Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court Nominee, Has Left Trail of Opinions on Health Care and Pharma Issues

Kavanaugh has urged judges to defer to the FDA and other scientific agencies, and sided with the FDA in a case over whether the agency should be forced to provide access to an unapproved drug.

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July 10, 2018
statnews.com
News Politics

Editor's Note: While Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has not ruled on cannabis-related issues, per se, his past judicial orders on health care issues may provide insight as to how he will influence the court--in the event that the U.S. Senate confirms him.

WASHINGTON — Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has left a trail of rulings and opinions concerning the Food and Drug Administration, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers in his dozen years on the District of Columbia circuit court.

At one point, Kavanaugh urged judges to defer to the FDA and other scientific agencies, largely on the grounds that courts could not compete with the agencies’ expertise. He also sided with the FDA in a case over whether the agency should be forced to provide access to an unapproved drug.

Kavanaugh, whom Trump announced as his second nominee to the nation’s highest court on Monday, has sat on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006. Health care, broadly, is expected to figure heavily into the Senate’s fight over his confirmation: specifically, whether Kavanaugh would support upholding provisions that guarantee insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing health conditions, and whether he would rule in cases involving access to abortion.

But the 53-year-old Yale Law graduate already has a wealth of experience in other cases of varying political importance and obscurity within the health care industry.

In 2007, Kavanaugh was among an 8-2 majority when the D.C. Circuit Court upheld a ruling that terminally ill patients had no constitutional right to access unapproved drugs.

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Headshot courtesy of Wikimedia Commons