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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[JURIST] Spain's Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday withdrew [court order, PDF, in Spanish] a European arrest warrant seeking the deportation of Carles Puigdemont [profile], the former President of Catalonia, and four former Catalan officials. The deposed officials fled to Belgium [JURIST report] after Spanish courts found the October Catalan independence referendum was unconstitutional and constituted acts of sedition by Catalan officials. Puigdemont has stated he would return to Spain if guaranteed a fair trial. Judge Pablo Llarena's...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] said [press release] Tuesday that he could not rule out that genocide is occurring in Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslim minority. During statements to a special session of the UN Human Rights Council [official website], the High Commissioner stated that whether elements of genocide are present "is a legal determination only a competent court can make ... but the concerns are extremely serious, and clearly call for access...
Austria's Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [text, PDF, in German] Tuesday that a 2009 law that allowed same-sex couples to enter registered partnerships but not to get married was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the 2009 law violated the constitution by discriminating against same-sex couples. The repeal of the 2009 law will take effect at the end of December 31, 2018. The repeal will allow same-sex couples to get married and allow mixed-sex couples to enter registered partnerships....
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments in two cases Monday, including a Tenth Amendment challenge to a federal sports betting prohibition. The first case, Christie v. NCAA [docket], was brought by the governor of New Jersey, challenging [SCOTUSblog report] the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) [text], which prohibits betting in sports played at the amateur and professional levels. The New Jersey legislature passed a law in 2014 to repeal the prohibitions on sports betting...
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) [HRW backgrounder] government recruited former M23 rebel fighters to protect President Joseph Kabila [BBC profile] after protests broke out last December over his refusal to step down at the end of his constitutionally mandated two terms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] Monday. During December of last year, at least 62 people were killed and hundreds were arrested. The M23 fighters were granted authority to use lethal force if any resistance was...
The US Supreme Court on Monday allowed enforcement of the Trump administration's revised travel ban [JURIST news archive] pending further court proceedings. Here is the order [text, PDF] staying the lower court decision in Trump v. Hawaii [docket], currently pending before the Ninth Circuit. Here is the order [text, PDF] staying the lower court decision in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project [docket], currently pending before the Fourth Circuit. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have denied both...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Friday petitioned [text, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official website] to block an order [text, PDF] from Judge William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website], to produce additional documentation regarding suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [official website] program, which gives undocumented immigrants brought into the US as children, status known as Dreamers, protection from deportation. The order requested the...
The US Supreme Court on Monday let stand [order list, PDF] a Texas Supreme Court ruling that did not extend spousal benefits to same-sex couples under employee insurance plans. The case began in 2013 when Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks sued the city of Houston after the city's mayor gave municipal spousal benefits, health and life insurance, to same-sex married couples. In 2015 the US Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage. Texas' 14th Court of Appeals said the...
The US Supreme Court [official site] granted certiorari Friday in Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District v. SolarCity Corporation [docket] where it will determine '[w]hether orders denying state-action immunity to public entities are immediately appealable under the 'collateral-order doctrine'. The plaintiff in the case, SolarCity, is a corporate subsidiary of the electric car company Tesla [corporate website] that manufactures, sells and installs solar panels that reduce the amount of electricity its customers have to purchase from traditional providers....
Charlottesville authorities failed to protect public safety and free speech during the August white supremacist rally that turned deadly, according to an independent report [text, PDF] by US Attorney Timothy Heaphy [profile] found that , citing breakdowns in planning and coordination. Heaphy revealed that Virginia state police and police chief Al Thomas refused to make commanders available for interviews following the rally, made officers wary of retaliation for speaking with investigators, and that Thomas deleted text messages relevant to the...
Judge Pablo Llarena of the Supreme Court of Spain [official website, in Spanish] on Monday ordered the continued detention [press release, in Spanish] of four members of the Catalan National Assembly [official website, in Spanish] while allowing six other members freed on bail. The four men held in detention are former vice-president of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras, former interior contractor Joaquim Forn, and leaders of Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. The judge had considered that...
The US Supreme Court on Monday denied review [order list, PDF] in the Alabama death penalty case of Floyd v. Alabama [SCOTUSblog materials] in which attorneys argue that African-American jurors were improperly excluded from the jury. The petitioner, Christopher Floyd, was tried by an all-white jury in a county in which 26 percent of its residents are African-American. Floyd's attorneys stated that the prosecutor struck 10 out of the 11 qualified African-American potential jury members and that the prosecutor marked...
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson [official profile] on Sunday informed [statement] the UN of the US' withdrawal from participation in the UN process to develop a Global Compact on Migration (GCM) [official website] The GCM is the first, intergovernmentally negotiated agreement "to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner." Tillerson's decision to withdraw cites "inconsistent" policy goals between the US and the GCM, as the GCM negotiation process will be based on the New...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled [judgment, PDF] Friday in favor of the Yukon First Nations in their action to fight the Yukon government's proposed plan to allow further economic development of the Peel Watershed. The court declared that the government's plan did not act in accordance with guidelines authorized in the Umbrella Final Agreement [text, PDF], which established a collaborative regional land use planning process that was adopted in modern...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: Qualcomm [corporate website] filed three lawsuits [complaint, PDF; complaint, PDF; complaint, PDF] against Apple [corporate website] Thursday, seeking compensation for alleged patent infringement. According to Qualcomm, Apple uses technologies that Qualcomm first marketed in the 1990s. [more] Former national security advisor to Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty [plea agreement, PDF] Friday to charges of making false statements to the FBI. [more] The US House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday...
The US Senate [official website] approved some version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act [official materials] by a vote of 227-205 [roll call] early Saturday morning. The Senate's consideration of the proposed legislation began at 10:00 am Friday, and more than 200 amendments [official materials] were considered as part of the final bill, some of which are surely part of what the Senate now must take to conference with the House of Representatives. As of late Friday evening, the...
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled [judgment, PDF] Friday in favor of the Yukon First Nations in their action to fight the Yukon government's proposed plan to allow further economic development of the Peel Watershed. The court declared that the government's plan did not act in accordance with guidelines authorized in the Umbrella Final Agreement [text, PDF], which established a collaborative regional land use planning process that was adopted in modern land claims agreements between Yukon, Canada and the First...
Former national security advisor to Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty [plea agreement, PDF] Friday to charges of making false statements to the FBI. The charges [information, PDF], brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller [official website], are related to two specific statements that Flynn made to the FBI. In the first statement Flynn made on December 29, 2016, Flynn denied making a request to a Russian ambassador to "refrain from escalating the situation" after the US imposed sanctions on Russia...
A Missouri judge on Wednesday upheld [opinion, PDF] the $110 million jury award in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and talc supplier Imerys Talc. The suit alleged [Reuters report] that four decades of using Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products resulted in 62 year-old Lois Slemp's ovarian cancer diagnosis. In May, the St. Louis Circuit Court jury deliberated for 10 hours before reaching a verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc. This ruling was called into question following...
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Georgia [official website, in Georgian] on Thursday decriminalized [press release, in Georgian] marijuana usage. The suit was brought in opposition to article 273 [text, PDF] of the Georgia criminal code, which punished marijuana usage without a doctor's prescription. The suit referenced article 16 of the Constitution of Georgia, which grants the right to free personality. The article imposes fines, jail time or socially useful labor onto people who use marijuana without doctor permission....

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