Thursday, March 16, 2023


CNN's Tierney Sneed reports:
Over the course of about four hours of arguments, a federal judge in Texas asked questions [yesterday] that suggested he is seriously considering undoing the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a medication abortion drug and the agency’s moves to relax the rules around its use.

But the judge, US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, also indicated he was thinking through scenarios in which he could keep the drug’s 2000 approval intact while blocking other FDA rules.

Anti-abortion doctors and medical associations are seeking a preliminary injunction that would require the FDA to withdraw or suspend its approval of the drug, mifepristone, and that would block the agency’s more recent regulatory changes making the pills more accessible.
There's no real suspense here. Kacsmaryk is a Republican operative and will ban mifepristone because he can. The only question is when.
Kacsmaryk wrapped up the hearing without any explicit timeline for when he’ll rule, telling the parties he would issue an order and opinion “as soon as possible.”
I predict that he won't rule this month. In fact, he won't rule until at least April 5.

Why? Because there's an election in Wisconsin on April 4 that will decide the balance of that state's Supreme Court.
Dan Kelly, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, faces Democratic-backed Janet Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County judge, on April 4. The winner will determine majority control of the court, with the fate of abortion access, legislative redistricting, voting rights, rules for elections and other major issues at stake.
Protasiewicz has made her support for abortion rights the centerpiece of her campaign. The Republican Party and its billionaire donors remember how the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision motivated Democratic voters in 2022, so they know that if mifepristone is banned nationwide before this Wisconsin election takes place, Protasiewicz is almost certain to win. And that would put the things they really care about -- such as maintaining Wisconsin's status as the most gerrymandered state in the union -- at risk. What matters to them is mostly the preservation of the plutocracy. A liberal majority on the state's Supreme Court would threaten the ongoing Republican project of diluting Democratic voting power. Eventually, pro-plutocrat laws, particularly those passed in the Scott Walker era, could be at risk. Gerrymandering also makes Wisconsin's delegation to the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly Republican despite the fact that it's a 50-50 swing state that just reelected a Democratic governor, almost elected a Democratic U.S. senator, and chose Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020.

Oh, and:
The [Wisconsin Supreme Court] came within one vote of overturning President Joe Biden’s win in the state in 2020....
Kelly was an adviser to the state GOP on election matters during and after the 2020 election. He was advising the party while the scheme to advance fake Trump electors was in the works. If he wins on April 4, he'd be in a position to help tip the state's electoral votes to the Republican candidate in 2024.

Protasiewicz is a strong candidate and is might win anyway, but the GOP doesn't want to make it any easier for her. So I expect Kacsmaryk to delay his ruling until after the polls close in Wisconsin.

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