Who Is James Teilborg?


When Judge James A. Teilborg ruled Arizona’s 20-week abortion ban to be constitutional issues, many were shocked to see such a decision come from a judge appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

But should we have been?  According to Molly Redden, no. Teilborg, it turns out, was a former supporter of anti-choice Republican Senator Jon Kyl, who made it through confirmation because Democrats were so busy proving they weren’t obstructionists that they forgot to actually vet the candidates.

Via The New Republic:

In 2003, as a visiting judge to a federal appeals court panel in Montana, Teilborg sided with James Bopp, the Citizens United architect, that a Montana campaign finance limit violated the First Amendment rights of a state Right to Life chapter. His fellow panel members later withdrew their opinion, effectively striking down the limit. Four years ago, Teilborg overturneda massive, $280 million jury finding against the company that owns the University of Phoenix network of for-profit colleges.

And now, he has issued a ruling which will force Arizona abortion clinics to stop providing abortions to women who may be just 18 weeks into their pregnancies—even if the fetus has developed horrible abnormalities. Whatever your thoughts on abortion, Teilborg’s decision is something of a legal travesty. As others have pointed out, it defies firmly established Supreme Court precedent that bars states from prohibiting abortions that occur before a baby is viable outside the womb. And Teilborg relied partially on the theory, not widely accepted in the medical community, that an unborn child can experience pain at 20 weeks.

Anti-choice activists have been stacking the federal courts for decades just for this purpose. Now, a clear example of what happens when that occurs without opposition.

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