These 'brutal quotes' from Justice Alito could undermine Texas federal judge’s abortion pill ruling
A new analysis is highlighting how U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's previous remarks might undermine the latest controversial abortion pill ruling.
In a new piece published by The New York Times, Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak pointed out a number of Alito's previous quotes where he criticized judges for making decisions similar to the one made by Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.
Liptak began with an overview of what transpired last week as he noted how the ruling encroaches on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authority.
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"The conservative legal movement has long had two key goals: to limit access to abortion and to restrict the authority of administrative agencies," Liptak wrote.
"The decision last week by a federal judge in Texas invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s approval 23 years ago of the abortion drug mifepristone checked both of those boxes," Liptak continued. "The ruling, if it stands, would not only thwart access to the pills, used in more than half of pregnancy terminations, but also undermine the FDA’s authority to approve and regulate other drugs."
Liptak then highlighted Alito's previous remarks about overruling the FDA. Back in 2020, Alito criticized a Maryland judge's decision in the case of the FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, involving "a dispute over whether abortion patients should have an easier time obtaining a pill used as part of a two-drug regimen to terminate a pregnancy," according to a Vox report.
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Liptak wrote, "In 2020, in an earlier encounter with the case, Justice Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, expressed incredulity that 'a district court judge in Maryland took it upon himself to overrule the FDA. on a question of drug safety.'"
He added, "In a dissent in 2009, Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, praised the agency’s expertise, saying 'the FDA has the benefit of the long view.'"
Liptak also noted:
The majority had ruled that the agency’s approval of a drug had not displaced injured plaintiffs’ ability to sue under state law. Justice Alito disagreed. "Where the FDA determines, in accordance with its statutory mandate, that a drug is on balance "safe," he wrote, the court’s precedents "prohibit any state from countermanding that determination."
In wake of the Texas ruling, some legal experts have also weighed in with their concerns. Mary Ziegler, University of California, Davis historian and law professor, has described the ruling as "boundary testing."
“If you’re a justice looking for a case in which to undermine the administrative state, this is not a particularly elegant one,” said Ziegler. “Everything about this case makes it an imperfect vehicle, except for the fact that it’s about abortion and the administrative state. This is boundary testing.”
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