Three-Judge Panel Lifts Republican Judge’s Stay Of Texas Planned Parenthood Decision

Earlier this week, Republican Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith issued an unusual single-judge order staying another judge’s decision suspending a Texas law that cuts off funding for Planned Parenthood. Today, a three-judge panel of the same court, which includes Judge Smith, lifted Smith’s order — meaning that the Texas anti-Planned Parenthood law is suspended once again. As a practical matter, 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.