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Elena Kagan on Health Care

 


Helped plan legal defense of ObamaCare

Conservative interest groups and Republican lawmakers want Justice Elena Kagan off the health care case, complaining that the Justice Department has not fully revealed Kagan's involvement in planning the response to challenges to the law.

Kagan was Obama's solicitor general before he nominated her last year to take the seat of Justice John Paul Stevens. She testified during her confirmation hearing in 2010 that she "attended at least one meeting where the existence of the litigation was briefly mentioned, but none where any substantive discussion of the litigation occurred." Kagan left the administration in August, about five months after the health care overhaul became law. She said she would not take part in cases in which she "participated in formulating the government's litigating position."

Conservatives point to Kagan's email exchange about an upcoming vote on the legislation in the House of Representatives. "I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing," she said.

Source: Mark Sherman, Associated Press in Salt Lake Tribune , Nov 26, 2011

Broad Congressional power for commerce, like ObamaCare

In a case that may affect the healthcare overhaul, the justices vote 7 to 2 to give Congress 'broad authority' to enact all laws that are 'necessary and proper' to carrying out its constitutional power. The Supreme Court set a potential blueprint Monday for upholding the recently enacted healthcare law and its mandate that all Americans have insurance, saying Congress has a "broad authority" to pass laws that are "rationally related" to its constitutional aims.

The case was the first clear test of federal authority to come before the high court in five years, and was argued just as Congress neared final passage of the broad healthcare law. In January, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, now President Obama's nominee to the court, appeared before it to defend a broad reading of congressional power in the Comstock case.

Source: David Savage, Los Angeles Times, "Sex offendors" , May 15, 2010

Congress did not intend disparate result on generic drugs.

Justice Kagan joined the concurrence on PLIVA v. MENSING on Jun 23, 2011:

Plaintiffs were prescribed a brand name drug for which pharmacists substituted a generic drug, which the FDA had approved under the process federal law authorized for generics. Plaintiffs were diagnosed with a disorder linked to the extended use of the drug. They filed state tort law claims against the manufacturers of the generics, alleging failures to label their products with a warning of known risks. The generics carried the same warnings as the brand name and, the manufacturers argued, since federal regulations required the generics to have the same warnings as the brand name, compliance with a state law requiring different warnings was impossible.

HELD: Delivered by Thomas; joined by Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy & Alito

Generic manufacturers were forbidden to change unilaterally the label warning of the drug. Plaintiffs argued that the manufacturers could have complied with both state and federal law by following the process federal regulations set out of proposing stronger warnings to the FDA (which they did not), after which the FDA might have decided to negotiate a label change with the brand name manufacturer that the generic manufacturers would have been required to adopt. The Court found that
  1. state law required a stronger warning
  2. federal law prohibited a stronger warning, and
  3. requesting the FDA to authorize a stronger warning
was not enough to comply with state law requiring a stronger warning. Federal and state laws conflict when it is impossible to do what both laws require. It was impossible for the generic manufacturers to comply with both laws. Since federal law preempts conflicting state law, the manufacturers may not be sued on these state law claims.

DISSENT: Sotomayor dissents; joined by Ginsburg, Breyer & Kagan

Congress could not have intended the result that brand name drug consumers may sue manufacturers for failure to warn, while the much larger class of generic drug consumers may not.
Source: Supreme Court case 11-PLIVA argued on Mar 30, 2011

Other Justices on Health Care: Elena Kagan on other issues:
Samuel Alito
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
Clarence Thomas

Former Justices:
David Souter
Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist
John Paul Stevens

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Page last updated: Jul 11, 2013