Transcript for Supreme Court appears torn over opioid settlement
- Justice, Justice, can't you see!
ANDREW DYMBURT: The Supreme Court seems divided as it reviews a landmark bankruptcy settlement for Purdue Pharma. That's the company behind the powerful painkiller OxyContin, linked to tens of thousands of overdose deaths. The justices heard arguments yesterday over whether the owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, can be protected from future lawsuits under terms of the settlement.
CLARENCE THOMAS: Why is it that you're able to come in and undo something that has such overwhelming agreement?
JOHN ROBERTS: It seems to me that that's a fairly clear case for the application of what is called our major questions doctrine.
ANDREW DYMBURT: Under the bankruptcy deal, the Sackler family would pay about $6 billion to settle lawsuits with opioid victims and state governments. But the Biden administration says, by guaranteeing immunity, the deal violates federal law. Justice Elena Kagan questioned whether the government should end an agreement that was approved by opioid victims.
ELENA KAGAN: It's overwhelming the support for this deal and among people who have no love for the Sacklers, among people who think that the Sacklers are pretty much the worst people on Earth. They've negotiated a deal which they think is the best that they can get. So I'm wondering why one nutcase holdout should hold up something like this?
ANDREW DYMBURT: But Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson questioned why the deal needed to be reached in bankruptcy court. Members of the Sackler family have denied wrongdoing, saying the company developed OxyContin to help families.
How the justices rule on this issue could have major implications on other bankruptcy cases. The court's ruling, meanwhile, is expected next June.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.