditious relief that they seek.”

In an extended explanation, the AG’s office reiterates that they believe a lower court should take on the issue because of the nature of the claims and process. They write that instead of the Supreme Court: The district courts are designed to provide for the timely gathering of facts and evidence as well as to hear disputes regarding such, while the Supreme Court is primarily a court of review.

In a responding court filing, counsel for Planned Parenthood argues that there is plenty of time for the AG’s office to prepare pointing to the lengthy opinion the AG’s office published earlier this year. That opinion expressed significant questions about the new abortion law and the legal ramifications it comes with.

Planned Parenthood also pushed back saying the expedited schedule is reasonable given the circumstances, the Supreme Court is the correct venue because of constitutional questions, and that other reasons for delay given by the AG’s office are irrelevant to the facts in their opinion.

The filing does however say that Planned Parenthood is not opposed to extending the briefing schedule if the Supreme Court blocks the new law, pending a result in the Supreme Court. Meaning, that Idaho abortion care can continue as is until the Supreme Court rules if the new law is acceptable or not.

The most recent filing in the case is from the AG’s office, again, pushing back on arguments from Planned Parenthood including the notion that they’ve had plenty of time to work on the case. The AG’s office argues in part that preparing the AG opinion back in February is different work and is totally different circumstances now than back then.

Now it is a matter of waiting and seeing how the Supreme Court rules. A spokesperson for the AG’s office told KTVB  "As of now, the state would need to file its brief by the 14th – unless the court grants that motion to reconsider and sets a later date. The petitioners would then have to file their brief in response to the state’s brief no later than seven days after the state’s brief is filed. Oral arguments could then be set at the discretion of the court.

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