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
The US Supreme Court [official website] agreed Monday to review Gill v. Whitford [docket; order, PDF], a partisan-gerrymandering case from Wisconsin. The state is appealing the decision of a three-judge panel for the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin [official website], which struck down [order, PDF] a redistricting map that was created by the state's Republican-controlled legislature on the grounds that it was a product of partisan gerrymandering. The Supreme Court also put the lower court's order...
The US Supreme Court [official website] held [opinion, PDF] on Monday that California courts lack specific jurisdiction to hear the claims brought against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) [corporate website]. BMS manufactures and sells Plavix, a prescription drug that prevents blood clots by thinning the blood. Nearly 700 plaintiffs, only 86 of whom are California residents, filed eight separate complaints in California Superior Court [official website] asserting that the drug had damaged their health. The court looked to "settled principles" to...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 4-2 Monday in Ziglar v. Abbasi [SCOTUSblog materials] that Muslim men detained in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks cannot sue top US officials. The three consolidated cases center on the arrest and detention of Middle Eastern men illegally present in the US when they were arrested for immigration violations. The men claimed that former US attorney general John Ashcroft, former FBI director Robert Mueller and a former Immigration and Naturalization...
The US Supreme Court [official website] held [opinion, PDF] on Monday in Packingham v. North Carolina [SCOTUSBlog materials] that North Carolina's statute § 14-202.5 [text], which banned sex offenders from using commercial websites accessed by minors, violates the First Amendment [text]. The statute was implemented to protect young adults from predatory practices often employed by sex offenders who target minors. The court found that the statute was too broad for the purpose of preventing recidivism and that barring the usage...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday in Matal v. Tam [SCOTUSblog materials] that a law prohibiting disparaging trademarks is a violates the First Amendment [text]. The Lanham Act [text] provides that no trademark shall be refused registration on account of its nature unless, inter alia, it "[c]onsists of ... matter which may disparage ... persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute." The US Patent and Trademark Office...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] stated [HRW report] on Friday that millions of pregnant and married girls across Africa are being denied education due to discriminatory policies. More than 49 million girls in sub-Saharan African are out of primary or secondary school, with another 31 million out of post-secondary education. Early marriage and teenage pregnancy are leading factors for girls leaving school. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of girls marry before their 18th birthday, and in 14 sub-Saharan nations, 30-51%...
The Cuban government on Saturday responded to President Donald Trump's decision to reverse steps taken by the Obama administration to thaw relations between Cuba and the US. Last Friday, Trump announced that travel and commerce between the countries will be restricted until Cuba resolves its human rights abuses. According to Trump, the Cuban government is guilty of various abuses such as the imprisoning of civilians, harboring of criminals, and support of human trafficking, forced labor and exploitation.The Cuban government responded...
A special anti-terrorism court in Mumbai, India found six men guilty yesterday [Indian Express report] for the 1993 terrorist bombings in Mumbai [BBC backgrounder], then called Bombay, where almost 300 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. The special court was formed under the order of the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act(TADA) [official text], a controversial law that has allegedly led to the violation of human rights. The court has scheduled a proceeding for later this month to determine...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Thursday called on [press release] the government of Nigeria to conduct an investigation into the actions of the military that occurred during and throughout the conflict with Boko Haram. AI issued a comprehensive report [PDF] in 2015 detailing the alleged abuses thousands have suffered by the hand of the Nigerian military due to the conflict, and the most recent call to action is in response to an investigative panel the Nigeria government put together...
President Donald Trump [official profile] signed an executive order [text] on Thursday, titled "Expanding Apprenticeships in America," shifting the federal government's responsibility of creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs to third party private entities such as businesses, nonprofit organizations, and unions. Under this new system, the third party entities can set their own standards for success and submit their metrics for approval to the Department of Labor [official website]. Stressing the high cost of higher education in today's economy, the order...
A bipartisan group of state attorney generals from Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas on Thursday announced joint investigations [press release] into the marketing and sales practices of the manufacturers of opioid painkillers. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey [official website] stated: "The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that is claiming lives in our state and across the country, and we want to assure our residents that we are doing all that we can to combat it." In Massachusetts the...
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] announced in a memorandum [text, PDF] on Thursday that it will keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [materials] program in place for the foreseeable future. DACA allows for immigrants who came to the US as children, known as "Dreamers," to obtain work permits and remain in the country legally. According to the New York Times [report], though, the White House and the DHS said Friday morning that the statements made...
A UN-appointed panel of experts released its findings [UN report] from an investigation regarding human rights violations in Burundi on Thursday. According to the experts, these human rights violations include illegal executions, torture, inhumane treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, and orchestrated kidnappings. The experts also attest that many of these violations were committed by members of the National Intelligence Service, police, and occasionally the Imbonerakure, who are youth members of the ruling party. The investigation began...
The Canadian Senate [official website] on Friday approved Bill C-16 [materials], adding "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the list of federally prohibited grounds for discrimination under Canada's Human Rights Act. In an official statement [press release] from the Justice Department of Canada [official website] the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, said:The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that everyone can live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose....
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official profile] allowed a bill that permits public hospitals, mental health facilities and other health-providing facilities to ban concealed weapons, to become law on Thursday without his signature. HB 2278 [text, PDF] was passed by Senate [JURIST report] on a 24-16 vote. Brownback, a strong gun rights advocate, in a criticized the bill [text, PDF] for restricting gun owners' rights, but also noted there are safety concerns at mental hospitals by allowing guns into the facilities....
Japan's parliament, the National Diet [official website], passed a controversial "anti-conspiracy" bill on Thursday aimed at improving security and combating terrorism. Critics of the new bill, including the Japanese Bar Association and aUN Special Rapporteur [official website], worry it will be used to curb civil liberties and infringe on privacy rights. The law [BBC report] amends an existing regulation against organized crime groups, which are defined as two or more people, by outlining 277 acts which can be prosecuted under...
[JURIST] Texas Governor Greg Abbott [official profile] signed an adoption bill into law on Thursday that allows adoption agencies receiving public funding to refuse to place children in adoptive families or foster homes that conflict with the agencies' religious beliefs. The bill passed [JURIST report] in the Senate in May. The law states [text], "A child welfare services provider may not be required to provide any service that conflicts with the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs." Civil rights groups believe...
[JURIST] Six individuals joined with several civil rights groups, including Black Lives Matter Chicago [advocacy website], to file a federal lawsuit against Chicago, accusing the city police force of racial discrimination against African Americans and Latinos. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking [complaint, PDF] "a city-wide, class action injunction prohibiting the abusive policies and practices undergirding the alleged constitutional and state law violations alleged herein." The alleged violations include, among others, a system of racial discrimination within the...
The European Court of Justice [official website] on Thursday ruled [press release, PDF] that the BitTorrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay (TPB) [website], is directly infringing on copyright laws. TPB allows users to share and download movies, television shows and audio files. Unlike earlier piracy websites, such as Napster [official website], TPB does not host files or link to them. Instead, it connects users directly to share files, most of which are copyrighted. The court held that operators of the...
Three Kentuckians filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Wednesday against Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear [official websites] challenging the state's criminal ban on medical marijuana. Dan Seum Jr., 59, Amy Stalker, 37, and Danny Belcher, 69, claim they rely on medical marijuana [AP report] for relief of ailments such as chronic pain and irritable bowl syndrome. Stalker, who moved back to Kentucky to help support her ailing mother, was prescribed marijuana while living in Colorado. Since moving,...

Pages