Thursday, June 13, 2024

FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine Opinion

This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion on FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

Excerpted from the Syllabus:

Held: Plaintiffs lack Article III standing to challenge FDA’s actions regarding the regulation of mifepristone. Pp. 5–25.

(a) Article III standing is a “bedrock constitutional requirement that this Court has applied to all manner of important disputes.” United States v. Texas, 599 U. S. 670, 675. Standing is “built on a single basic idea—the idea of separation of powers.” Ibid. Article III confines the jurisdiction of federal courts to “Cases” and “Controversies.” Federal courts do not operate as an open forum for citizens “to press general complaints about the way in which government goes about its business.” Allen v. Wright, 468 U. S. 737, 760. To obtain a judicial determination of what the governing law is, a plaintiff must have a “personal stake” in the dispute. TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 594 U. S. 413, 423.

To establish standing, a plaintiff must demonstrate (i) that she has suffered or likely will suffer an injury in fact, (ii) that the injury likely was caused or will be caused by the defendant, and (iii) that the injury likely would be redressed by the requested judicial relief. See Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 555 U. S. 488, 493. The two key questions in most standing disputes are injury in fact and causation. By requiring the plaintiff to show an injury in fact, Article III standing screens out plaintiffs who might have only a general legal, moral, ideological, or policy objection to a particular government action. Causation requires the plaintiff to establish that the plaintiff ’s injury likely was caused or likely will be caused by the defendant’s conduct. Causation is “ordinarily substantially more difficult to establish” when (as here) a plaintiff challenges the government’s “unlawful regulation (or lack of regulation) of someone else.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 560–561. That is because unregulated parties often may have more difficulty linking their asserted injuries to the government’s regulation (or lack of regulation) of someone else. Pp. 5–12.

(b) Plaintiffs are pro-life, oppose elective abortion, and have sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to mifepristone being prescribed and used by others. Because plaintiffs do not prescribe or use mifepristone, plaintiffs are unregulated parties who seek to challenge FDA’s regulation of others. Plaintiffs advance several complicated causation theories to connect FDA’s actions to the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries in fact. None of these theories suffices to establish Article III standing. Pp. 13–24...

[R]eversed and remanded.

Read the full opinion here.

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