By the middle of last week, I’d read, heard or watched a lot of stories about Texas’ new law that bans almost all abortions. I didn’t know what else The Conversation could contribute to the discussion until the legislation was challenged in court.

But then, Stefanie Lindquist, a legal scholar at Arizona State University, submitted a story to us that broke new ground. The law is carefully structured to evade legal challenges against the state over its constitutionality. It does this by giving individuals the power to enforce the law. And that, writes Lindquist, is an old Jim Crow tactic.

Lindquist walks readers through two Texas laws dating from that era in which the state constructed the statutes to give private individuals or organizations the power to enforce legal maneuvers to disenfranchise Black voters.

“Texas has resurrected a decades-old technique that it used during the Jim Crow era to insulate its discriminatory laws from constitutional review in the courts,” writes Lindquist. Her story tells just what happened to those earlier laws when they got to the Supreme Court.

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  • Naomi Schalit

    Senior Editor, Politics + Society

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that effectively bans abortion in the state. AP Photo/Eric Gay

    Jim Crow tactics reborn in Texas abortion law, deputizing citizens to enforce legally suspect provisions

    Stefanie Lindquist, Arizona State University

    Texas lawmakers resurrected a Jim Crow-era legal maneuver, used to deny Black people the right to vote, in their new law banning most abortions.


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