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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[JURIST] Prominent Egyptian blogger and activist Ahmed Douma [twitter feed, in Arabic] was arrested Tuesday according to a posted tweet. According to Reuters, Douma has been detained [Reuters report] in connection with violence at a protest over the weekend outside a courthouse where activist and leader of the April 6 youth movement [PBS backgrounder] Ahmad Maher turned himself in to police following the issuing of warrant [Al Jazeera report] for his arrest. Douma served jail time earlier this year in...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday upheld [opinion, PDF] a federal law [text] that prohibits corporate and campaign advertising on public radio and television. In a 9-2 ruling the court held that such advertisements threatened the educational missions of public media, and that the government has a substantial interest in preserving the "essence of public broadcast programming." The court overruled an earlier decision, reasoning:Public television—a fixture of American life for decades—has showcased...
[JURIST] A French court on Monday ordered a trial for German car maker Daimler AG and French industrial conglomerate Lagardere SCA, shareholders in Airbus' parent European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS) [corporate websites], in an insider trading investigation dating back to 2006. EADS is a global pan-European aerospace and defense corporation and military contractor worldwide. Seven current or former EADS and Airbus executives have also been ordered to stand trial [AP report]. In a statement, EADS says it supported...
[JURIST] The High Court of Australia [official website] on Tuesday decided to rule next week on the law allowing gay marriage in Canberra [Marriage Equality Bill, materials]. The nation's first same sex weddings can take place this weekend. The law was passed by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly [official website] in October and was challenged the following day by the federal government. In February an Australian judge ruled [JURIST report] that the nation's ban on same-sex marriage does not...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism Ben Emmerson [official profile] on Monday stated that he plans to launch an investigation [Guardian op-ed] into the surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) [official websites]. Emmerson posed questions regarding the political and legal issues springing from the revelations of Edward Snowden [BBC profile] and the intelligence agencies' responses to them. These questions, which he called "too important for the UN to ignore," include...
[JURIST] A lawyer representing human rights activist Nabeel Rajab [personal Twitter account] said Sunday that a judge has rejected a request to approve a conditional early release, for which Rajab is now eligible under Bahraini law. US Department of State [official website] spokeswoman Jen Psaki commented on news of the early release denial [Reuters report], stating that the US continues to urge Bahrain to permit all sectors of society to peacefully voice their political views. Rajab, founder of the Bahrain...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Connecticut [official website] on Monday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit challenging Connecticut's new gun-control law [text, PDF], enacted in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. The lawsuit was brought [AP report] by the Connecticut-based firearms trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) [advocacy website]. The ruling held that NSSF had no legal grounds to challenge the method of the law's approval. The...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in United States v. Woods [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report], a case concerning an offsetting-option tax shelter, marketed to high-income taxpayers in the 1990s. The court was asked to determine whether the penalty for tax underpayments attributable to valuation misstatements under 26 USC § 6662 of the Internal Revenue Code [texts] is applicable to an underpayment resulting from a basis-inflating transaction subsequently disregarded for lack of economic substance. Writing for...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Monday delivered a "mixed report" on human rights progress around the world [UN News Centre report], highlighting advances in some areas and alarm in others. "Alarm bells are ringing loud and clear," Pillay stated during a press conference in Geneva, discussing the deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the abuses perpetrated in Syria [JURIST news archives]. Pillay is also concerned with the politically-driven instability in...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday refused to hear [order list PDF] a challenge [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] by Liberty University [official website] to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST ackgrounder] mandate requiring employers to provide affordable health insurance for their employees. The university sought review of the employer mandate's constitutionality under the government's taxing power, arguing that the requirement is a violation of religious freedom under the First Amendment [Cornell LII materials] and the...
[JURIST] Egypt's draft constitution was finalized on Sunday by a 50-member assembly, creating uncertainty about the country's election procedures. The draft dictates that elections are to take place within the first six months of the constitution's ratification. However, the draft does not determine whether a presidential election should be held before or after parliamentary elections. The assembly's silence on this issue will leave the decision to interim President Adly Mansour [BBC profile]. It is speculated that an early presidential election...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Monday in two cases. In Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court was asked to consider whether tribal sovereign immunity bars a state from suing in federal court to enjoin a tribe from violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) [25 USC § 2701 et seq.] outside of Indian lands. In this case the state of Michigan and the Little Traverse Bay...
[JURIST] A US military judge has issued an order [text, PDF] allowing for defense attorneys for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to photograph the scars on the ankles and wrists of their client. The order, unsealed last week by US Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, will allow the defense "to make a photographic record" to provide evidence that Mohammed was tortured at CIA black sites before being imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. The order also covers...
[JURIST] Hearings in a multi-million dollar class action suit against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) [corporate website] began Monday before the Federal Court of Australia [official website] in Melbourne. More than 43,000 ANZ customers have accused [AFP report] Australia's third largest bank of charging unconscionable fees, including "dishonor" fees on bank accounts, and over-limit fees and late payment fees on credit cards, ranging from Aus$25 to $35. Estimates put the total amount of fees being contested at...
[JURIST] Spain's government approved draft legislation [text, PDF, in Spanish] on Friday that would impose a fine of €30,000 (USD $40,800) for offenses such as insulting the government, burning the flag or protesting parliament without prior approval. It also sets stiff penalties for demonstrations that challenge the electoral process and unauthorized protests at places such as airports or power plants. The bill, which was introduced last month [JURIST report] by Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz [official website, in Spanish], has...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] said Monday that there is growing evidence that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [BBC profile] is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the nation's ongoing civil war [JURIST backgrounder]. At a press conference, Pillay declared [AP report] that there is "massive evidence" that high ranking officials in the Syrian government, including Assad, are responsible for atrocities against civilians. Pillay said that the full list of...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy group] on Sunday urged [news release] the prosecutor's office [official website] of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] to expedite inquiry into international crimes committed in Afghanistan [BBC profile]. In November the ICC released the Report on Preliminary Examination Activities [text, PDF] finding that over 14,300 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2007 and that violence against women has increased. The report also stated that armed anti-government groups and government...
[JURIST] Croatian voters passed a referendum on Sunday proposing to ban same-sex marriages by defining marriage in Croatia's constitution [text] as a union between a man and a woman. The referendum came [BBC report] as a result of a petition circulated by a Catholic group which garnered over 700,000 signatures. Croatia's population of 4.4 million people is about 90 percent Catholic, and the church strongly supported the measure. The referendum, supported by two-thirds of the nation's parliament and almost two-thirds...
[JURIST] Ukrainian demonstrators gathered in the streets of Kiev Saturday to protest President Viktor Yanukovich's [official website; BBC profile] decision to abandon the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement [EU backgrounder], a planned trade pact with the EU. According to media reports the Berkut riot police responded to the demonstration with force to disperse the crowd. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] has called [press release] for a "prompt, effective and independent investigation" into the allegations of "abusive use of force" by the officers....
[JURIST] China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Sunday announced plans to investigate Dai Chunning, deputy general manager of the state-owned China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) [official website]. According to media sources the investigation stems from Chunning's alleged connection with an undisclosed "serious discipline violation" [South China Morning Post report] that involves graft. Sinosure is a state-funded "policy-oriented" insurance company that seeks to promote Chinese exports of goods, technologies and services. Chinese authorities reportedly uncovered a graft scandal...

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