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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More than 850 family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Monday against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [government website]. The suit alleges that Saudi Arabia provided support to al Qaeda [BBC profile] in multiple ways. First, it alleges that Saudi Arabian charities ran terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, working hand in hand with Osama bin Laden. The suit also claims that the government of Saudi Arabia directly funded al Qaeda by providing passports and...
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin [official website] signed a bill [text] into law on Monday aimed at protecting student organizations' rights to manage internal affairs in a manner that is consistent with the group's religious or political beliefs. The law passed through the House and Senate nearly unopposed, with only three senators and eight House members voting against the law. The legislation amends KRS Chapter 158.183 [text, PDF] to allow students to voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints in public schools...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments on Monday in Murr v. Wisconsin and Howell v. Howell [dockets]. In Murr v. Wisconsin [SCOTUSblog materials], the court heard arguments [transcript, PDF] regarding whether "parcel as a whole" in a regulatory taking case establishes that two legally distinct contiguous parcels must be combined for takings purposes. Petitioner in this case argued that the two parcels adjacent to each other, owned by sisters, should be treated separately. Petitioner focused on the...
The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] began hearings [materials] on Monday for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch [Politico profile]. Each of the 20 senators on the committee, as well as Gorsuch himself, began the hearing by providing opening statements. Democrat members appeared to focus [Fox News report] on a case where Gorsuch sided against a driver who was fired for leaving behind his cargo in subzero temperatures when his brakes stopped working. Gorsuch refuted such criticisms, stressing that as a...
[JURIST] Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain [BBC profile] signed into law the Hindu Marriage Bill 2017 on Sunday, allowing Pakistan's Hindus to regulate their own marriages. Hindus will be able to perform legal marriages in accordance with their religious customs. According to the law, marriages officiated [PTI report] before the passage of the law will be automatically legitimized. According to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the new law was passed to provide equal protection to Pakistan's Hindus. The law will apply...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Monday began hearing an appeal [text, PDF; BIRN report] by former Bosnian Croat leader Jadranko Prlic and five of his former senior military officials. The six were sentenced [JURIST report] in May 2013 for crimes against humanity, violations of the laws or customs of war, and breaches of the Geneva Conventions [text, PDF] during the 1992-95 Bosnia-Herzegovina Civil War. The six deny that there was a criminal...
Seven army officials have been arrested and charged [Le Congolais report, in French] with war crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [CIA Factbook profile], according to government officials at a press conference on Saturday. The charges stem from a massacre of unarmed civilians in the Kasaï-Central Province in February that was recorded and widely shared [NYT report] on social media. Congolese military auditor general Joseph Ponde Isambwa said that all seven arrested soldiers were members of the Armed...
[JURIST] Judge Derrick Watson [official profile, PDF] of the US District Court for the District of Hawaii [official website] stood by his ruling [opinion] against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban [text] and denied a motion [motion, PDF] on Sunday from the Trump administration to narrow his ruling. Watson's Wednesday ruling ordered a stop on Trump's revised ban. Watson denied the motion on Sunday, explaining [LAT report] that the scope of the court's ruling was clear. Watson's ruling, unlike the...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday denied [order list, PDF] an appeal by Senator Bob Menendez [official profile] in a bribery and fraud case. The appeal argued that Menendez's alleged conduct was immune from legal scrutiny because it fell under "the sphere of legitimate legislative activity," which is protected by the Speech or Debate Clause [text] of the US Constitution. The court refused to hear the case without explanation. Menendez, who is accused of accepting gifts in...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Mondaydenied [order list, PDF] the petitions of Pervis Payne, Michael Sample, and Vincent Sims [SCOTUSblog backgrounders], three Tennessee death-row inmates who argued they should not be executed due to their intellectual disabilities. In their petition [text, PDF], Sims and Sample argued that Tennessee failed to retroactively apply the court's ruling in Hall v. Florida [opinion], which prohibited states from relying solely on intelligence test scores to determine whether a death row inmate...
FBI Director James Comey [official profile] confirmed [video] Monday that the FBI is investigating allegations of Russian interference with the 2016 US presidential election. His statement came during a hearing [materials] before the House Intelligence Committee [official website] and is the first time an official from the FBI has confirmed an investigation since the allegations first came to light [WH press release] in October of last year. I've been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI,...
On Friday the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund [official website] (UNICEF) released a statement [press release] on the effects of the EU-Turkey Statement [materials] on immigrant and refugee children. UNICEF has warned that the closure of the Balkan borders and the deal have left children exposed to a greater risk of exploitation, detention, deportation, and deprivation. UNICEF Regional Director Afshan Khan stated that although there has been been a decrease of children on the move, "there has been an...
On Sunday Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte [CNN profile] said he would not be intimidated by a potential criminal trial at the hands of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] vowing that the country's war on drugs would continue. Speaking [text] to reporters before he departed for Myanmar, the President was adamant in his defense of the country's stance on drugs. The president said "I will not be intimidated and I shall not be stopped just by what? International Criminal...
Human Rights Watch [HRW] [website] sent a letter [text] and a memorandum [text] to the speaker of the Iraqi parliament on Sunday with recommendations for amendments to a proposed domestic violence bill. HRW urged the Iraqi government to set penalties for the crime of domestic violence, to focus on justice over reconciliation and to improve victim protections. HRW provided detailed amendments to the bill, ranging from changing the definition of domestic abuse, the rights of victims after abuse, giving government...
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Saturday rejected an emergency request [order, PDF] from two native american tribes attempting to stop oil from flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline. As a result of this rejection, the Dakota Access pipeline could begin could begin operating as soon as tomorrow. The three judge panel rejected the request because the native american tribes "have not satisfied the stringent requirements for issuance of an injunction pending...
The New Jersey Legislature [official website] passed S3048 [bill, PDF] on Thursday which would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to reveal their federal income tax return [TheHill blog] before being listed on the state's ballot. The bill, which was passed by a democratic-led state legislature and awaits Governor Chris Christie's signature, was inspired by President Donald Trump's [official website] refusal to release his own tax-returns. Though many believe Christie is unlikely to sign off on the bill, some believe the...
King County Superior Court [official website] Judge Beth Andrus upheld a Seattle city ordinance on Friday allowing app-based and ride-hailing drivers to vote to unionize. Specifically, the ordinance [text, PDF] allows individuals making at least 52 trips in a three-month period—called "driver representatives"—to vote on whether or not they should be able to unionize. Uber [corporate website] has previously challenged this ordinance claiming that the 52-trip requirement impinges on the rights of new and part-time drivers to vote on unionization....
[JURIST] South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard [official website] on Friday vetoed a pair of bills that would have loosened the state's regulations on concealed carry laws. Calling the current laws adequate, and the new laws unnecessary and complicated [press releases], Daugaard defended his decision on the basis that he is unaware of a single instance in which a person who could lawfully possess a gun was denied a permit to carry a concealed pistol. The two House Bills, 1072 and...
[JURIST] The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Friday filed an amicus curiae brief [text, PDF] urging the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] to find the for-cause only removal provision of the Dodd Frank Act [PDF] unconstitutional. Stated differently, the brief requests the court to recognize the US president's executive authority to remove single-head-directors of federal agencies on entirely discretionary reasons. In the underlying case, a New Jersey mortgage company is challenging the Consumer...
The US House of Representatives [official website] approved [materials] a bill [text] on Thursday making it easier for certain veterans to obtain firearms. The bill adds a requirement that declaring a veteran mentally defective for purposes of restricting their ability to purchase or own a firearm must be done with an "order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others." 18 USC §...

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