A whole lot of people have their undies in bunches over the Supreme Court not immediately quashing Texas’s “anyone can sue anyone who has anything to do with an abortion” law in its handling of Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson.

Those people should calm down. Or, rather, if they’re concerned about the availability of abortion in Texas, they shouldn’t necessarily calm down about that, but they should calm down on the idea that the court just overturned Roe v. Wade and needs to be packed to produce the “right” result or whatever.

The ruling was procedural.

Some high points of that ruling:

The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue. But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden. For example, federal courts enjoy the power to enjoin individuals tasked with enforcing laws, not the laws themselves. …  it is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce the Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention. … The State has represented that neither it nor its executive employees possess the authority to enforce the Texas law either directly or indirectly. Nor is it clear whether, under existing precedent, this Court can issue an injunction against state judges asked to decide a lawsuit under Texas’s law. … Finally, the sole private-citizen respondent before us has filed an affidavit stating that he has no present intention to enforce the law.

How many times have you heard of a court rejecting a case over “standing” — the idea that the plaintiff needs to be someone involved and subjected to, or threatened with, some harm that said plaintiff claims is unconstitutional?

This is the flip side of the “standing” coin. You can’t just assert the harm, you have to name a defendant who is causing or threatening to cause the harm, so that SCOTUS can tell that defendant to knock it off (or not).

If I think the Constitution guarantees me free ice cream, I don’t get to just go to the Supreme Court and expect them to serve me a hot fudge sundae. I have to assert that the counter person at Dairy Queen denied, or threatened to deny, me my free sundae and that they should order him to hand it over pronto.

Whole Women’s Health, in the SCOTUS majority’s view, didn’t convincingly name anyone who was suing, or threatening to sue, them under the new Texas law. And even if they had, it also seems that the SCOTUS majority believes such a suit just might need to work its way through the Texas courts before even getting to SCOTUS on appeal.

More from the ruling:

[W]e stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts.

Which doesn’t mean that SCOTUS won’t overturn Roe when a case with its procedural ducks in a row reaches them. That remains to be seen. This ruling was a matter of “you don’t have your shit together, and the whole thing is weird enough that we’re not even sure it’s possible at this time for you to get your shit together. But feel free to try again later.”

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER