The US Federal District Courts have 670 Article III judges (that is, Senate-confirmed, lifetime-appointed), almost all of them competent and conscientious jurists. They make mistakes sometimes, for which we have nine Circuit Courts of Appeals, and ultimately, the Supreme Court. In the entre history of the US, the US Senate has convicted only 8 Federal judges in impeachment trials, the most recent, Thomas Porteous for perjury, in 2010
XPOTUS appointee Matthew Kacsmaryk, of the Northern District of Texas, apparently wants the 9th slot:
The competition is fierce and will remain so, but for now he holds the title: worst federal judge in America.
Not simply for the poor quality of his judicial reasoning, although more, much more, on this in a bit. What really distinguishes Kacsmaryk is the loaded content of his rhetoric — not the language of a sober-minded, impartial jurist but of a zealot, committed more to promoting a cause than applying the law.
In an opinion released Friday, Kacsmaryk invalidated the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion drug mifepristone and, for good measure, found that abortion medications cannot be sent by mail or other delivery service under the terms of an 1873 anti-vice law.
Before being nominated to the federal bench by President Donald Trump in 2017, Kacsmaryk served as deputy general counsel at the conservative First Liberty Institute. He argued against same-sex marriage, civil rights protections for gay and transgender individuals, the contraceptive mandate and, of course, Roe v. Wade.
A trio of law professors writing in Wired take a step back but agree that Kacsmaryk went far beyond his authority:
[W]e would like to offer some clarification here. Because despite the barrage of predictions that this case could ban mifepristone and take it off the market, there are several basic legal principles suggesting that Judge Kacsmaryk’s power is limited and that a ruling for the plaintiffs will not necessarily change much at all with medication abortion.
First, as an amicus brief from FDA law scholars (including one of the authors of this piece) makes clear, Congress crafted procedures by statute for the FDA to use to withdraw approval of a drug. Judge Kacsmaryk cannot force the FDA to adopt another process to do the same—doing so would violate federal law. At best, he should only be able to order the agency to start the congressionally mandated process, which involves public hearings and new agency deliberations. This could take months or years, with no guarantee of the result.
Second, even if Judge Kacsmaryk forgoes this process and rules that the FDA’s approval was unlawful and that mifepristone is now deemed a drug without approval, he cannot force the FDA to enforce the decision. Because the FDA does not have the capacity to enforce its statute against every nonapproved product on the market, it has long been settled law, decided in a unanimous 1985 Supreme Court decision, that the agency has broad enforcement discretion, meaning the agency, not courts, gets to decide if and when to enforce the statute.
Times columnist Kate Shaw agrees:
The Biden administration should be swift and forceful in its response to Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling, using every tool available to highlight the lawlessness of what the judge has done and to limit any damage that may occur.
Despite the Dobbs majority’s claim that overruling Roe and Casey would merely return the issue of abortion to the people and the democratic process, these plaintiffs seem driven by a single goal, one that has nothing to do with respecting democratic choices: to render abortion as inaccessible as possible in as much of the country as possible, even in states whose voters have elected to make abortion legal and accessible.
Much of the opinion is tonally shocking and medically unsound. Rather than using the term “fetus,” it refers exclusively to “unborn children” and “unborn humans.” It describes mifepristone as used to “kill” or “starve” a fetus, rather than end a pregnancy. It accuses the Biden administration of promoting “eugenics” for identifying the harms to families and existing children that flow from women being denied access to wanted abortions.
[T]he White House must recognize that adherence to well-worn norms — for instance, an orderly appeals process — is less consistent with a principled commitment to the rule of law than more aggressive responses to lawlessness.
The Religious Right knows it doesn't have the votes to prevail on the merits--especially since the "merits" of their arguments around abortion rest on assumptions that most people do not accept. And being religious makes them inflexible, which in turn makes them put their religious goals ahead of everything else, including the law and the lives of people who disagree with them.
When people lose, they get desperate. So while Kacsmaryk's ruling won't survive on appeal, you can bet he, and his co-religionists, won't stop trying to impose "god's" will on everyone else.