Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has ordered the state of Arkansas to pay more than $69,000 in the lawsuit striking down the state’s ban on most abortions at 12 weeks of pregnancy.
She awarded $65,580 in attorney fees to attorneys for Drs. Louis Jerry Edwards and Tom Tvedten and $3,445 in costs. She reduced the attorney fee request from $76,560 because she challenged the expense for two New York lawyers to attend a hearing on a preliminary injunction when they didn’t speak at the hearing.
Thank Sen. Jason Rapert, the sponsor of this bill, and the Republicans in the legislature for overriding Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto. He said the bill was unconstitutional. As did anyone else with any familiarity with federal court precedent, which prohibits abortion bans before a fetus is viable, a point 10 weeks or more later than this bill sets.
Note in the judge’s order that the bill was run up by plaintiffs’ having to fight an effort to intervene by an anti-abortion group. The judge wrote, too, should Bre’er Rapert try to tell you he somehow won this case because a fetal heartbeat test was preserved as severable from the abortion ban:
A plaintiff achieves prevailing party status when actual relief on the merits of his claim materially alters the legal relationship between the parties by modifying the defendant’s behavior in a way that directly benefits the plaintiff. Here, Plaintiffs successfully blocked Defendants’ ability to enforce the prohibition on abortions at or after twelve weeks when a fetal heartbeat is detected, and there is no question that they are prevailing parties.