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Need A Little Catharsis? Fed Judge Rips Obama Admin A New One Over Plan B

May 7, 2013

Judge Korman – Our Hero!

When is a Reagan appointee more progressive than the entire Obama administration? When it’s District Court Judge Edward Korman giving the administration the what for after they defied his previous ruling that Plan B emergency contraception should be available without a prescription and to all ages. (Which is the same conclusion the FDA had come to after doing some science and whatnot; but which was then overruled by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius  after the administration did some political calculations of its own.)

This morning, Korman repeatedly slammed his hand down on the table for emphasis, interrupting the government counsel’s every other sentence with assertions like, “You’re just playing games here,” “You’re making an intellectually dishonest argument,” “You’re basically lying,” “This whole thing is a charade,” “I’m entitled to say this is a lot of nonsense, am I not?” and “Contrary to the baloney you were giving me …” He also accused the administration of hypocrisy for opposing voter ID laws but being engaged in the “suppression of the rights of women” with the ID requirement for the drug. (Salon – emphasis mine)

Yes! Even though no one on either side of the case had made the argument about the requirement for photo ID, Judge Korman had the vision to point out the hypocrisy.

He cited Brennan Center statistics — which he said Eric Holder had also cited in a speech before the NAACP — showing that 25 percent of African-Americans of voting age don’t have a photo ID, and also dismissed the government’s suggestion that 15-year-olds, who usually aren’t eligible for a driver’s license, could use a birth certificate, since that’s not a photo ID. ”You’re disadvantaging young people, African-Americans, the poor — that’s the policy of the Obama administration?” (He didn’t mention it, but immigrants would also face additional barriers.)

Our man Korman also did a little detective work of his own, noting that the request by the manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, for the 15 year age limit which was approved by the Obama administration this week was actually initiated by the Obama administration itself, for political rather than scientific reasons.

The government has said it put the age cutoff at 15, because Teva had asked them to in their petition. But Korman said that in previously unreleased correspondence between the FDA and Teva, the government had specifically instructed the company to reapply in that fashion after rejecting its first attempt to lift all age restrictions. When he tried to read aloud from one of those documents, a tense standoff resulted, in which Teva’s representative cut in and insisted that the correspondence was confidential. But Korman did get as far as, “We are amending our application to address the Secretary’s stated concern …” In other words, the new restrictions were apparently initiated by the Obama administration as a compromise move.

The Judge even took issue with the up to $50 price tag on Plan B, calling Teva Pharmaceuticals “price gougers”.   “Tell me about the public interest. Is there a public interest in unplanned pregnancies? Some of which end in abortions?”

I think I’m in love.

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