New Jersey Gov. Murphy threatens to defy Supreme Court if it strikes down approval of abortion drug

May 19, 2023
Ben Marquis

Democrats have spent the past several years incessantly attacking the authority and legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court over their purely partisan displeasure with the current ideological balance of the bench that leans in favor of conservatives and Republicans.

Now Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has clearly insinuated that he and his state may openly defy the Supreme Court if it doesn't rule the way that they want on an abortion-related case, Breitbart reported.

"Everything is on the table"

Gov. Murphy on Wednesday appeared on MSNBC to discuss abortion rights with host Katy Tur, who made reference to the possibility that the Supreme Court could rule in a way that strikes down the federal government's approval of an abortion-inducing drug known as mifepristone.

Asked if there was anything that he as a governor could do in that situation, Murphy referenced the conservative-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently heard arguments in the case, and said, "Oh my Lord. I listened to your reporters talk about some of the positions these judges in New Orleans are taking.

"We’ve gone to the CEOs of both Walgreens and CVS to make sure that we had unencumbered access. We have considered a bulk acquisition. We have clearly joined in legal action as an amicus matter," the governor stated. "Everything is on the table, and please, God, it doesn’t come to that, but we will continue to fight it like heck."

In reference to Murphy's mention of obtaining a "bulk acquisition" of mifepristone, Tur asked, "Would you be then prescribing it out in defiance of the Supreme Court?"

"To be determined. But when I say everything is on the table, Katy, I mean that," Murphy replied as he went on to call out other states that have imposed restrictions on abortion procedures more broadly.

"But this is going to cost people’s lives. It’s going to cost them health," he added. "It’s also going to cost people’s lives, women in particular, sadly. And so, if that’s what’s at stake, we’ll do whatever it takes to save lives."

Supreme Court has allowed use of the drug to continue for now

The sharp focus on and threat of defiance against the Supreme Court, while predictable, is also seemingly misplaced, particularly given the fact that the high court recently had the opportunity to strike down the approval of mifepristone but actually did the exact opposite.

SCOTUSblog reported in April that the Supreme Court had picked up and granted an emergency request from the Biden administration to issue a stay against a federal district court judge in Texas who ruled that the Food and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone had been unlawful and should be suspended.

That hold from the Supreme Court on the Texas district court's ruling meant that the abortion drug, which works in conjunction with a second drug known as misoprostol to induce abortions, would remain available to all while the ruling was appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

Virtue signaling from the governor

CNBC reported that Gov. Murphy's remarks about possibly defying a hypothetical future Supreme Court ruling he would disagree with came shortly after a Fifth Circuit panel of judges heard oral arguments in the case.

Interestingly enough, Murphy's threat of defiance may actually have been mere virtue signaling and much ado about nothing, as it has been broadly noted -- including by conservative Justice Samuel Alito -- that the drug could likely still be used even if the courts strike down its approval, as the FDA retains full discretion on whether or not to take enforcement actions against states and entities in that regard.

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