A federal judge has denied an attempt by Republican officials in West Virginia to pause a maker of mifepristone’s lawsuit against them Friday, taking the opportunity to thoroughly rinse his colleague in Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.
Kacsmaryk wrote a widely panned opinion staying the Food and Drug Administration’s 20-year-old approval of mifepristone earlier this month. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that piece of his ruling, but upheld many other restrictions to the drug. The case is now pending at the Supreme Court, where the Department of Justice has requested a stay of the lower court rulings.
Over in West Virginia, a separate case is playing out where GenBioPro, the maker of generic mifepristone, is suing state officials, saying that the FDA’s approval of its product trumps state abortion bans that prohibit its prescription and sale. The West Virginia officials being sued asked U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers for a stay earlier this week, pointing to Kacsmaryk’s ruling and emphasizing, hopefully, that GenBioPro might lose its FDA approval and moot the lawsuit.
Chambers was having none of it.
“Decisions from the Northern District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit are not binding upon this Court,” he wrote in a brief order. “Nor would a Supreme Court decision as to the preliminary injunction issued by that District impact the proceedings here.”
He then slipped in some extremely pointed criticism, writing that Kacsmaryk’s decision “has been met with broad criticism from legal commentators. Therefore, the Court accords that opinion little weight.”
Oral arguments in the West Virginia case will begin on Monday, as scheduled, he added.
Chambers, a Bill Clinton appointee, is not the first judge in a separate mifepristone case to take a shot at Kacsmaryk.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice, who is overseeing a Washington state case where Democratic attorneys general are suing to make mifepristone more accessible, used lengthy quotations in a recent order to critique Kacmsaryk’s habitual practice of issuing nationwide injunctions. It is, as he pointed out, a critical piece of the right-wing judge shopping that has so imperiled mifepristone.
Read Chambers’ order here: