AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A hearing surrounding the preliminary injunction motion in the Amarillo abortion-related lawsuit in Amarillo Federal Court has been scheduled for Wednesday morning.
According to documents filed Monday afternoon, Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, the judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division, will hear oral arguments on the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in Amarillo Federal Court.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a nonprofit organization located in Amarillo, filed a lawsuit in Amarillo Federal Court with a group of doctors and other associations against the United States Food and Drug Administration surrounding the use of Mifepristone, or Mifeprex, and Misoprostol for chemical abortions.
The documents state that each of the parties are being allocated two hours to argue their respective sides in this case. Kacsmaryk said that the parties “should be prepared to discuss, explain and argue any issue raised by the briefing, including but not limited to:”
- Standing: associational, organizational, zone of interests;
- Reviewability: reopening doctrine, Heckler v. Chaney, exhaustion;
- Subpart H: history, text, applicability and implementation;
- Agency Decisions: restrictions, labels, elements and conditions;
- Harm: irreparability, deference and third-party interests;
- Public Interest: public health; police power and FDA policymaking;
- Remedies: injunction, vacatur, withdrawal and/or suspension.
How did we get here?
The plaintiffs in the case are asking Kacsmaryk to suspend the U.S. FDA’s approval of this treatment and/or put back safeguards surrounding the use of the treatment they allege were taken away. The defendants responded at the time that the treatment is effective and safe, as it has been since 2000 when it was first approved for sale, and how it continues to be under revised conditions.
Since that initial complaint, both sides argued surrounding if an injunction hearing and a trial, in this case, should be brought together. According to previous reports, Kacsmaryk ruled in late February that the injunction hearing and trial will be separate, explaining that it is “generally inappropriate for a federal court at the preliminary injunction stage to give a final judgment on the merits” of a case.
Monday’s filing comes after a group of media outlets, including NBCUniversal News Group, to which KAMR Local 4 News is affiliated, filed an objection in the abortion-related lawsuit in Amarillo Federal Court. This objection is related to an article in the Washington Post, which was posted on Sunday, alleging that Kacsmaryk said during a conference call that a hearing in the case, scheduled for Wednesday, would not be placed on the docket until late Tuesday “to try to minimize disruptions and possible protests.”
What did the objection say?
According to an objection, filed in Amarillo Federal Court on Monday, a number of media outlets, including the Washington Post, NBCUniversal News Group, Gannett Co. and ProPublica, Inc., “object to the Court’s decision to delay docketing of the notice of an upcoming hearing in this case and its request that the parties not make the hearing schedule public before it is docketed…”
Through this objection, the media organizations are urging the court to “immediately docket notice of the hearing reportedly scheduled for Wednesday… and, in the future, to promptly docket notices of further proceedings in this case.” The documents read that delaying notice is unconstitutional, limiting members of the public and the press access to the proceedings.
“Across the ideological spectrum, the public is intensely interested in this case,” the documents read. “The Court’s delayed docketing of notice of Wednesday’s hearing, and its request to the parties and their counsel not to disclose the hearing schedule publicly, harm everyone, including those who support the plaintiffs’ position and those who support the defendants’ position.”
The objection goes on to say that while there are concerns surrounding security, they said there is no reason to believe that the security plan in place is insufficient to protect those in the hearing, as well as court staff.
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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