Another recusal?

cjrobertsThe new scuttlebutt on blogs like Drug and Device Law Blog and the BLT is about the potential for another high court recusal – this time in one of the biggest cases on the docket.

pfizerChief Justice John G. Roberts owns stock in drug company Pfizer. Pfizer recently acquired drugmaker Wyeth – the same Wyeth that is a party in the case Wyeth v. Levine, which will determine if FDA approval of a drug trumps plaintiff’s ability to bring state tort claims arising from prescription-related injuries.

Attorney Seth Waxman, representing Wyeth, sent a letter to the Court saying he didn’t believe recusal was necessary, because the procedures involved in the sale means that it won’t be final until sometime this summer – long after the case is decided.

As Drug and Device Law Blog points out, the justices customarily vote on cases after they are heard in oral argument, and Wyeth was heard back in November, long before the acquisition was announced. Still, whether the events will affect the chief’s participation remains to be seen.

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