Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:

Today, the Supreme Court will decide whether to freeze a court order out of Texas that revokes FDA approval of the abortion drug Mifepristone.

  • The justices were expected to issue an order in the case by Wednesday evening, but they delayed their decision and extended access to Mifepristone until tonight.
  • On April 7, federal district judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued an order revoking approval of the pill. After a quick appeal process in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to block Kacsmaryk’s order from taking effect while the merits of the case are considered. Through their lawsuit, the anti-abortion challengers are ultimately seeking permanent revocation of FDA approval of the drug, but at this stage of the litigation, Kacsmaryk had granted a preliminary injunction. If the justices decline to freeze Kacsmaryk’s order, then Mifepristone would lose its FDA approval for now.
  • Before the Supreme Court got involved in the Texas case, a separate, ongoing case pertaining to Mifepristone in Washington state had created confusion over the status of the drug’s approval. In that case, federal district judge Thomas Rice twice upheld FDA approval of the drug as it pertains to 17 states and the District of Columbia (the parties in that lawsuit). The Supreme Court is expected to address these juxtaposing court orders.

Fox News will pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle the voting machine company’s defamation lawsuit.

  • In the lawsuit, Dominion accused Fox of defaming the company by spreading misinformation about the 2020 election. The company said that Fox cast Dominion as the “villain” of the 2020 election in order to lure viewers to the network “by intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump’s loss by rigging the election.” 
  • The settlement is the largest publicly-disclosed monetary settlement in a defamation case in U.S. history. In a statement announcing the settlement, Fox acknowledged “the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.”
  • The settlement was announced just as a multi-week trial was set to begin. Witnesses who were expected to be called to testify at trial included, among others, chairman of FOX corporation Rupert Murdoch, and Fox hosts Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo. As the trial approached, Dominion had publicly released a plethora of internal communications that showed, among other things, that Fox employees expressed doubt about the validity of Trump’s and his allies’ claims, but spoke of the coverage of those topics and appearances by these controversial guests as “gold” for ratings.
  • Fox is also facing another defamation lawsuit, which was brought by voting technology company Smartmatic USA and contains similar allegations. Dominion is also pursuing a separate defamation lawsuit against a different network, Newsmax.

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