For decades pro-life efforts to restrict abortion have crashed against the rocks of Roe v. Wade. Besides being extraordinary restrictive (6 weeks), the Texas law uses a novel legal concept to (apparently) escape judicial scrutiny: enforcement is up to private citizens not the government. In fact, state officials are legally enjoined from enforcement. Instead, private citizens can sue anyone involved with the procedure and win a bounty of at least $10,000 (plus legal costs).

This threat of financial liability will effectively prevent otherwise legal abortion in Texas. It also theoretically removes the ability of federal courts to intervene since there’s no governmental involvement in the action. This line of legal rationale opens the door to outlawing all kinds of behavior through private civil actions and the threat of financial liability. Whatever one’s view of abortion itself, this is legally a terrible idea.

In fact, if this sophistry succeeds a state legislature can pass any law and private citizens will be stripped of their federal protections. Effectively, it ends the Bill of Rights.

You might think I was kidding. So here’s an example using the Second Amendment. Let’s say the state legislature says that private gun ownership of any kind outlawed. Using the Texas legal mechanism, if I know you have a gun I can sue you for $10,000 (per gun!) plus legal expenses and I win. And you have no recourse to the 2nd Amendment because that’s a federal law and no governmental official was involved in the enforcement of this law.

State legislatures will be empowered to do whatever they like; federal laws and protections are effectively neutered. This is not good for American society.