Mazurek v. Armstrong

PETITIONER: Joseph P. Mazurek, Attorney General
RESPONDENT: James H. Armstrong et al.
LOCATION: Western District Court of New York

DOCKET NO.: 96-1104
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 520 US 968 (1997)
DECIDED: Jun 16, 1997

Facts of the case

In 1995, the Montana Legislature enacted a statute restricting the performance of abortions to licensed physicians. A group of licensed physicians and one physician-assistant brought suit, challenging that statute under the Constitution. The District Court denied the practitioners' motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that they had not established any likelihood of prevailing on their claim that the law imposed an undue burden concerning abortion rights. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment, holding that the practitioners had shown a fair chance of success on the merits of their claim and thus had met the threshold requirement for preliminary injunctive. On remand, the District Court entered an injunction pending appeal and postponed a hearing on the preliminary injunction motion until the U.S. Supreme Court's disposition of the state attorney general's certiorari petition.

Question

Did a Court of Appeals err in holding that the parties seeking to enjoin the enforcement of a Montana statute, which restricted the performance of abortions to licensed physicians, had shown a fair chance of success on the merits of their claim of undue burden concerning abortion rights?