Editor, the Advocate:
First, I am not a lawyer – I have never spent a day in law school. But, my college business law classes taught that in order to sue someone or an organization, a person must have “standing” to sue. Such standing consists of three elements. The plaintiff must have (1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. I was also been taught that absent standing to sue, a lawsuit will be dismissed from the court without being heard.
Understanding that a person must have standing to sue, how can the new Texas anti-abortion law allow lawsuits from people who have not suffered an injury that is fairly traceable to the conduct of the defendant? In other words, how could I sue my next door neighbor for driving her niece to a clinic to obtain an abortion? I am not harmed – have not suffered an injury – if my neighbor’s niece has an abortion. The fact that I would like to have the $10,000 bounty notwithstanding, I have not suffered an injury that can be traced to the conduct of my neighbor driving her niece to the clinic. I do not have standing to sue.
It would be very helpful if the Advocate would investigate this new law and explain to your readers how Texas courts can allow persons who are without standing to sue someone who facilitates another to obtain an abortion. I believe the legislature knows this law cannot pass judicial muster and is placing citizens who do sue a third party under the authority of this new law at jeopardy of being countersued. Those people will have standing because they will have been harmed by the conduct of the person who filed the original lawsuit and it is likely that the court will provide redress in a favorable judicial decision.
Carl Bankston, Victoria