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.
Subscribe to JURIST Legal News feed
A second federal judge has signed off on a revised settlement [settlement, PDF] in a suit that had accused the New York City Police [official website] of illegally surveilling Muslim communities in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. Judges Chen and Haight were the judges for href="https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/raza-v-city-new-york-complaint">Raza v. City of New York [complaint] and Handschu v. Special Services Division [case materials], and both had to sign off on the revised settlement before it could take effect. The finalized settlement...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] has upheld [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling allowing a Texas school board to open their meetings with a student-led public prayer. By affirming the lower court ruling, the Fifth Circuit held [Fox News report] Monday that the prayers are not unconstitutional as government-established religion. The case is a result of a lawsuit by the American Humanist Association [advocacy website] and a graduate of Birdville High School, the school...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday upheld [opinion, PDF] copyright protections for features incorporated into the design of useful articles. The court ruled 6-2 in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. [SCOTUSblog materials] in favor of Varsity Brands in a patent infringement lawsuit concerning patterns typically fit for cheerleading uniforms. The suit was brought to determine the proper test for implementing "separate-identification and independent-existence requirements" as mandated by USC 17 § 101 [text]. The court held that...
Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday signed into law a bill [Senate Bill 519, PDF] that separates the celebrations of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate General Robert E Lee. King and Lee were both born in mid-January and up until the bill was signed, the state of Arkansas celebrated both men on the same day. The law now allocates days several months apart for each, making Lee's day of recognition the second Saturday in October, which...
Education and parent groups filed a lawsuit [complaint] on Wednesday to prevent the Michigan government from using certain public funds for private schools. The suit is a response to the state's education budget [materials], which allocates $2.5 million for reimbursements to private schools for the cost of meeting state requirements, such as health and fire codes, immunizations and building codes. Opponents like Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) [advocacy website] Executive Director Chris Wigent say [press release] the allocation violates...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corporation [SCOTUSblog materials], a case involving the authority of bankruptcy courts. The case involves a trucking company seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy [US Courts backgrounder] protection, which was being sued by truck drivers for failing to provide legally-required notice of their dismissal. The bankruptcy court approved a dismissal of the case allowing the company to distribute its assets to high-priority secured creditors and low-priority unsecured creditors...
The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitation, Léo Heller [official profile], on Tuesday urged the international community involved in development cooperation to work toward ensuring that people everywhere have rights to water and sanitation [press release]. Heller stated that development programs for developing countries can better achieve these rights if they are guided by a human rights approach. He further urges that these programs prioritize helping the most disadvantaged groups and for states to develop strong...
The Mississippi Senate [official website] on Tuesday approved a bill [text, PDF] that would prohibit cities in the state from passing so-called "sanctuary" laws limiting how local government groups cooperate with federal immigration agencies. The bill defines a sanctuary policy as one that(a) limits or prohibits any person from communicating or cooperating with federal agencies or officials to verify or report the immigration status of any person; or (b) grants to any person the right to lawful presence or status...
The Oklahoma House of Representatives [official website] passed HB 1549, known as the the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2017 [text, PDF], on Tuesday, which would prohibit abortions because of Down's Syndrome or genetic abnormalities of the child. According to the legislation, any doctor who knowingly violates the law would be liable for damages and risk losing his or her medical license. The bill also places fines of $10,000 on any person who attempts an abortion in violation of the law....
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Tuesday that members of the Libyan National Army (LNA) may have committed war crimes [press release] in Benghazi on and around March 18. Benghazi has been center of stand-off between the LNA and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) for almost two years. On March 18, dozens of civilians attempted to flee the Ganfouda neighborhood of the city. Some of the civilians were accompanied by BRSC soldiers. Relatives of some of the civilians...
Former South Korean president Park Geun-Hye [BBC profile] met with The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office [official website] for several hours on Tuesday in connection with the ongoing corruption probe. Park began the day by giving an apology [Arirang report] in front of the media. Park previously refused to speak [Yonhap report] with prosecutors, citing her presidential immunity. However, since her removal from office, she has agreed to cooperate with the investigation into the misappropriation of funds resulting in allegations...
The Pakistan National Assembly voted [bulletin, PDF] Tuesday to renew an amendment [text, PDF] to the country's constitution [text] that allows military tribunals to oversee civilians accused of terrorist-related crimes. Pakistan first made the amendment following an attack [Al Jazeera report] on a school in 2014. But critics, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] have called [press release] on Pakistan to end the use of military court on civilians, saying it violates the the rule of law and...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments Tuesday in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker and Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. [dockets]. In Microsoft Corp. v. Baker [SCOTUSblog materials] the court heard arguments [transcript, PDF] on whether a federal court of appeals has jurisdiction to review an order denying class certification after the plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims. Petitioner argued that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction in cases where plaintiffs dismiss their claims with prejudice, as allowing for...
The Senate Judiciary Committee continued confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Gorsuch faced numerous questions [USA Today report] and concerns by Democrats on issues of abortion, gun control and campaign spending. Gorsuch refused to answer many of these questions stating that his personal views were irrelevant and that he would keep an open mind and rule fairly based upon the facts and law of each case. However, Gorsuch did state [Politico...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC [opinion, PDF]—a patent infringement case—vacating a portion of the opinion and remanding it to a lower court. In SCA Hygiene [SCOTUSblog materials], the defendant, who is accused of infringing on a patented adult hygiene product design, was attempting to use the defense of laches despite the plaintiff filing suit within the six-year statute of limitations. The court rejected that...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Tuesday by making a statement [text] emphasizing the importance of curtailing hate speech. Highlighting the racially motivated atrocities occurring worldwide, Zeid noted how several reputable organizations have reported an increase in hate crimes, potentially due to racially charged rhetoric. He cited examples from the US:FBI figures indicated a rise in hate crimes nationwide in 2015, a year...
[JURIST] The Texas Senate [official website] approved bills on Wednesday that would prevent doctors from encouraging abortions to avoid lawsuits from birth defects and to require doctors to ensure a fetus is deceased before performing certain procedures. Texas Bills 25 and 415 [texts] now move to the Texas House of Representatives [official website]. The bills have been met with protests [Huffington Post report]. In addition Representative Jessica Farrar [official profile] has introduced a bill [Times report] to fine men $100...
Utah Governor Gary Herbert [official website] on Monday signed [press release] amendments to SB 196 [text], repealing language that barred "advocacy of homosexuality" in Utah public schools. The bill was amended to bar advocacy of "any premarital or extramarital sexual activity," and continues to bar public school teachers from encouraging students to use contraceptives. The bill's signing was celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocacy groups in Utah, while Herbert's signing was not accompanied by any kind...
[JURIST] The Ganges and Yumana rivers were granted the same legal rights as people by the high court [official website] in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on Monday. The two rivers are considered sacred by Indians but have faced harm from widespread pollution. The court cited [Guardian report] New Zealand's recent granting of legal person rights to the Whanganui River [JURIST report]. The rivers and their tributaries are [AP report] "legal and living entities having the status of a...
[JURIST] Republican lawmakers on Monday released two amendments [press release] to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) [materials], the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [materials], in an effort to appeal to both conservative and liberal critics. Besides some technical and policy changes [materials, PDF], the bill also incorporates recommendations from Republican officials and the House Budget Committee [official website], which approved [JURIST report] the original bill last Thursday. The bill dictates that ACA taxes on the health...

Pages