Overrule of Beebe's veto might open up state to litigation

Another abortion bill makes it to Governor Mike Beebe's desk and for the second week in a row he vetoed the measure.

Senate Bill 134 would prevent some abortions taking place as soon as 12 weeks into pregnancy.

Last week Governor Beebe vetoed the 20-week abortion bill, but then state Legislature passed an overriding vote. Once again, Beebe vetoed a similar measure, but even if we have dj vu all over again, one local attorney said if you check the U.S. Constitution none of this should stand.

"I don't speak in absolutes and I don't give guarantees, but somebody's going to challenge this," said Little Rock attorney Tre Kitchens.

Speaking legally Kitchens, with The Brad Hendricks Law Firm, said history could repeat itself when it comes to a possible state law banning abortions after 12 weeks. Many states have formed their own laws, only to eventually face an overruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"All of those amendments apply not just people's favorites. The 14th Amendment is in full effect, the First Amendment is in full effect," Kitchens added. "When you pass legislation, that legislation is subject to judicial review."

Monday that same reasoning was Beebe's cornerstone for his veto.

"If passed into law, Senate Bill 134, would blatantly violate the United States Constitution," he said in a statement.

The governor went on to say how an expected opposition could cost the state a significant amount in litigation. He compared it to a 1999 abortion statute challenge which cost the state nearly $150,000.

"The taxpayers' exposure, should Senate Bill 134 become a law, will likely be significantly greater," he added.

"I hope that people on both sides of the debate would continue to be respectful of different opinions people have, and let the process work because it's a heck of a process," Kitchens warned the public.

Beebe admitted that "outside groups might represent the State for free in any litigation challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 134." {}

However, he continued on with "but if that were to happen, that would only lessen the State's own litigation costs."

Kitchens said the U.S. Supreme Court's continue overruling date back to "stare decisis," where judges feel obliged to respect the precedent established by prior decisions.

Legal teams believe that will play a part in just about all future abortion cases.

COMPLETE COVERAGE - 12 week abortion banArk. lawmaker proposes new abortion restriction (Jan. 28)Ark. Senate passes measure to ban most abortions (Jan. 31)Ark. Gov. suggests abortion bill unconstitutional (Feb. 4)Ark. lawmakers delay vote on 12 week abortion bill (Feb. 12)Changed abortion bill fails Ark. House panel vote (Feb. 14)Ark. panel approves 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 19)Poll: 3/5 of Ark. voters support proposed abortion ban at 12 weeks (Feb. 21)Ark. Senate panel advances 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 27)Ark. Senate approves 12 week abortion ban (Feb. 28)Beebe vetoes 12 week abortion ban (March 4)Override of Beebe's veto may open state to litigation (March 4)State Senate overrides Gov. Beebe's veto on 12 week abortion bill (March 5)House overrides Beebe's veto; 12 week abortion bill now law (March 6)Ark. GOP lawmaker says machine didn't record vote (March 7)

COMPLETE COVERAGE - 20 week abortion banBills to restrict abortions pass Ark. House (Feb. 4)Ark. Senate passes 20 week abortion ban (Feb. 13)20 week abortion bill heads to governor's desk (Feb. 21)Beebe vetoes 20 week abortion bill (Feb. 26)House votes to override governor's veto (Feb. 27)Ark. Senate overrides veto on abortion bill (Feb. 28)Roll call from veto vote in Ark. Senate (Feb. 28)Beebe: Override doesn't change concerns about abortion ban (Feb. 28)Override of Beebe's veto may open state to litigation (March 4)Many unsure who would police 20 week abortion ban (March 5)

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