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Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Sept. 9 news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice sought permission Monday to present oral arguments when the Supreme Court hears a case challenging Mississippi's strict abortion law, as it called on justices to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The two briefs, filed by acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher, mark the latest attempt by President Biden's DOJ to "protect the legal right to an abortion," per the New York Times, which first reported on the court filings.

The big picture: The Supreme Court will on Dec. 1 hear a challenge to the Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

  • The Mississippi attorney general is asking the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that set a precedent for the constitutional right to abortion.
  • The DOJ was one of over 40 parties to file a friend-of-the-court brief to support the Mississippi case involving the Jackson Women's Health Organization — the sole abortion provider in the state.
  • They're asking for the court to respect the precedent of Roe v. Wade.

What they're saying: In its filing, the Justice Department notes that appeals courts had previously backed Jackson Women's Health, agreeing that Mississippi had been "unable to identify any medical research or data that shows a fetus has reached the 'point of viability' at 15 weeks.'"

  • "The United States has a substantial interest in the proper interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment," the DOJ said.

Of note: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said earlier this month after the Supreme Court allowed Texas' ban on most abortions to remain in place that the Justice Department would "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services" in the state.

Go deeper

Texas urges Supreme Court to leave abortion ban in place

Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to keep in place a law that bans abortions after an embryo's cardiac activity is detected, which can be as soon as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant.

Driving the news: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the high court to ignore the Justice Department's emergency request that they temporarily block the law while federal courts consider its constitutionality since it "lacks standing because it has not been injured by SB 8."

Appeals court scraps order mandating COVID protections for immigrant detainees

ICE detention center in downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Judges on a federal appeals court Wednesday voted 2-1 to overturn an order requiring authorities to monitor and possibly release immigrants being held at detention centers if they are at high-risk for long term COVID-19 complications, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Why it matters: In its ruling, the San Fransisco-based panel said a federal district judge overreached in 2020 when he issued a preliminary injunction requiring the monitoring. The Trump administration appealed that ruling, and Biden's Justice Department continued to argue against it when he took office.

The defy-default

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Political figures are exploiting the slowness of the U.S. justice system, Donald Trump's attacks on its integrity and divisions in society to defy the law.

Why it matters: As polarization intensifies, it's placing tribalism above a shared national code of conduct. Increasingly, accountability rests not on the ballot box but with the nine-member, lifetime-appointed and currently conservative-majority Supreme Court.