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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The High Court of Justice [official website] on Thursday rejected [judgment, PDF] a terminally ill individual's petition for assistance to die, upholding the Suicide Act 1961 [text], which makes it illegal to assist in suicide. Noel Conway, who suffers from terminal motor neurone disease, argued that the Suicide Act 1961 is in conflict with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 [texts] by undermining his right to respect of private and family life through a blanket ban on...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: [JURIST] Canada's House of Commons [official website] on Wednesday passed bill S-226 [text], the "Magnitsky Act," which would allow for the Canadian government to take "restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." These actions include sanctioning, freezing assets, or denying entry of foreign citizens of countries with human rights violations or corruption. [more] Spain's Constitutional Court [official website] on Thursday ordered the...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The parties involved in challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban order filed letter briefs with the US Supreme Court Thursday addressing whether the issue is moot in light of Trump's September 24 proclamation [JURIST report] that created new restrictions on entry to the US for citizens of eight countries. The US government filed a brief [text, PDF] arguing that Trump's proclamation rendered the pending cases, Trump v. [more] [JURIST] The US...
The parties involved in challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban order filed letter briefs with the US Supreme Court Thursday addressing whether the issue is moot in light of Trump's September 24 proclamation [JURIST report] that created new restrictions on entry to the US for citizens of eight countries. The US government filed a brief [text, PDF] arguing that Trump's proclamation rendered the pending cases, Trump v. Hawaii and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project [SCOTUSblog materials], moot. Attorneys for...
[JURIST] The US Department of Treasury released a report [text,PDF] Friday suggesting regulations and changes to current laws which affect the US Financial System. This report is in response to President Donald Trump's Executive Order 13772 [press release], which established "Core Principles" for the federal government to strive to within the financial market. The February 2017 order established a report to the president within 120 days of the release of the order as well as periodic reports. The goal is...
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Thursday in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Navient Corporation [corporate website] over unlawful student loan origination and servicing practices. The lawsuit alleges that Navient violated Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and the Consumer Financial Protection Law. These allegations include "peddling risky and expensive subprime loans that they knew or should have known were likely to default" and "while servicing student loans, failing to perform...
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Senator Bob Casey [official websites] sent a letter [text] to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] Wednesday requesting that the FCC implement rules to target and eliminate unlawful robocalls. The FCC has previously proposed such rules in March with CG Docket No. 17-59 [text]. The letter requests that these rules be finalized and implemented immediately. Shapiro and Casey note that these robocalls have had a particularly negative effect on the country's senior citizens....
[JURIST] Judge Susan Bolton of the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] upheld President Trump's pardon [JURIST report] of former Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio [JURIST news archive] and dismissed the contempt case against Arpaio during a hearing Wednesday. In a brief [text] filed last month, the Department of Justice stated that there was no prior precedent addressing whether a court should vacate a criminal verdict after the defendant received a guilty verdict. John Wilenchick [professional profile],...
[JURIST] A bipartisan group of US senators introduced a bill [text] on Wednesday that aims to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders. The bill, sponsored by 10 senators from both sides of the aisle, seeks to reduce rather than to fully eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent drug crimes while simultaneously giving federal judges more discretion to deviate from the sentencing guidelines when they see fit. Thus the bill will reduce charges for crimes such as drug possession...
[JURIST] Canada's House of Commons [official website] on Wednesday passed bill S-226 [text], the "Magnitsky Act," which would allow for the Canadian government to take "restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." These actions include sanctioning, freezing assets, or denying entry of foreign citizens of countries with human rights violations or corruption. The law also would make amendments to previous laws which afforded special protections to foreign nationals within Canada. Russia...
[JURIST] US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official profile] sent a memo [text, PDF] to US Attorneys Wednesday stating that Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination does not extend to discrimination based on gender identity.Accordingly, Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status. Therefore, as of the date of this memorandum, which hereby withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum, the Department of Justice...
Spain's Constitutional Court [official website] on Thursday ordered the suspension of Catalonia's planned parliamentary session on independence next week warning Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell and other members of his speakers' board that they will be subject to prosecution if they proceeded with the session. There was no immediate reaction from Catalan leaders, but Catalan's local officials have previously ignored the Constitutional Court's orders and the leaders even held an independence referendum on Sunday, which was interrupted by Spanish police...
A divided US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday vacated [order, PDF] an injunction granted by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website], clearing the way for the State of Alabama to execute Jeffrey Lynn Borden. Borden was sentenced to death for murdering his estranged wife, Cheryl Borden, and her father on Christmas Eve. Borden's challenge to his execution was premised on the cruel and unusual nature of the three-drug-protocol used by Alabama to execute its...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] confirmed [letter] on Thursday affirmative action in university admissions is currently under investigation. The confirmation came via a refusal [press release] by the DOJ to honor Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by American Oversight and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law [advocacy websites]. The request was made to due reports [NYT reports] alleging affirmative action [JURIST backgrounder] programs were under investigation by the current administration. The organizations then sent a...
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU-IL) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [press release] Wednesday accusing the Chicago Police Department (CPD) [official site] of widespread abuses against people with disabilities and ethnic minorities. Thesuit [complaint, PDF] follows the release of the US Department of Justice [official website] report [JURIST report], which found that the CPD repeatedly violates the rights of the disabled in addition to systemic abuses against people of color. The ACLU-IL, along with other activist groups, filed...
The lower house of the French parliament on Tuesday voted 415-127 to approve an anti-terrorism bill [materials, in French] that would increase police surveillance powers and enable authorities to close places of worship easier that are suspected of being a threat to national security. Police would have the authority, through judicial approval, to raid private property and restrict people's movements if they are suspect as a threat to national security. Additionally, judiciary approval would not be needed prior to shutting...
The German public prosecutor accusesd [press release] nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) [BBC backgrounder] leader, Frauke Petry [twitter] Wednesday, of giving false statements about campaign finance under oath. Petry is accused of lying to a committee of the regional parliament in Saxony [official website] in 2015 regarding the AfD's finances during Saxony's 2014 election. In 2015, she told the committee that after a successful election, candidates could decide for themselves whether loans they had been given to help finance...
Spain's High Court [official website] announced on Wednesday that Calalonia's police and organizers are under investigation for sedition, most notably Catalonia's regional police, Josep Lluis Trapero. Trapero is being called to testify [Reuters report] in relation to arrests of high-ranking officials over the organization of a banned independence vote. The accusations refer to the unrest that broke out after police raided Catalan government offices and arrested officials September 20 to halt a banned October 1 independence referendum [JURIST report]. That...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard [argument calendar] oral arguments for two cases Wednesday. In District of Columbia v. Wesby [transcript, PDF], police arrested trespassers in a vacant house. The trespassers stated that they were invited by someone else while the homeowner stated they did not invite anyone. The case questions whether the police are able to discredit the suspects' claims of innocent mental state when assessing probable cause if the homeowner informs them there is no authorized entry....
Egyptian authorities are waging an anti-lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex (LGBTI) campaign, having arrested a total of 33 individuals, according to a statement [press release] by Amnesty International (AI) on Monday. The crackdown began because of a rainbow flag being displayed at the Mashrou' Leila concert in Cairo in late September, which resulted into an investigation by the Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadiq. In September, a few days after the flag incident, six men were arrested [press release] for promoting...

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