A federal judge has extended a preliminary injunction blocking part of a new Wisconsin law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
The order, issued Friday by U.S. District Judge William Conley, stems from a lawsuit that Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed last month. The groups claim the law would shut two of the state’s four abortion clinics because providers at those facilities, in Appleton and Milwaukee, lack admitting privileges.
“Given the substantial likelihood of success on the merits and of irreparable harm, the public’s interest is best serviced by imposing a preliminary injunction on enforcement of the admitting privileges requirement until this court can address its merits after trial,” he wrote in the 44-page opinion.
The judge also said he was skeptical that state attorneys could prove the mandate protects women’s health.
U.S. District Judge William Conley issued his stay last week, three days after Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services filed a lawsuit alleging the requirement would force two abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to close.
Conley’s order affects only those two clinics and will dissolve after two weeks. The groups are seeking a preliminary injunction that would invalidate the requirement through the end of a trial. Conley indicated he planned to rule on the injunction before the stay ends and scheduled the trial for Nov. 25.
Republicans who control the Legislature passed a bill setting up the requirement last month in nine days, without any Democratic support. Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law on July 5.
The Obama administration should not have been held in contempt for continuing a drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico over a judge’s injunction, the 5th Circuit ruled.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar placed the moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf one week after the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people and set off the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
A month later, the department issued a “May Directive” imposing a six-month moratorium on drilling operations in the Gulf. The department represented that seven engineering experts had peer-reviewed this policy, but it was later found that five of the seven experts never recommended the moratorium.
Hornbeck Offshore, which owns a fleet of vessels that support deepwater exploration, sued the Salazar in federal court, claiming that the moratorium was neither adequately explained nor justified.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldmean agreed, and granted a preliminary injunction against the ban in June 2010.
Within weeks, the Interior Department issued a second moratorium that purportedly included a more thorough explanation its necessity. Offshore drilling companies criticized it, however, as being nearly identical to the first.
Feldman held the Department of the Interior in contempt for this move, finding that “each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance.”
He also awarded Hornbeck $530,000 in fees and costs.
On Tuesday, a divided three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit reversed the contempt finding and the fee award.
A federal judge on Thursday temporarily halted California’s ability to enforce rules to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation fuels, effectively taking the regulatory teeth out of the state’s year-old program.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill issued a preliminary injunction that ruled the California Air Resources Board’s low-carbon fuel regulations violated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against crude oil and biofuels producers located outside California.