Judicial Panel Named in Case to Overturn Roe v. Wade Abortion Decision
by Steven Ertelt
February 24, 2004
New Orleans, LA (LifeNews.com) — A three-judge panel has been named by the federal appeals court that will hear Norma McCorvey’s case to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Once named, the judges immediately declared that they will not hear oral arguments in the case.
The panel consists of Judge Edith Holland Jones, Judge Edward Prado of San Antonio, and Judge Jacques L. Wiener of Shreveport, Louisiana.
The judges say they do not need to hear oral arguments in order to rule on McCorvey’s motion, which included over 5000 pages of evidence with affidavits from over 1000 woman who have been harmed by abortion.
The decision doesn’t indicate how the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel will rule on McCorvey’s Rule 60 motion, which allows original litigants in a case to petition a court to overturn its decision if new facts relevant to the lawsuit are presented.
McCorvey’s attorneys submitted thousands of signed affidavits from women who have been hurt by abortion as evidence and reason for the court to reconsider the Roe decision.
"I deeply regret the damage my original case caused women," McCorvey said. "I want the Supreme Court to examine the evidence and have a spirit of justice for women and children."
The appeals court previously indicated it would hear oral arguments in the case on March 2 and the order declining to hear arguments came without explanation. That means the court will rely on written briefs to make its decision.
McCorvey’s attorney, Allan Parker, said "We are surprised at this turn of events, but this has been, and will be, an amazing and unusual case until it reaches and is ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court."
Parker, CEO of the Texas-based Justice Foundation, a pro-life nonprofit law firm, said he is pleased with the panel’s selection of judges. He indicated the court decision may mean the judges want the case to proceed to the Supreme Court.
The appeals court also denied a motion by a group of pro-abortion attorneys to file an amicus brief in the case.
A federal district court in Dallas, the same court that originally heard the Roe v. Wade case at the local level, dismissed McCorvey’s case only days after it was filed.
"The judge denied Norma McCorvey’s motion after only two days without adequately considering the 5,347 pages of affidavits from over one thousand women harmed by abortion and scientific experts," Parker explained.
The judge said too much time has elapsed since the Roe decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed its own precedents using Rule 60(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 60), most recently in the 1997 decision of Agostini v. Felton. There, the court overturned a 12 year-old precedent.
Parker says the high court has overturned precedents as long as 41 years-old, longer than the length of time since Roe.