TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joined 10 other Republican governors in their support of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s amicus curiae brief, which asks the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade, and allow Mississippi’s abortion ban, and others passed by multiple states, to be legalized, instead of restricted or restrained.
The brief, signed onto by DeSantis and governors from Alabama, Georgia, and eight other states joined the South Carolina governor’s brief supporting the state of Mississippi’s recent attempt to ban abortions. The Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas E. Dobbs, M.D. filed a lawsuit against the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and its patients.
The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is named as respondent in a suit filed to void Roe v. Wade via testing the constitutionality of the Mississippi abortion ban, which would block abortions after 15 weeks, if it wins in court.
The brief signed onto by the 11 governors, and written by McMaster, proposes voiding Roe v. Wade on grounds that the 14th Amendment does not, and did not, provide a framework in the United States Constitution to protect the right to abort a pregnancy. The brief by McMaster is written both to support the Mississippi lawsuit as well as to prop up the legality of South Carolina’s own Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act.
In each state that the governors who signed onto the brief come from, abortion laws were signed into law or at least attempted in 2021 in some fashion, with varying levels of severity, restriction or success in their state legislatures.
The following governors signed on in support of the brief:
- Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama
- Gov. Douglas A. Ducey of Arizona
- Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
- Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida
- Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia
- Gov. Brad Little of Idaho
- Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa
- Gov. Michael Parson of Missouri
- Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana
- Gov. J. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma
- Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas
At the center of the 14th amendment argument contained in the brief is the role of the U.S. Constitution’s dual sovereignty and the purpose and powers of the 14th’s due process clause.
Dual sovereignty is the multi-level governance between the federal government, and the individual governments of each state.
The brief argues that the federal government does not always follow this principle of dual sovereignty, and that this “judicial intrusion” into state sovereignty is best seen in enforcement of federal protections of abortion due to the decision of Roe v. Wade. The argument of constitutionality for enforcement is framed as a stretch of misinterpretation of the intention that the 14th Amendment was written with, arguing that the Founding Fathers not only did not include the right of abortion in the amendment, but could not have foreseen the inclusion in the first place.
Additionally, the brief asks that the right to approve or ban abortions be left entirely in the hands of state legislatures, rather than have any federal inclusion in the debate at all, requesting that federal decisions on abortion be prevented in favor of putting those decisions in the hands of voters, state by state.
While DeSantis joined McMaster and 10 other GOP governors in their supporting brief for the Mississippi lawsuit to overturn Roe v. Wade, in Congress, 228 lawmakers signed their own amicus curiae to support the same lawsuit’s petitioners from Mississippi’s DOH.
Those lawmakers included both of Florida’s Senators, Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and several Republican members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, Gus Bilirakis, Fla-12, Kat Cammack, Fla-03, Mario Diaz-Balart, Fla-25, Byron Donalds, Fla-19, Neal P. Dunn, M.D., Fla-02, C. Scott Franklin, Fla-15, Brian Mast, FL-18, Bill Posey, FL-08, John H. Rutherford, Fla-04, W. Gregory Steube, Fla-17, Michael Waltz, Fla-06, and Daniel Webster, Fla-11.