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] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday in Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that, whether a claim for attorney's fees is based upon a statute, a private contract, or both, the pendency of a ruling on an award for fees and costs does not prevent a merits judgment from becoming "final" for purposes of appeal. Before 2007, petitioners Ray Haluch Gravel Company (Haluch) entered into a collective bargaining agreement with respondents...
[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Monday announced [press release] that a legal instrument, which grants children access to international human rights protections, will go into effect in April. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure [text] permits children or their representatives to submit formal complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRD), upon which the CRD must...
[JURIST] The trial of four individuals accused of aiding the terrorists who perpetrated the September attack [NBC News backgrounder] on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, commenced Wednesday. The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility [BBC report] for the attack, in which at least 62 people died and 175 were injured [Kenya Red Cross fact sheet, PDF]. The four charged men, Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adnan Ibrahim and Hussein Hassan, have been accused [BBC report] of sheltering the...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. Article II section 35 of the Oklahoma Constitution [text] enacted in 2004 by State Question No. 711 [text, PDF] defines marriage in Oklahoma as "consist[ing] only of the union of one man and one woman." Judge Terence Kern found...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in three cases Tuesday, including a case on the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 and a case on whether certain employee severance payments are taxable. In Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on: (1) whether Article III permits the exercise of the judicial power of the US by bankruptcy courts on the basis of litigant consent, and, if...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Tuesday criticized Nigeria's new law on the prohibition of same-sex marriage, calling the legislation a direct violation of basic, universal human rights. Earlier this month [press release] Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon signed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill into law, placing a 14-year prison sentence upon anyone who enters into a same-sex union and a 10-year sentence upon anyone who either aids and abets a same-sex marriage or...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Tuesday struck down [opinion, PDF] Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] rules that required broadband providers to employ nondiscriminatory practices in the treatment of Internet content. In a 63-page opinion, Judge David Tatel explained how the regulations impermissibly required providers to serve the public indiscriminately, leaving companies like Verizon and AT&T, after having spent billions of dollars [NYT report] building their infrastructures, with little room...
[JURIST] Judge Nan Nash of the New Mexico Second Judicial District Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that patients who are terminally ill and mentally competent have the right to seek aid in dying under the state constitution. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the advocacy group Compassion & Choices [advocacy website] on behalf of two doctors and a terminally ill cancer patient against the District Attorney for the Second Judicial District, Kari...
[JURIST] Egyptians began voting Tuesday in a two-day referendum on the proposed new constitution, which would replace the one passed under former president Mohammed Morsi. Supporters of the new constitution view the referendum as a grand democratic move and the document itself as vesting them with new rights previously unrecognized. However, critics have claimed that the referendum is more about vindicating Morsi's removal than changing the internal political situation, and also claim that the proposed constitution disproportionately favors the military...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp. [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that the lawsuit in question is not a "mass action" suit under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) [text] of 2005, reversing the previous holding [opinion, PDF] of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. CAFA allows "mass action" suits, which it defines as those in which 100 or more persons are named as plaintiffs, to...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in Daimer AG v. Bauman [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that DaimlerChrysler AG (Daimler) [company website] does not have to face suit in California for alleged human rights violations by a subsidiary that took place entirely in Argentina. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] for Barbara Bauman, who represented 21 Argentine residents, allowing them to bring suit for the actions of Mercedes-Benz Argentina (MB Argentina) [corporate...
[JURIST] Italy's Constitutional Court released a judgment [text, in Italian] Tuesday detailing their reasoning for striking down the country's current electoral law in a December ruling. The voting law, which has been widely criticized for making election results uncertain, was ruled unconstitutional for its provisions that granted major benefits to the winners of House elections. But the judgment did not declare the currently elected parliament to be invalid. "Parliament is fully legitimate," stated Italian President Giorgio Napolitano [official profile]. "The...
[JURIST] Two former Serbian senior secret service officials were arrested Tuesday under suspicion that they planned the 1999 killing [AP report] of anti-government journalist Slavko Curuvija. Police claim that former spy agency head Milan Radonjic and operations chief Ratko Romic were involved in the shooting death of the journalist outside his home in Belgrade on April 11, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Kosovo. Curuvija was known for his sharp criticism of the administration of then-president Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples James Anaya [official website] on Monday urged [press release] the government of Kenya to respect the rights of the Sengwer indigenous people, who are facing eviction from their native home in the Embobut Forest in western Kenya. Kenyan authorities have been assembling nearby [allAfrica report] to enforce evictions ordered by the government in pursuit of its forest and water conservation objectives. Kenyan authorities have repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] on Monday upheld the conviction and sentencing [opinion, PDF] of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for his attempted bombing on an American aircraft. Abdulmutallab was sentenced [JURIST report] to life in prison in February 2012 after pleading guilty to all charges stemming from an unsuccessful attempt to detonate a bomb in his underwear while on Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] on Monday refused to halt the execution of convicted Ohio murderer Dennis McGuire, who is scheduled to die by the administration of a never-before-tried drug that may potentially inflict pain. Ohio no longer has access to its former execution drug, pentobarbital, since its manufacturer prohibited its use for executions. McGuire's counsel argued [JURIST report] that the substituted two-drug lethal injection will not sedate McGuire...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday rejected [order list] an appeal from Mohamed Ali Samantar [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST news archive], former Somali prime minister, who was ordered [JURIST report] to pay Somali torture victims $21 million in 2012. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had upheld [opinion, PDF] the district court's dismissal of Samantar's claim that, as a foreign official, he had common-law immunity for acts performed on behalf of a foreign state despite...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Monday in two cases. In NLRB v. Noel Canning [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court will decide: (1) whether the president's recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate; and (2) whether the president's recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during...
[JURIST] US Ambassador Stephen Rapp [official profile] called Sunday on Sri Lanka to investigate [press release] rights abuses by security forces during its civil war [JURIST news archive] with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) [CFR backgrounder]. After visiting Sri Lanka on a fact-finding mission, Rapp heard eyewitness accounts of serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Rapp affirmed that the US remains committed to working with Sri Lanka but called upon the government to "seek...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to rule in Horne v. Isaacson [docket], bypassing its opportunity to rule on Arizona's new ban of abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy. In 2012, the state defended the statute [text, PDF] by arguing that this stricter regulation would reduce the fetus' likelihood to feel pain and decrease health risks for the women. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] last May...

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