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 Pennsylvania on Wednesday ruled [opinion, PDF] for the city of Philadelphia in a dispute over Attorney General Jeff Sessions withholding federal law enforcement grants in response to the city's refusal to adhere to his heightened immigration security measures. In granting Philadelphia's motion for preliminary injunction, the court stated, "[Session]'s implementation of two of the conditions for receiving the ... grant ... were issued without appropriate authority under the...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday accused [report] the Myanmar military of committing sexual crimes against Rohingya women and girls. HRW conducted interviews with 52 women and girls who fled from the Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships. Twenty-nine of them were identified as survivors of rape. Survivors reported experiences of gang rape, and murder of children and elderly.There was also one case of sexual violence against a male. In addition to interviewing 52 female refugees, HRW also consulted with 17 representatives...
An Egypt court on Wednesday upheld the life sentence [JURIST report] of 74-year-old Mohamed Badie, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood [party website], convicted in 2015 for his role in the 2013 attack on a Port Said police station that resulted in the death of five individuals. The court also upheld [Reuters report] life sentences against seven other individuals, while handing out 10-year sentences to 39 individuals and three-year sentences to 19 others. Badie and 88 other Muslim Brotherhood members were...
Attorneys general from 44 states on Tuesday signed a letter [text, PDF] asking Congress to repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act [text, PDF], which they claim prevents the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from using effective drug enforcement efforts. The National Association of Attorneys General sent the letter to Republican and Democratic leaders in light of an investigation earlier this year that revealed the disabling effects of the Act on the DEA in preventing pharmaceutical companies from...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] called [press release] Wednesday for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to deal with those protesting the general election time change in accordance with international human rights laws and standards. The protests are in response to a publication of the electoral calendar that stated the general elections would again be pushed back to December 2018. The original date for the presidential election was set to take place in...
Colombia's Constitutional Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled [judgment, PDF, in Spanish] that provisions for special justice tribunals outlined in the 2016 peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were constitutional. The Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace [text, English translation] is the second recent attempt to obtain peace between Colombia's government and rebel forces. Chapter 5 of this modified peace accord, Comprehensive System for Truth,...
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee [official websites], denying claims that he had misled Congress during his previous testimonies [JURIST report] regarding ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. In Sessions' last visit to Capital Hill, he had stated that he did not believe anyone from the Trump campaign had been in communication with Russian officials, was not aware of anyone else that did and did not think that it had happened....
The Supreme Court of Kenya [official website] on Tuesday rejecte [text, PDF] the participation of the main opposition coalition in petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta's [official website] victory in last month's repeat presidential election. This means that the National Super Alliance (NASA) [website] coalition will not be party to the petition challenging October 26 election. Kenyatta's lawyers objected to the participation of NASA, Kenyatta's primary political rival party, in the election challenge proceedings. Delivering rulings on preliminary issues, the court...
US Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch [official websites] on Tuesday released changes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act [texts]. The proposed tax structure still follows a seven tier tax bracket with tax rates of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 38.5% while altering the income bands to which those rates apply. These tax rates for individuals would then expire on December 31, 2025 and revert back to the current tax rates. The changes include removing the...
Two women filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against Uber on Tuesday in a San Francisco federal court alleging that they had been sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers. The women claim that they are not the only ones—that drivers have been using their rail-hailing services as a platform to sexually assault and harass more than 1,000 riders. The lawsuit seeks class action status. The women, who filed suit under Jane Doe pseudonyms, blame Uber's lax background checks and monitoring of...
The UK Supreme Court [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] Wednesday in favor of allowing minimum pricing in Scotland per unit of alcohol. The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing)(Scotland) Act of 2012 [text, PDF] sought to institute minimum pricing for alcohol based on a formula factoring in the minimum price per unit, the strength of the alcohol, and the volume of the alcohol to address the societal consequences of cheap alcohol. The Scotch Whiskey Association along with others brought a suit alleging that...
The Australian Bureau of Statistics [official website] on Wednesday announced the results [vote] of a national postal survey on Australia's marriage law in which voters voted that Australia's marriage law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. The "yes" vote had 61.6 percent of the national votes, and was the majority in every state and territory in Australia. The "yes" response won in 133 of the 150 Federal Electoral Divisions, and the "no" response won the remaining 17...
LGBT individuals in China are being subjected to abuses in the form of "conversion therapy," according to a report [text] released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. According to HRW, public hospitals and private clinics are utilizing so-called "conversion therapy," regarding LGBT individuals' identity as a disorder. In 2001, the Chinese Society of Psychiatry [official website] removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Prior to that, in 1997, the Criminal Code decriminalized homosexuality in China, and the...
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) [official website, in Arabic] officials pledged [statement] Tuesday to respect the Iraq Federal Supreme Court's [official website, in Arabic] interpretation of Article I of the Iraq Constitution [text, PDF], effectively agreeing not to secede. The Iraq Supreme Court stated in its decision last week [JURIST report] that no region within the country may secede from the country. The court interpreted Article I of the Iraq Constitution, the relevant portion of which states that "no provision in...
The European Court of Justice ruled [judgment] Tuesday that an EU citizen who becomes a British citizen is allowed to have their non-EU spouse live with them in the UK. The ruling came in a case brought by a Spanish national who had attained dual citizenship status with Spain and the UK and then the UK denied her Algerian husband residency. The court considered the following question in interpretation of Directive 2004/38/EC [text] concerning the right of free movement of...
An animal rights organization filed a writ of habeas corpus [text, PDF] Monday on behalf of three elephants owned by the Connecticut-based Commerford Zoo [website]. The writ was brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) [advocacy website] for the confinement and mistreatment of the elephants. NhRP is seeking a status of "personhood" for the elephants but claims that "personhood" is not legally synonymous to "human beings." The NhRP's memorandum [text, PDF] states that not classifying the elephants under "personhood" would...
Special master in the case of Covington v. North Carolina submitted [filing, PDF] a draft plan and order yesterday that includes an initial proposal for new district maps in certain state congressional districts. This plan was drafted by special master, Nathaniel Persily [Stanford professor profile], pursuant an order from a three-judge panel for the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website], which recently announced [JURIST report] its plan to continue with its appointment of a...
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday allowed [order, PDF] President Donald Trump's latest travel ban to go partially into effect. The partial ban applies to people of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad, who do not have a connection to the US, defined in the ban as, "such persons including grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins." Citizens with a tie to an "entity" in the US may also be admitted,...
The FBI [official website] released [press release] the 2016 Hate Crime Statistics [materials] on Monday revealing 7,321 recorded criminal offenses motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity in comparison to 6,885 [press release] of such bias-motivated offenses in the previous year. According to the report, there were 6,063 single-bias incidents involving 7,509 victims of which approximately 59 percent were targeted because on racial, ethnic and/or ancestral bias; 21 percent because of religious...
Twenty-three EU member states on Monday signed [press release] a joint notification [text, PDF] for the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a long sought after pact which will facilitate states working together more closely on defense security and defense policy matters. The idea of cooperation in defense security and defense policy was introduced in the Lisbon Treaty [official website] in 2007. The signed notification to the High Commissioner and European Council is the first step in achieving full implementation of a...

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