Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Credit Where Due. Maybe.

Justice Clarence Thomas has been the unwitting beneficiary of quite a bit of criticism in these virtual pages. So we must give him proper credit for his concurring opinion in Wyeth v. Levine, No. 06-1249. The basic issue was whether a plaintiff could bring a state law tort claim based on a faulty drug label where the FDA had approved the label in question. Six justices said yes. Three said no. And Justice Thomas did something not enough judges do. He supported a legal result that (probably) contradicts the public policy result that he would (probably) prefer and voted with the majority. So: GOOD JOB Justice Thomas.

If you want to be all cynical about it, ask yourself if Justice Thomas would have taken this principled stand if he'd been the fifth vote for the plaintiff here. Was Justice Kennedy's vote the platform that enabled Justice Thomas to leap out into the abyss? Just askin'.

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