Lawyer Monthly - April 2022

MONTHLY ROUND-UP On 25 February, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, elevating a Black woman to the country’s highest court for the first time in its history. The Sackler family, the founders and owners of pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma LP, have reached an agreement with a group of attorneys general to pay up to $6 billion in cash to resolve widespread litigation claiming they fuelled the US opioid crisis. Image by Wikicago - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, KETANJI BROWN JACKSON BECOMES FIRST BLACKWOMAN ON US SUPREME COURT SACKLER FAMILY TO PAY $6BILLION FOR ROLE IN USOPIOIDEPIDEMIC Jackson is slated to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer, the most senior jurist in the Supreme Court’s threemember liberal wing. Breyer is set to retire this summer, at the end of the court’s current session. Jackson presently sits on the US court of appeals for the DC circuit, having won bipartisan approval during her Senate confirmation last year when she was elevated from the federal district court in the District of Columbia by the US president. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Attorneys general for eight US states and the District of Columbia, who blocked a previous settlement involving a $4.3 billion cash payment, announced the deal following several weeks of mediation with the Sackler family. The Sacklers agreed to pay a minimum of $5.5 billion in cash to be used to help ease the US opioid crisis. According to figures from 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the Jackson clerked for Breyer during the Supreme Court’s 1999-2000 term. Highlights of Jackson’s legal career thus far include her work as a public defender and her 2012 nomination to serve as a judge for the United States district court for the District of Columbia by President Obama. 25 February marks two years to the day since Biden pledged to make history by nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Biden made his vow during the 2020 primary debate in South Carolina. LM past year, with an estimated 9.7 million people misusing prescription pain relievers. In a statement, the Sackler family said that they “sincerely regret” that OxyContin — an opioid painkiller produced by Purdue Pharma — had “unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis.” The Sacklers said that, while they acted lawfully, a settlement was the best way to help resolve the US’ public health crisis. LM 6 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | APR 2022

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