Wednesday, June 20, 2018

5th Circuit: Bishops Win Temporary Stay of Subpoena For E-Mails

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Whole Woman's Health v. Smith, (5th Cir., June 18, 2018), has granted an emergency stay of a district court's order (see prior posting) refusing to quash a subpoena issued to the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.  The subpoena, in a suit challenging the constitutionality of a Texas law that requires health providers to bury or cremate fetal remains after an abortion, sought e-mails relating to burial, cremation, or disposition of fetal or embryonic tissue.  The Catholic Bishops' emergency motion for a stay (full text) argued that enforcement of the subpoena would violate their 1st Amendment rights and RFRA. Becket issued a press release announcing the 5th Circuit's action.