JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington [official website] on Monday denied a motion for summary judgment [opinion] filed by two psychologists who devised the torture techniques used on three former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisoners, allowing the case to proceed to trial. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed the lawsuit [JURIST report] in 2015 against psychologists James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, who allegedly designed and persuaded the CIA to...
Mauritania [BBC country profile] conducted a referendum on Saturday to abolish the senate and to change the national flag. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz applauded the vote [Reuters report] and and said the move to abolish the governing body would improve governance by introducing more local forms of lawmaking. Opposition to the president's administration boycotted the vote and said that the referendum would give the president too much power, allowing him to extend the number of terms he is allowed...
Mayor Rahm Emanuel [official website] and the City of Chicago sued [press release] the Trump administration Monday to stop the implementation of policies that would withhold federal funds from so-called "sanctuary cities." The complaint [complaint, PDF] claims that the the new policies would require Chicago to choose between individuals' constitutional rights and funding for law enforcement. According to the complaint, the policies would enact two new requirements for Chicago and other sanctuary cities in order to receive funding, (1) to...
An inquiry conducted by the Myanmar government has found no crimes against humanity [press release, in Burmese] were committed during violent clashes in Rakhine state last year, Vice President Myint Swe said Sunday. Speaking to reporters at the release of the Rakhine Investigative Commission's final report, Swe denied allegations [AP report] of ethnic cleansing and gang rapes. He did concede that some crimes may have occurred, but attributed them to individual members of security forces. The Myanmar government's commission has...
[JURIST] Nonreligious anti-abortion organizations must follow the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate, ruled [opinion, PDF] a split panel in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] on Friday. The court rejected Real Alternative Inc.'s [advocacy website] argument that its religious beliefs should create a religious exemption and also that there was a substantial burden on the organization to follow the mandate.The fact that the Government may require insurers to offer coverage for expenditures for certain...
[JURIST] Increasing violence in the Kasai provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has become more ethnic-based, according to a report released [press release] Friday by a team of UN human rights investigators. The UN team based their findings on the interviews of 96 people who have fled the violent region, confirming that over the course of three months around 251 people were victims with an alarming number of child killings. Violence in the region broke out in...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined forces with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the National Immigration Law Center [advocacy websites], and Jenner and Block, LLP [official website] on Thursday in filing a petition for mandamus and complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief [complaint, PDF] against the US State Department [official website] for refusing to process immigrant visa applications of the 2017 US Diversity Visa Program [USCIS backgrounder] lottery winners coming from the six countries covered by President Donald Trump's [official...
At a Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] briefing [press release, video] on Friday Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official profile] condemned the "staggering number of leaks" of "sensitive government information" and threatened to investigate and prosecute anyone who carries out such leaks in the future. Specifically, Sessions stated [press release] that the DOJ "will not hesitate to bring lawful and appropriate criminal charges against those who abuse the nation's trust." In making this statement, Sessions made a reference to "reports...
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Friday overturned [opinion, PDF] the murder conviction of a former Blackwater Worldwide security guard and ordered resentencing of three others for the killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007 [NYT report]. Nicholas Slatten, a former Army sniper, was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] for firing the first fatal shots. The other three men, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday remanded [order, PDF] transgender student Gavin Grimm's case [JURIST news archive] against the Gloucester County School Board [official website] in order to determine whether the matter is now moot. Because Grimm graduated from Gloucester High School [official website] on June 10, the Board is now arguing that there is no longer an "actual controversy," a requisite for all stages of judicial review, as the school's bathroom...
[JURIST] The parents of eight-year-old transgender student Nicole Brar brought a discrimination suit against Nicole's private school, Heritage Oak Private School [school website], located in Yorba Linda, California, and the school's parent company, Nobel Learning Communities [corporate website] Wednesday. The complaint, filed by the pro-bono organization Public Counsel [advocacy website], alleges [complaint, PDF] that the school made Nicole wear a boy's uniform, called her by the wrong name, prohibited her from using the girls' restroom, and did nothing to prevent...
[JURIST] A Bangkok court acquitted two former prime ministers and two police officers of abuse of power on Wednesday. Former prime ministers Somchai Wongsawat and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh were accused [AP report] of authorizing the police to use brutal force against an anti-government protest in 2008 when Somchai was prime minister and Chavalit was his deputy. More than 400 protesters were injured [Bangkok Post report], and two were killed. The court found that there was no conclusive evidence that police weapons...
[JURIST] The Chilean Congress [official website, in Spanish] passed a bill late Wednesday night [press release, in Spanish] that would legalize pre-viability abortions, abortions in instances when the pregnancy resulted from a rape, and when the pregnancy poses a threat to the mother's health. The 70 to 45 vote was the result of a year-long struggle by pro-life Chilean senators. Currently, Chile is one of a few nations where abortion is illegal in all instances. The bill must now obtain...
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his support [press release] for a Senate bill to cut immigration levels over a decade. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Georgia Senator David Perdue introduced [press release] the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act [text, PDF] to "spur economic growth and raise working Americans' wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration by half." Cotton said that the bill's objective is to...
The Jordanian parliament [official website] on Tuesday narrowly voted to repeal Article 308 [text, in Arabic] of the penal code, which permitted rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims. Rights groups applauded the decision, calling it a step forward in ending violence against women [Reuters report], especially in Middle Eastern countries where girls and women were offered as gifts to their rapists to avoid family shame. Though the Jordanian Cabinet voted to revoke [JURIST report] the law in...
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed [press release] legislation imposing new sanctions against Russia and limiting the president's ability to ease existing sanctions. The legislation [HR 3364 materials] also imposes sanctions against North Korea and Iran. In a statement [press release], Trump said that while he supports "tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior ... this legislation is significantly flawed." A separate White House statement criticized the legislation for limiting the president's authority:Still, the bill remains...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] found former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty [order, PDF] of criminal contempt on Monday. The court found Arpaio did not comply with a court order to stop detaining Latinos based solely on their immigration status. The matter was presented before Judge Susan Bolton, a senior federal judge with the District Court for the District of Arizona. Bolton found that Arpaio, "willfully violated the order by...
[JURIST] The US Department of the Treasury [official website] imposed sanctions [press release] against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Monday. The sanctions will freeze all of Maduro's assets that are subject to US jurisdiction and will prohibit any US citizens from doing business with him. As a de facto result of being sanctioned, Maduro will also be barred from accessing US financial and commercial systems. The sanctions came one day after Venezuela's controversial election [JURIST report] for a new assembly...
The French government and the Calais region are to furnish water and sanitation to migrants in the area, France's highest administrative court, the Conseil D'Etat [official website, in French] ruled [judgment, in French] Monday. The county has said that it will also open two new reception centers about an hour from Calais in Bailleul and Troisva. These immigrants are primarily on their way to the UK but face rough conditions that were heavily criticized in the "Jungle" migrant camp [JURIST...
The UK High Court [official website]rejected [judgment, PDF] a "crime of aggression" allegation Monday against former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official website] by a former Iraq General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat. The two justices dismissed the claim as UK law does not recognize a crime of aggression:The existence of such difficulties cannot in any way justify the domestic courts of England and Wales departing from the clear principle that it is for Parliament to make such conduct criminal...

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