Dec 12 (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom said he plans to use a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on strict abortion curbs in Texas to design a law that would allow private citizens to sue some gun manufacturers, distributors and sellers.
The Supreme Court on Friday left in effect the Texas law that enables private citizens to sue anyone who performs or assists a woman in getting an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.
The Texas law was designed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature to avoid normal means of legal challenge, because rather than making state officials responsible for enforcement, it instead gave private individuals anywhere the right to sue doctors who provide abortion services in Texas and anyone else who “aids or abets” the process.
While allowing the Texas law to remain in effect, the court ruled legal challenges may proceed against the measure, which critics say amounts to vigilante justice.
Newsom, a Democrat, said on Saturday his team will work with state Attorney General Rob Bonta and the legislature to draft a proposal in line with the Texas law that would let citizens sue manufacturers, sellers or distributors of assault weapons or ghost gun kits for at least $10,000 per violation.
“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place,” Newsom said in a statement.
“If states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissent to Friday’s decision, blasted the court’s majority for failing to “put an end to this madness” and warned that other states could try to copy the Texas enforcement mechanism.
President Joe Biden said he was “very concerned” by the decision to leave in place the abortion ban but said it was “encouraging” that the court allowed part of the abortion providers’ lawsuit to continue.
(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)