Minnesota Opinion: Will Democrats simply ignore the federal judiciary?

From the editorial: "No doubt Democrats are eager to exploit the Texas decision for political gain. Fine. But where are the grown-ups to explain to leftist activists ... (that) ignoring a federal judge would represent despotism run amok"?

Kevin Siers / Cagle Cartoons

Imagine the reaction if a federal court a few years back had ruled against a controversial White House executive order, and Trump administration officials responded by ignoring the decision. Apoplectic progressives would have taken to the streets to protest the president as an “existential threat to democracy,” and rightfully so.

American Opinion
American Opinion

Yet, consider last week’s decision by federal District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to overrule the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. The decision will work its way through the process and likely to the Supreme Court, particularly because it is at odds with a separate ruling by a second federal judge on a similar topic.

Yet, within days, some Democrats — who pilloried President Donald Trump for undermining our political institutions in conflicts real and imagined — responded to the Texas ruling by implying that White House officials have a constitutional right to disregard the court if they don’t like the judge’s reasoning.

“I believe the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to ignore this ruling,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said, “which is why I’m calling on President Biden and the FDA to do just that.” Two days later, Xavier Becerra, the administration’s health secretary, didn’t dismiss such advice out of hand, saying, “Everything is on the table.”

No doubt Democrats are eager to exploit the Texas decision for political gain. Fine. But where are the grown-ups to explain to leftist activists the obvious problems with the tactic that Sen. Wyden endorses? Ignoring a federal judge would represent despotism run amok and those who embrace such a response should be condemned by those spanning the political spectrum as enemies of the rule of law and our democratic norms.


The proper response if the administration takes exception to the Texas judge’s decision is to file a prompt appeal and to prepare arguments responding to the points raised in the opinion. Some legal analysts believe Judge Kacsmaryk’s analysis is vulnerable, particularly because the FDA approved the abortion drug in question more than 20 years ago. But even if the decision is upheld, the agency has options, as the Wall Street Journal noted: The judge’s “ruling is procedural, and the FDA can re-approve the drug by closely adhering to the Administration Procedure Act.”

The principles at stake here go well beyond the abortion issue, which has clouded reasonable minds. Presidents — whether Democrat or Republican — aren’t free to pick and choose which judicial decisions to heed or disregard. Let the courts do their job. Those who don’t like the result may respond accordingly within the parameters of our democratic republic.

This American Opinion editorial is the view of the Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Board Editorial Board. Send feedback to:

©2023 Las Vegas Review-Journal


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