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Roe overturned, Theranos trial, EPA rights: 3 legal stories to watch

·Reporter
·3-min read
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On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned nearly 50-year-old precedent guaranteeing the right to an abortion, but the justices aren't finished yet. This week, they're expected to issue a ruling that will affect the government's ability to regulate emissions that contribute to climate change.

Aside from the Supreme Court opinions, this week a jury could reach a verdict in the criminal fraud case against the former COO of defunct blood-testing startup Theranos. Here's more on what we're watching:

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

This week, we're keeping an eye on the corporate response to the Supreme Court's decision Friday to withdraw the constitutional right to abortion by overturning its landmark 1973 holding in Roe v. Wade.

In the hours immediately after the release of the court’s 6-3 majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, dozens of U.S. corporations — including Microsoft (MSFT), Netflix (NFLX), Lyft (LYFT), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Disney (DIS), and Mastercard (MA) — publicly affirmed corporate policies that would make it easier to obtain an abortion. The businesses are offering worker benefits that include time off and travel expense reimbursement for those blocked from obtaining local abortion care due to the decision.

Anti-abortion demonstrators and abortion right activists protest outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, June 25, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Anti-abortion demonstrators and abortion right activists protest outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, June 25, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Joe Biden on Friday also pledged to keep U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception and abortion medication accessible to Americans. The administration has urged Congress to pass legislation protecting the right to abortion and possibly make abortion medication available over the counter — though Congress isn't expected to pass either measure amid partisan gridlock.

Theranos trial

Lawyers for Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former president, boyfriend, and right-hand of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, rested their case on Friday, following 11 hours of closing arguments in the criminal fraud trial stemming from the collapse of the blood-testing startup.

Balwani’s fate now rests in the hands of 12 jurors deciding 12 combined counts of wire fraud and conspiracy brought by the U.S. Justice Department back in 2018.

Balwani and Holmes once stood at the helm of the now-shuttered, infamous company that promised to overhaul the blood testing industry by processing hundreds of individual patient diagnostic tests using just a drop or two of finger stick blood. Prosecutors say Balwani and Holmes defrauded investors and customers by misrepresenting the capability and reliability of the company’s tests.

In January, a separate jury that weighed nearly identical charges against Holmes returned guilty verdicts on three counts of criminal wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against investors.

EPA’s future

Before its summer recess, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision in West Virginia v. U.S. Environmental Agency, a dispute over the EPA's authority to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.

If the court restricts the EPA's ability to police carbon emissions, it could hinder the Biden administration's ability to enact its agenda to fight climate change. The dispute prompted tech giants including Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) to file a "friend of the court" brief urging the high court to rule in the EPA's favor.

The tech companies wrote in the brief that they "believe that both corporate and regulatory action are necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and have a strong interest in implementation of sound public policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.

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