Tennessee Joins Amicus Brief Asking Supreme Court to Rein in Administrative State

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 03:56pm

NASHVILLE- On Thursday, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti joined a coalition of 22 state Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v U.S. Food and Drug Administration, urging the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to uphold the people’s constitutional authority to make laws through their elected officials.

"This case is about protecting the authority of the people of Tennessee to govern themselves,” Attorney General Skrmetti said in a statement. “In our system, major policy decisions are made by the people through their elected representatives and decisions about abortion law are made by state governments. The U. S. Constitution prevents federal bureaucrats from undermining Tennessee’s Human Life Protection Act no matter how much they disagree with it.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently took action to enact a nationwide elective abortion policy despite not having statutory authority. In doing so, the FDA illicitly disregarded interests that are the primary responsibility of states and voters. If allowed to continue, the FDA’s actions would effectively overrule the will of the people of Tennessee and The Volunteer State’s Human Life Protection Act via an illegal end run around the Constitution.

In the brief, the Attorneys General wrote, “Congress has never enacted—and could not now enact—any such policy. Yet the FDA does not just claim authority to impose such a policy. It demands ‘significant deference’ to its actions imposing that policy,” among other reasons listed in the brief.

Further explaining why it is essential that SCOTUS uphold the separation of powers, the Attorneys General argued, “Our Constitution establishes a limited federal government that leaves most power with –and accountable to – the people. Federal agencies present special risks to that design.”

The brief continued, saying, “The FDA’s actions here push constitutional bounds. Those actions test the separation of powers, sap federalism, and take important decisions from the people.”

Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming joined General Skrmetti on this brief.