The action by the justices provided a legal victory to Trump’s administration even though the teenager already has had the abortion because it eliminated a precedent at the federal appeals court level that could have applied in similar circumstances in which detained minors sought abortions.
In the unsigned opinion with no dissents, the justices threw out the appeals court decision on the grounds that the dispute became moot once the unnamed teenager had the abortion.
The justices, however, declined to take up the administration’s request for disciplinary action against the American Civil Liberties Union lawyers who represented the girl, who underwent an abortion in Texas in October 2017
The administration had accused the ACLU lawyers of misleading the Justice Department over when she would have the abortion.
The high court said that it takes misconduct allegations against lawyers seriously but said “not all communication breakdowns constitute misconduct.”
The ACLU, which has filed a range of lawsuits against the administration, sued in Washington in October, seeking a decision on obtaining abortions that would be binding in any future cases that arise.
A 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalized abortion nationwide. One of the issues raised by the case is whether illegal immigrant women have the same right to an abortion as American citizens and legal residents.
The girl at the centre of the legal fight had an abortion on Oct. 25, 2017 the day after a U.S. appeals court ruled against the Trump administration’s objections.
The Justice Department has said it was preparing to appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court when it learned she had already had the abortion early that morning.