Celia P. Janes

Document Type


Publication Date



abortion, full faith and credit, Constitution, Constitutional law, records, subpoenas

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


In 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, once again leaving the question of whether abortion should be legal to individual state legislatures. This decision allowed the Texas law known as S.B. 8, alternatively known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, to go into effect. The law allows private individuals to sue anyone who has performed or has aided and abetted the performance or inducement of an abortion in Texas. California responded to this law with Assembly Bill 2091, which prevents California state courts from issuing subpoenas arising under S.B. 8 and similar laws in other states. This Note addresses the unique challenges that A.B. 2091 may face under the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Article IV of the United States Constitution, which requires all states to give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judgments of sister-states. If the federal courts view subpoenas as records instead of final judgments, then California would likely be allowed to block the issuance of subpoenas that violate the State's public policy. Regardless of whether courts determine subpoenas are records or judgments, the law will likely still be upheld under the exception for foreign penal civil actions under the standard described in the Supreme Court's opinion in Huntington v. Attrill. Although the California legislature’s decision to single out the Texas law when discussing and drafting A.B. 2091 may pose some additional obstacles, California may still be able to claim that policy considerations should be sufficient to allow the State to block subpoenas arising from S.B. 8.