Matthew Kacsmaryk: Trump-appointed judge oversees blockbuster medical abortion case


Oversight by a federal judge a compelling challenge With the FDA’s 20-year-old approval of certain drugs used to terminate pregnancy, a deeply conservative jurist is leaning on the plaintiffs’ side, seeking to revoke reproductive and LGBTQ rights or block key policies of the Biden administration.

In 2019, the Senate voted 52-46 to confirm U.S. District Judge Matthew Katzmarik, appointed by former President Donald Trump.

FDA case, It was the largest abortion-related case since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, drawing plenty of criticism from abortion rights advocates.But Kacsmaryk himself has come under scrutiny for his handling of the matter, with critics taking issue with some he took the very unusual step A hearing that was postponed to let the public know about the case was scheduled for Wednesday.

Since Kacsmaryk came off the bench in 2019, He helped make Texas a legal cemetery For the policy of President Joe Biden’s administration, in large part because Texas rules on how federal cases are allocated in the state allow conservatives to strategically file there, there is almost a guarantee that their complaints will be brought to a competent court. Compassionate judge. Kacsmaryk is assigned to every case in his department.

in recent comments Washington postKacsmaryk’s sister, Jennifer Griffith, detailed her brother’s long history of opposition to abortion and how she believes fate brought the case to him.

“I feel like he was born for this,” Griffith said. “He’s exactly where he needs to be.”

The Hippocratic Medical Union, the group that filed the medication abortion lawsuit, was formed in Amarillo months before the lawsuit was filed, according to documents from the Texas secretary of state’s office.

Kacsmaryk is the sole federal district judge for the Amarillo Division of the Northern District of Texas.

Long before he became a federal judge, Kachmarik had been displaying his conservative sincerity, with a record on a range of issues on display while he worked for a prominent legal group representing the religious right.

But in his short few years on the bench, he has become a leading opponent of the Biden administration, including rulings against the administration’s move to expand LGBTQ protections, Biden’s immigration agenda and ensuring that minors live without their parents. access to birth control policy. allow.

in december, Kacsmaryk on hold The Biden administration recently attempted to end the so-called “Remain in Mexico” program. He also oversaw cases in Texas challenging vaccine mandates, gender identity guidelines issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and government restrictions on the use of Covid-19 tax relief funds.

In the birth control case, he ruled in December that a federal program that allowed minors to receive birth control without parental consent was illegal, halting it in Texas.

“Defendants’ administration of the Title X program violates parents’ constitutional right to direct child rearing and Texas family law,” Kacsmaryk wrote. An appeal of the ruling is currently underway.

A month ago, Kacsmaryk blocked the Biden administration from enforcing new rules aimed at protecting transgender Americans from discrimination in health care. The government is also appealing the ruling.

Criticism of Judge Selection Strategies Filed directly to Kacsmaryk by conservative plaintiffs, including in early February, the Justice Department took aim at the tactic in a dispute he oversaw involving new Labor Department rules.

“The continued strategy of plaintiffs and other litigants to bring many lawsuits against the federal government in single-judge divisions or in divisions that are almost always guaranteed that they will receive a particular judge undermines public confidence in the administration of justice,” the Justice Department wrote in court filings.

An attorney representing the Hippocratic Union of Medicine in the FDA case pushed back on critics’ allegations that the filing site was strategically chosen to get the case ahead of Kacsmaryk.

“It’s a completely absurd argument because we have every right to sue when our clients are injured,” Eric Baptiste, an attorney representing abortion-pill challengers for the Union Defending Freedom, told CNN. He referred to the individual plaintiff in the lawsuit, Dr. Shaun Jester, who practices near Amarillo.

“Congress has empowered the American public to sue federal agencies where the American public has actually been harmed and where they live,” Baptiste said. “And that’s exactly what Dr. Jester is doing here. He joins the other plaintiffs in this case File the lawsuit because he lives in the Amarillo area, so we file the lawsuit where he lives.”

Prior to joining the bench, Kacsmaryk served for many years as associate general counsel for the First Freedom Institute, a conservative Christian legal advocacy organization, where he focused on “religious liberty litigation in federal courts and amicus curiae of the U.S. Supreme Court” statement”, according to a pass Released by the Trump White House in 2017.

In the Supreme Court dispute, Kacsmaryk weighed in on the landmark 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. In a brief to the court by Kacsmaryk and others on behalf of First Liberty and many other religious groups, they urged the judge to rule that the First Amendment’s free speech protections “protect religious dissidents who disagree with state-recognized same-sex marriage. ”

A few months after the court’s decision in the case, Kacsmaryk wrote a prose Criticism of the ruling also targeted proposed legislation aimed at providing federal protections for LGBTQ Americans.

“The Equality Act sought to weaponize Obergefell, moving at lightning speed from a controversial 5-4 victory in same-sex marriage to a nationwide rule that ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ are privileged and not Give Americans any space as they continue to believe and seek to exercise their millennia-old religious belief that marriage and sexual relations are limited to the union of a man and a woman,” he wrote.

When he confirmed his appointment to the court, his then-employer raved about him, calling him “the first confirmed judge to enter the federal judiciary directly from a religious liberty law firm.”

“Matthew’s confirmation is a major victory for religious liberty practitioners, demonstrating that principled lawyers can zealously advocate for the rights of religious minorities, conscientious objectors, and faith-based ministries without forfeiting the opportunity to serve as a judge ,” said the First Freedom Institute in a statement.

Kacsmaryk is also a longtime member of the conservative legal group The Federalist Society and has served for Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas and the Republican governor of Texas, according to his responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Greg Abbott campaign.

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