University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck fired back at a controversial Trump-appointed judge on Wednesday for personally attacking him in a recent court decision.
Anti-abortion groups challenging the FDA's approval of an abortion-inducing drug filed their lawsuit in Amarillo, Texas, since the Trump-appointed U.S. district judge that hears 95 percent of the cases filed in the city is known to be a champion of conservative causes.
Writing in Slate, Vladeck said that Texas and other red states have steered dozens of lawsuits to Amarillo with "no logical connection" to the city, adding that "it’s part of a broader pattern of judge-shopping — where plaintiffs steer cases to the same isolated geographical venues and then publicly admit that the reason they’re doing it is because by filing in those jurisdictions, they know which judge they’ll draw."
The judge Vladeck is referring to is Matthew Kacsmaryk, who is considering a case on whether to issue a nationwide ban on the most common form of abortion medication "in a lawsuit that could’ve been brought anywhere in the country" -- but was brought to Amarillo specifically so Kacsmaryk — whose anti-abortion views are well known -- would hear it.
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"If all Judge Kacsmaryk did in his Tuesday ruling was deny the DOJ’s motion to change venue in the ESG case, it wouldn’t be much of a story," Vladeck writes. "But in the course of rejecting the DOJ’s arguments, Kacsmaryk decided to come after me—even though I’m not involved in that case in any way."
"First, he dismissed the (incontrovertible) evidence of Texas’ behavior as 'an amicus brief filed by a professor with a Twitter account.' Leaving aside that the amicus brief to which he’s referring, once again, was filed in a different court in a different case, this clumsy attempt at a burn (lots of professors — and lawyers — have Twitter accounts) never comes close to addressing the substance of my trifling little tweets. If I had posted my data to a more academic site, would it somehow be more compelling?" Vladeck continues.
Vladeck says Kacsmaryk then took a more personal shot at him by name-dropping the late Texas Law Professor Charles Alan Wright, saying the late professor would be above taking his grievances to Twitter. Vladeck points out that he currently holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law.
"It’s hard to say what exactly Kacsmaryk intended to convey by name-checking the man whose chair I have the honor of holding; no doubt it was meant as another fire-emoji-level burn of me personally," he writes. "But it’s a remarkably childish and churlish shot for a sitting federal judge to take at a non-party for the sin of amassing accurate data in support of a position he doesn’t like."
Vladeck writes that it says a lot about a judge who would "go out of his way to try to denigrate someone with no direct involvement in a case before him for no other reason than scoring points (on Twitter, one presumes) and auditioning for a promotion in the next Republican administration."
Read the full article over at Slate.