however, today’s order will have little real impact. The Texas law will not actually cut off the relevant Planned Parenthood funding until November, and today’s order expedites this case so that it will be heard in July. Accordingly, it is likely that the Fifth Circuit will have reached a final decision on whether to affirm or reverse the lower court’s pro-Planned Parenthood order before that order could actually make a difference.But I don't think they're noticing what a smackdown this order lays on the Texas Attorney General, who really needs to reconsider his appellate staff.
As the order points out, Planned Parenthood showed the Court that the state's own evidence undermined the State's claim of irreparable harm, since Federal funds won't be cut off until November 2012. In other words, Mr. A.G.: where's the emergency?
Further, the State clearly dodged Sanchez because that ruling doesn't help it at all.* But it's one thing to downplay a ruling that doesn't favor you, another to try to pretend it doesn't exist and you hope nobody notices that. As the Fifth Circuit says, the State has yet to address the authority of Sanchez, in the trial court or in this emergency appeal, an authority recognized both by Planned Parenthood and the trial court.
It is true the appeal of the injunction is still pending; but unless the State can address Sanchez, or a panel on the 5th Circuit decides its own ruling is not applicable (which is possible, even setting aside any ideology such as this Court has shown before), the State is screwed. The panel also speaks now of the "thorough order" of the trial court (and I know that judge personally. He is a very good lawyer.) and the fact the trial court explicitly stated it had not yet reached a final decision (which is entirely appropriate at this stage in the trial proceedings.). This addresses the appearance of the earlier order that the trial judge was getting slapped down.
And I actually think the expedited hearing on the appeal is a good thing; it will clear the way for the trial court to proceed after that, rather than hold this case hostage to the Fifth Circuit's docket.
I also think the A.G. just got his head handed to him on a platter, with a further admonishment to "watchyerass."
This is a little more like a clown car drove up, and a bunch of judges stepped out.
*I can't tell from the order how Planned Parenthood is relying on Sanchez, but the panel seems to agree with their position, at least in part. And the silence of the State indicates its position is challenged by Sanchez, in whole or in part. So I suspect the State is not on very solid ground in this case, and they know it.