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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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] lifted an injunction [opinion, PDF] Thursday on a Mississippi law that critics say allows individuals, including government employees, to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for religious reasons. According to a legal analysis [text, PDF] from Columbia University [official website], House Bill 1523 [text], or the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, "strips Mississippians of applicable anti-discrimination protections in order to accommodate the preferences of...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that the proper review forum when the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) [official website] dismisses a mixed case on jurisdictional grounds is district court. The decision comes out of Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board [SCOTUSblog materials], a case concerning a federal employee who had a complaint of both adverse employment accusations and that those accusations were based on discriminatory grounds, otherwise known as a "mixed case." If a federal...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-3 Friday in Murr v. Wisconsin [SCOTUSblog materials] that the lower court was correct in determining that a Wisconsin family's property was a single unit and the government's action did not constitute a "taking." The Murrs, owners of two adjacent properties together totaling just under one acre, sought a variance permitting them to sell one lot and remain domiciled in the other. A city ordinance requires that two adjacent parcels be...
Thailand's parliament unanimously approved national strategy legislation on Thursday which will provide the military with political influence for at least 20 years. The National Strategy Act will create a committee [Reuters report], led by coup leader Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC profile], that will collaborate with future cabinet members to revise national strategy plans every five years. The committee will also consist of military leaders, business and industries representatives, and other experts. Critics of the legislation say it is a...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday for an immigrant who had received poor legal advice from his counsel. The petitioner in Lee v. United States [SCOTUSblog materials] came to the US from South Korea in 1982 and found success as a businessman. In 2009 he was charged with possession of ecstasy with an intent to distribute. Concerned for his residency status in the US, Lee took the advice of his lawyer who told him he would...
A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] signed an order [text] on Thursday accepting major revisions to Arizona's death penalty procedures. The order provides such changes like eliminating paralytic drugs for lethal injections, providing witnesses with more access to watch prisoners inside the death chamber, limitations on the department director's authority to change drugs, and time allotted to prisoners to challenge any drug changes. The changes are the result of a settlement reached...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] on Thursday accused [press release] the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of backing "Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations." According to HRW, the UAE claims that the it provides financial and military aid to the Yemeni troops under the guise of fighting ISIS. However, HRW has traced the disappearance or arbitrary detention of 38 individuals to Yemeni troops backed by the UAE. The UAE...
[JURIST] A panel consisting of three judges from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] affirmed [opinion, PDF] all but one conviction of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted [JURIST report] in 2015 for disclosing classified information to a journalist. The information was about national defense strategy in Iran. The panel reversed one of the convictions on the grounds of improper venue. Sterling argued that some of the evidence had been improperly admitted by...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that where there is a public-trial violation during jury selection the defendant must demonstrate prejudice to secure a new trial if the issue is raised as an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim. Members of the public were not permitted to enter the courtroom during two days of jury selection for Weaver v. Massachusetts [SCOTUSblog] materials because the room could not accommodate all the potential jurors. The petitioner's lawyer failed to object to a...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Thursday that naturalized citizens may not be stripped of their citizenship status based on false statements that were immaterial to becoming a citizen. The court held that in order to secure a conviction for violating 18 USC §1015(a) [text], the statute governing unlawful procurement of citizenship, the government must show that the alleged illegal act actually contributed to the obtaining of citizenship. In the case at hand, Diana Maslenjukan, an...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday upheld the convictions [opinion, PDF] of several men who robbed, raped, kidnapped Catherine Fuller in the District of Columbia in 1984. Twenty-five years after being convicted in Turner, et al. v. United States [opinion, PDF], Turner and several other defendants moved to have their sentences vacated on the assertion that the government violated the rule of law from Brady v. Maryland [opinion, PDF] by withholding exculpatory evidence. The case was decided on...
Senate Republicans unveiled their version of a health care bill [text, PDF] Thursday, proposing numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text]. The bill will repeal many of the ACA's measures [WP report] including the tax increases it enforced to pay for itself and Medicaid [official website], essentially giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. The fines imposed by the individual mandate [NYT report] will also be eliminated. The 142-page bill is expected to be voted on next week....
A Jerusalem court [government website, in Hebrew] ruled on Wednesday that El Al Airline [corporate website] employees cannot ask women to change seats to accommodate men. Recently there has been an increased number [NYT report] of disruptions on flights due to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women for fear of inadvertently touching them during a flight. The issue, some argue, is emblematic of the growing tension in Israel between gender and religion in public spaces. The...
A federal judge approved [order, PDF] a settlement Tuesday between the family of Michael Brown and the city of Ferguson, Missouri. The settlement was approved [NPR report] by Judge E Richard Webber of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri [official Website], and details of the settlement agreement will remain sealed. Webber stated, "disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators."...
Venezuela's Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday allowed an investigation into the country's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, for "alleged commission of serious offenses in the exercise of office." The investigation was initiated by claims from Pedro Carreño, a lawmaker from President Nicolás Maduro's political party, who has accused Ortega of being mentally ill. Ortega has recently become a vocal opponent of Maduro. Ortega has denounced crackdowns on protesters, denounced the court's efforts to remove power from the Venezuelan...
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against three of the largest opioid manufacturers on Wednesday. Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson and units of Endo International Plc. [corporate websites] are accused of violating consumer protection laws by deliberately and carefully crafting a "campaign of deception." The complaint alleges that the companies employed deceptive trade practices and cited fake research to convince doctors and consumers that their products were safe despite knowing they were addictive...
Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] has temporarily halted decisions regarding a deal to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia until it can establish who has jurisdiction over them. The Egyptian government transferred the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, based on the belief that they had always belonged to Saudi Arabia. In June 2016 the transfer was invalidated [JURIST report] by a lower court in Cairo but that decision was overturned by...
Brazilizn federal police announced on Tuesday that they found evidence that President Michel Temer [Britannica profile] received bribes to help businesses. Temer has been under investigation since a wealthy businessman provided testimony implicating Temer in a bribery scandal and alleging Temer took endorsement hush money. Temer continues to deny the accusations and refuses to resign. In a report, the federal police say they have enough evidence [AP report] to warrant a formal investigation into the president by the Supreme Court...
The Arizona Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Tuesday that deferred undocumented immigrant students are not entitled to in-state tuition. The ruling overturns a trial court judge's 2015 decision [opinion, PDF] that students under protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [USCIS materials] program were considered legally present in the US and therefore qualified for state benefits. According to Judge Kenton Jones [official profile], the DACA program does not grant legal status, but allows each...
The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [judgement, PDF] Wednesday that vaccines can be blamed for causing illnesses even if there is no scientific proof. In a press release [PDF], the court explained:In today's judgment, the Court holds that evidentiary rules allowing the court, where there is not certain and irrefutable evidence, to conclude that there is a defect in a vaccine and a causal link between the defect and a disease on the basis of a set of...

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