The Chicago Journal

Abortion drug advocated for restrictions

Abortion — An anti-abortion organization petitioned the Supreme Court on Tuesday to keep limits on the abortion drug mifepristone in place while the pill’s legality is debated.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily relaxed the restrictions on Friday at 11:59 p.m. The date is Wednesday.

The decision was taken as a reaction to an emergency request from the Justice Department and Danco Laboratories, the corporation in charge of distributing mifepristone.

The Justice Department and Danco both requested the Supreme Court to expedite its assessment of the case and make a conclusion before the summer vacation.

The Supreme Court, which has a conservative 6-3 majority, may rule on the issue.

The Comstock Act

If the case is considered, the Alliance Defending Freedom group has petitioned the Supreme Court to examine the Comstock Act of 1873.

Mifepristone mailing is practically prohibited under the Act.

If the complaint is heard, the anti-abortion organization will urge the court to investigate whether the FDA lawfully allowed mifepristone in 2000.

Mifepristone is frequently used with another medication, misoprostol.

In the United States, it is the most prevalent technique of terminating a pregnancy, accounting for more than half of all abortions.

If lower court findings against mifepristone are upheld, abortion access might be restricted, perhaps affecting areas where abortion is still legal.


The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a conservative Christian legal group created in 1994 to promote religious liberty, human life sanctity, and traditional marriage and family values.

ADF has defended individuals who allege their religious liberty has been infringed in a number of high-profile cases in the United States and across the world.

The organization offers legal advice and representation to people and groups and has been involved in abortion, marriage equality, and religious freedom disputes.

Many conservative and religious organizations have lauded the group’s efforts, while detractors accuse it of supporting discriminatory and exclusionary policies.

Read also: Navigating Child Therapy in Chicago: A Guide for Parents

FDA accusation

Attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom accused the FDA of improperly decreasing mifepristone limitations over time.

The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a collection of anti-abortion physicians, is represented by the organization.

Former FDA officials, the pharmaceutical industry, 23 states in the United States, hundreds of members of Congress, and major medical organizations have all officially disputed the allegations.

The FDA decided that mifepristone was both efficacious and safe after a rigorous scientific assessment.

When Congress authorized it, the deduction for drug control fell under its purview.

Former FDA officials and large pharmaceutical companies cautioned the Supreme Court in a second brief that lower court verdicts will drastically limit the FDA’s regulatory authority and hamper research, development, and investment in innovative therapies.

Suspension and blockade

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled earlier this month that the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, as well as subsequent FDA attempts to improve access to the medicine, were illegal.

However, the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FDA authorization while rejecting aspects of Kacsmaryk’s judgment.

Instead, they reinstated limitations on mifepristone use and distribution.

The appeals halted the mailing of mifepristone, requiring them to seek medical attention.

It also extended the period during which women may use the medicine, extending it until the seventh week of pregnancy.

Furthermore, in 2019, the Circuit halted the approval of GenBioPro’s generic mifepristone.


For the time being, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has overruled lower court findings, authorizing the administration of mifepristone.

Others, though, were upset with the choice.

The Alliance Defending Freedom’s attorneys, under Erik Baptist’s leadership, argued:

“Women will still have access to chemical abortion drugs under the same restrictions that existed for the first 16 years of mifepristone’s use.”

“The only effect of the lower court’s order is to restore a modicum of safety for the women and girls who use the drug, including supervision and oversight by a physician.”

Lower court rulings

In their emergency petitions to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department and Danco contended that the lower court rulings would effectively pull mifepristone off the market for months, despite the fact that the FDA would merely change the medication’s labeling to conform with the 5th Circuit’s judgment.

The lawsuit and lower court judgments have been highly disappointing, according to US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

It would also have far-reaching consequences for the pharmaceutical business, women’s health, and the FDA’s approval power.

The government also claimed that complying with the appeals court verdict would violate a competing court order issued by Judge Thomas Rice of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Rice has prevented the FDA from limiting mifepristone supplies in 17 states, including Washington, DC.

Flavored tobacco banned in California, stores required to add warning signs

Flavored tobacco: On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a request by RJ Reynolds to challenge a California law banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company

RJRT (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company) is the second-largest tobacco company in the United States.

The company’s cigarette brands account for over a third of the country’s cigarette sales.

RJRT offers products in all segments of the cigarette market and manufactures many of the best sellers in the United States, including:

  • Newport
  • Camel
  • Snus
  • Pall Mall

The ban

In November, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 31.

It bans the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

Menthol cigarettes are one of the company’s biggest sellers, and RJRT has argued that the new California law conflicts with tobacco control law.

The Tobacco Control Act provides authority for the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate the sale of cigarettes.

The court first passed the law two years ago.

However, the tobacco companies successfully funded a campaign blocking its implementation and raised the issue in the 2022 statewide vote.

The judges upheld the law without explanation or opinion from the public.

The ban will take effect on December 21.

The law

In November, Californians went to the polls to approve the ballot initiative by a majority of 63.5% to 36.5%.

The law, SB 793, states:

“Proposition 31 (SB 793) prohibits in-person stores and vending machines from selling most flavored tobacco products or tobacco product flavor enhancers.”

“The proposition does not ban shisha (hookah) tobacco sold and used at the store, certain cigars, or loose-leaf tobacco.”

Additionally, the law defines flavors as anything beyond the regular flavor of tobacco., including:

  • Fruit
  • Menthol
  • Honey
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla

The law imposes a $250 fine on store and vending machine owners who violate the requirements.


Lawyers for RJ Reynolds argued that the lower court wrongly ignored federal law and allowed states to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products outright because they failed to meet tobacco product standards.

Further, the attorneys noted that in 2009, Congress passed a sweeping regime to divide tobacco product regulatory powers between the FDA and state and local governments.

They also said the law gives the FDA primary authority to regulate tobacco products.

During the legal briefs, California urged the judiciary not to interfere in the dispute.

They argued that states had exercised their authority to protect the health of their citizens for more than a century.

California attorney Rob Bonta said the law was needed, saying:

“Flavored tobacco products are the central cause of unfavorable trends in youth addiction to tobacco.”

Bonta also pointed out that the tobacco industry spent tens of millions of dollars persuading voters to repeal California’s ban, which it did not.

Furthermore, the attorney said that when Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act 13 years ago, it protected established state authority over selling tobacco products.

Read also: Carvana faces bankruptcy after cutting workforce

California ban conclusion

Following the ban on flavored tobacco products, attorney Bonta applauded the Supreme Court for rejecting Big Tobacco’s recent attempt to block California’s common sense ban.

“The voters of California approved this ban by an overwhelming margin in the November election, and now it will finally take effect,” said Bonta.

“I look forward to continuing to defend this important law against any further legal challenges.”

Health warning signs

Last week, the Justice Department announced that cigarette manufacturers would be required to post warning signs at retail locations about the health effects of smoking.

The ordinance will come into effect on July 1, 2023.

It is the latest in a long line of court-ordered actions in a 1999 lawsuit against cigarette manufacturers.

Past lawsuit

The order stems from a 1999 lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia by a coalition of anti-tobacco and public health advocacy groups.

This led to a ruling that cigarette manufacturers were misleading consumers about the health risks of smoking.

Since 2017, similar health warnings have appeared in newspapers, television, cigarette packs, and company websites.

The order

The Justice Department order requires the following brands of cigarettes to show the signs for two years.

  • Philip Morris USA Inc
  • RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • Four cigarette brands under the ITG Brands

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta released a statement, writing:

“Justice Department attorneys have worked diligently for over 20 years to hold accountable the tobacco companies that defrauded consumers about the health risks of smoking.”

Read also: Cannabis shops to open in New York with challenges

The signs

The ordinance requires retail signs to have an eye-catching design that includes warnings such as:

“Smoking cigarettes causes numerous diseases, and on average 1,200 American deaths every day.”

“The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, and that cigarettes have been designed to create and sustain addiction.”

According to the Justice Department, the order applies to more than 200,000 outlets in the United States that have merchandising agreements with cigarette manufacturers.


Supreme Court declines to block California’s ban on flavored cigarettes

Supreme Court upholds California ban on flavored tobacco

Cigarette companies ordered to display health warning signs at retailers

Student loan blocked by Republicans

Student loan debt is a problem many American citizens face, but President Joe Biden has offered a policy of forgiveness.

However, a group of Republican-led states argued on Wednesday that the policy should be put on hold while related lawsuits unfold.

Additionally, they noted that the Biden administration had extended the pause in student loan repayments.

The argument

Republican states received an appeals court order blocking the implementation of the program.

They said the extension showed the court order in place would do no harm.

In a new filing, Republicans wrote:

“The Department [of Education] can point to no emergency or imminent harm because, just yesterday, the agency extended the payment pause on student loans until the summer of 2023.”

Read also: Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan faces lawsuit seeking to block his plan

Payments pause

Federal student loan payments were due to resume in January after a year-long pandemic hiatus.

On Tuesday, however, the Biden administration said the hiatus would extend to 60 days.

The extension will take place when the pending litigation of the forgiveness program is resolved.

If the program is not implemented and the dispute is not resolved by June 30, payments will resume after 60 days.

The filing

Wednesday’s filing comes in response to a request from the Biden administration asking the Supreme Court to lift the hold on the student loan forgiveness program.

The program would cancel up to $20,000 of credit to individual borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 and 2021.

Republican states also blamed the government’s reliance on the pandemic as an excuse to obscure Biden’s goal of fulfilling his campaign promise to pay off student loan debt.

Biden’s student loan policy was going to go in effect this fall.

However, the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit blocked it in a lawsuit raised by the following:

  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • South Carolina


The Circuit alleges that Miguel Cardona, Secretary of the Department of Education, overstepped his authority.

Cardona canceled individual debts while implementing the program.

They also allege that the department violated administrative law by launching the policy.

Additionally, the states point to a Texas federal judge’s ruling in a separate case that overturned student loan policies.

The administration, in turn, filed an appeal with the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to Wednesday’s filing, the ruling will remain even if the Supreme Court decides to lift the suspension.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration suggests bringing the case to the Supreme Court if the 5th Circuit allows the verdict to be overturned.

Read also: President Joe Biden announces plan to cancel some federal student loans

The student loan program

US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in the Supreme Court petition that suspending the program would leave millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo.

Additionally, people won’t know how much they owe and may be unable to make financial decisions without knowing their future repayment obligations.

Prelogar also explained that the program is a legal effort to ensure borrowers affected by a national emergency are not worse off with their student loans.


GOP-led states press Supreme Court to keep Biden student debt forgiveness on hold

J. Michael Luttig joins the battle against Trump’s attempt to overturn elections


In a surprising turn of events, retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig joins Trump’s efforts to have the election annulled.

Luttig is considered a legal celebrity in conservative circles.

It was recently revealed that he joined a voting rights group as co-counsel in a Supreme Court case.

The group is trying to persuade the justices to reject a legal theory adopted by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Capitol attack

The retired federal judge was instrumental in the attack on the United States Capitol last year.

He advised then-Vice President Mike Pence’s legal team against allegations by Trump allies, including attorney John Eastman.

Eastman argued at the time that Pence could block Joe Biden’s election confirmation.

J. Michael Luttig works with a voting rights group on a separate dispute.

Liberals fear leaving rogue state legislatures free to respond to federal election rules.

The issue at hand

J. Michael Luttig will confront the so-called independent legislation doctrine.

Supporters of the theory argue that state legislatures should be able to set rules for federal elections without being constrained by the state constitution.

“The independent state legislature doctrine was the centerpiece to Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election,” said Luttig in a Wednesday interview.

“I have believed since January 6th that I had a responsibility to the country to explain why I rejected the theory in advising the vice president.”

The electoral law landscape would fundamentally change if the Supreme Court in Moore v. Harper decided against J. Michael Luttig and his supporters.


The case is a North Carolina District redistricting dispute involving a lower court ruling invalidating the Congressional map.

The court slammed the map, calling it an illegal partisan Gerrymander.

They replaced it with a court-drawn map that was more pro-democracy.

Republican North Carolina legislature asks judges to beat the lower court

They alluded to the Constitution’s election clause, which states that rules for “elections” must be prescribed in each state legislature.

Using the theory, they argue that state lawmakers should be able to legislate without having to go through the courts.

Traditionally, lawmakers set ground rules for conducting an election, but they have not acted alone or with the last word.

Prepared procedures are prone to the intervention of electoral administrators and state courts.

However, the stricter reading of the independent legislature theory says that state courts should abstain from federal elections.

Most North Carolina Supreme Court justices said the legislature did not have full power to sign electoral maps.

Meanwhile, the state court agreed that the reorganization had been delegated to the legislature.

The court confirmed it had to be executed to comply with the state constitution.

Court papers and arguments

Republican lawmakers have appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the “text of the Constitution directly answers the question presented in this case” in the court documents.

The electoral clause guarantees “unambiguous language” for federal elections and clarifies that the rules are the legislators.

On Wednesday, J. Michael Luttig presented his side’s response on behalf of the Common Cause.

The common cause is the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The retired judge argued that the legislator’s interpretation of the electoral clause was contrary to the more fundamental premise of the Constitution.

J. Michael Luttig elaborated, saying:

“That a government’s power derives from ‘We the People’ and is limited by the constraints the people impose on their government.”

“Conferring power on the state ‘Legislature’ to regulate congressional elections does not nullify state constitutional limits on that power.”

John Eastman delivered a lengthy amicus briefing urging the justices to embrace the theory, although it lay dormant until after the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the Republican National Committee rejected Eastman’s arguments.

But they also want judges to adopt a version of the theory.

The hearing is set for December 7.


Retired Republican judge joins fight against ‘centerpiece’ of Trump’s effort to overturn election

Donald Trump’s request to intervene the Supreme Court’s Mar-a-Lago investigations gets rejected

In August, former President Donald Trump filed an emergency petition to mediate the controversy over the classified documents of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

However, the Supreme Court rejected his request on Thursday.

The request

Trump has asked judges to overturn a federal appeals court to allow a special master to review more than 100 confidential documents.

The move could have opened the door for his legal team to examine the data and give them reasons to argue that prosecutors should have barred them from a criminal trial.

Instead, the court rejected the request.

For the moment, the special master does not take possession of the acts.

Court decision

The decision pulled the court away from the political battle as the conservative-leaning 6-3 court approval ratings plunged to new lows.

Liberals, including President Joe Biden, have attacked the institution’s legitimacy.

The court order was issued during the House Investigative Commission hearing on the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The Justice Department has asked the court to stay out of the dispute while legal proceedings are underway, calling the records “extremely sensitive.”

Citing an earlier case in a written statement earlier this week, the DOJ stated:

“As this Court has emphasized, courts should be cautious before ‘insisting upon an examination of records whose disclosure would jeopardize national security ‘even by the judge alone, in chambers.'”


US District Judge Aileen Cannon recently issued two warrants.

She authorized a special master to examine the seized documents, including classified documents.

Previously, the judge temporarily ordered the Justice Department not to use the subset of documents in the ongoing criminal investigation.

However, at the request of the Department of Justice, a jury of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to freeze some of the injunctions among the pending cases.

Trump claimed that as a former president, he had the right to possess certain government documents.

He said the appeals court overruled his powers by ruling against him.

Last week, Donald Trump’s team told the Supreme Court:

“The Eleventh Circuit lacked jurisdiction to review, much less stay, an interlocutory order of the District Court providing for the Special Master to review materials seized from President Trump’s home.”

They also said Raymond Dearie, the senior US judge appointed special master, would be “substantially impaired” by an appeals court order.

The team added that this would slow down “ongoing time-sensitive works.”

DOJ filing

The filing reads:

“Any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a President’s home erodes public confidence in our system.”

US Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar said Cannon made a “fundamental error” in appointing a special master.

She also pointed out that the Justice Department is appealing the decision in lower courts.

Meanwhile, the DOJ argued that the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found that Cannon abused its discretion.

The record indicates that Cannon committed “a serious and unwarranted intrusion on the Executive Branch’s authority to control the use and distribution of extraordinarily sensitive government records.”

Cannon’s decision to block the Justice Department’s access to confidential information seized in Mar-a-Lago slowed their ability to work on the case and gave Trump a head start to fine-tune his defense.

The Justice Department also submitted its request to the Supreme Court “concerns an unprecedented order by the district court restricting the Executive Branch’s use of its own highly classified records in an ongoing criminal investigation and directing the dissemination of those records outside the Executive Branch for a special-master review.”


Supreme Court rejects former President Donal Trump’s request to intervene in Mar-a-Lago documents fight