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] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] vetoed [text] a bill [AB 1401] on Monday that would have permitted lawful permanent immigrants to serve on juries. The bill's supporters compared [Reuters report] disqualifying permanent residents to outdated laws that preventing women and minorities from serving on juries, while the opposition felt the measure could prevent a defendants from having cases decided by a jury of their peers. The veto stated, "[j]ury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility...
[JURIST] EU lawmakers on Tuesday approved sweeping new regulations [text] to curb smoking, including limits on electronic cigarettes, bigger warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on menthol, or any flavored cigarettes which could be considered "gimmicks." An EU press release [text] outlined the changes, which include graphic warnings that cover 65 percent of the packaging. Current warnings cover only 30 percent of the packaging. More than 700,000 people in the EU die from causes related to smoking each year,...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Tuesday in a campaign finance case. In McCutcheon v. FEC [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) [text] limit on individual campaign contributions. The court previously held in Buckley v. Valeo [opinion] that limits on contributions implicate First Amendment interests but that limits may be imposed as long as they are closely drawn to match a...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] reported its busiest year on record [text, PDF] to the UN General Assembly [official website] on Tuesday. In the report, the ICC called for greater support [press release] from the UN Security Council[official website]. The ICC report talked about the futility of its decisions without the power to enforce them and discussed the courts' heavy workload and 13 outstanding arrest warrants. The court has eight situations under investigation and an additional eight...
[JURIST] Turkey lifted its ban on women wearing traditional Islamic headscarves in public institutions on Tuesday. The official lifting of the ban occurred just eight days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website, in Turkish; JURIST news archive] announced the change, which is part of a package of human rights reforms [JURIST report] that Erdogan proposed. The reform package will include allowing Kurdish language education and reducing barriers to entry for Kurdish political parties. In a speech to...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez [official profile] on Monday urged [press release] the US to immediately end the solitary confinement imposed in 1972 on a former Black Panther. Albert Woodfox [AI backgrounder] was serving a prison sentence for armed robbery in 1972, when he and another inmate Herman Wallace were charged and convicted [AP report] of fatally stabbing a guard. The men were first moved to isolation in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and later to...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [official website] Francois Crepeau urged [press release] the EU on Monday to adopt a new approach to migration that focuses on the rights of migrants. The discussion was centered around last week's sinking of the Lampedusa [BBC report] off the coast of Italy, which claimed the lives of 194 Eritrean and Somali migrants. Crepeau visited Italy in May to study the external border management of the EU and its...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of the Maldives [official website] on Monday annulled results from the first round of presidential elections and called for a new election before October 20. A probe of the September 7 voters list found irregularities [Haveeru report] in 5,623 of the votes, including minors, people voting more than once, deceased people and people not listed in the department of national registration (DNR) registry. A majority of the seven judge panel found the irregularities significant enough to...
[JURIST] A group of 130 African organizations on Monday published a letter [text] urging [press release] African members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] to declare their support for the court at the upcoming African Union (AU) [official website] summit. Amid accusations that the ICC has unevenly targeted Africa, there have been recent rumors that some African members are considering withdrawal from the Rome Statute [text, PDF; JURIST backgrounder]. The letter points out that "while the...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Monday. In Madigan v. Levin [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court was asked to decide whether age discrimination claimants can circumvent the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) [materials] and bring claims directly under the Equal Protection clause [Cornell LII backgrounder] and 42 USC § 1983 [text]. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, contrary to the holding of four other circuit...
[JURIST] Japan's Kyoto District Court on Monday ordered a group of activists to pay 12 million yen (USD $120,000) to a Korean elementary school for holding anti-Korean demonstrations that disrupted classes and frightened children. The rallies took place between December 2009 and March 2010 and were attended primarily by members of the ultranationalist Zaitokukai [advocacy website, in Japanese; NYT backgrounder] group, which protests ethnic and racial diversity. The judge held that the protests were illegal as racial discrimination under the...
[JURIST] Four Saudi Arabian women became the first female lawyers to receive legal licenses Sunday, permitting the women to practice law for five years. Women with law degrees had been able to work as legal consultants but were banned from practicing law in courtrooms or operating law firms. Female lawyers were not allowed to practice before the Saudi judiciary, which is composed solely of male religious clerics. Under the new policy [SMH report], both women and men seeking a legal...
[JURIST] Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] filed a lawsuit Monday appealing a court verdict [JURIST report] ordering the interim government to seize the group's assets. The decision by the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters handed down September 23 declared that its ruling would apply [Bloomberg report] to all organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, including its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party [party website]. The appeal also challenges [Ahram report] the court's establishment of a panel...
[JURIST] The investigation into allegations that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] exploited L'Oreal [corporate website] heiress Liliane Bettencourt [Forbes profile] into donating illicit election campaign funds has been dropped, according to Monday reports. Bettencourt's accountant had stated [BBC report] she had passed €150,000 to Sarkozy's UMP [party website, in French] party in the run-up to Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election victory. Under French law Individual campaign contributions are limited to €4,600 annually. The Court of Appeals...
[JURIST] The Nigerian Socio-Economic and Rights Accountability Project [advocacy website] announced Sunday that it has filed a petition with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] urging it to investigate school attacks resulting in the deaths of teachers and students in northeast Nigeria as crimes against humanity. The petition came a week after Boko Haram [BBC backgrounder] allegedly attacked an agricultural college [AP report], killing 43 students while they slept and setting fire to classrooms. President Goodluck Jonathan [BBC profile]...
[JURIST] A Greek court on Monday found former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos [NYT backgrounder] guilty of money laundering. The court also rendered guilty verdicts [AP report] against 16 of Tsochatzopoulos's co-defendants, including his wife, ex-wife and daughter. The charges against Tsochatzopoulos stem from his issuance of defense contracts in exchange for bribes [BBC report] during his tenure as defense minister from 1996 to 2001. Tsochatzopoulos has been serving prison time for nearly a year-and-a-half for falsifying his income taxes. The...
[JURIST] Voters in Ireland on Saturday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have abolished the country's Senate [official website], dealing a defeat to Prime Minister Enda Kenny [official website]. Kenny had personally campaigned for the amendment [AP report], saying that the Senate was toothless, undemocratic and unnecessary in light of recent budget woes. Irish voters defeated the referendum [Irish Times report] by a margin of 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent. After the referendum was defeated, several Irish politicians, including Senator...
[JURIST] A team of disarmament experts from the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) [official website] on Sunday began overseeing the destruction [AFP report] by the Syrian government, and will verify that the process is correctly handled. The disarmament team will destroy the chemical weapons arsenal, its storage sites and the facilities which manufacture them in compliance with UN Security Council [official website] Resolution 2118 [PDF], which adopts and orders the Syrian government to comply...
[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed into law a collection of legislation centered on immigration [press release] on Saturday. AB 4, 35 and 1159 [materials] create limitations, restrictions, and obligations for those involved in immigration services and compliance intended to limit detention of undocumented immigrants and increase accessibility to applications for citizenship. AB 1024 allows applicants who are undocumented immigrants to be admitted to the California Bar as attorneys at law. SB 141 and 150 [materials] exempts undocumented...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday alleged that the Algerian government has violated international and domestic law by impinging upon independent trade unions' rights to freely associate and collectively bargain. Algerian lawmakers adopted Law 90-14 in 1990, pursuant to which workers could establish independent unions after decades of restriction. The law requires new unions to send a declaration to the government announcing their establishment. The government is then required to deliver a notice of receipt 30 days...

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