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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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner [official website] signed HB 0040 [text] into law Thursday, which removes many restrictions on the funding of abortions. The law adds language to the State Employees Group Insurance Act, which states "reproductive health care that is otherwise legal in Illinois shall be covered under the medical assistance program for persons who are otherwise eligible for medical assistance under this Article." The law removes the restriction that did not allow the non-contributory portion of the program of...
Chief Judge Brian Jackson of the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana [official website], held Thursday that a police officer could not sue Black Lives Matter (BLM) for injuries sustained during a protest on July 9, 2016 because BLM is not an entity. An unnamed police officer filed the lawsuit after the July 17, 2016, BLM protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, during which a rock was thrown at the officer. The officer named BLM as well as...
The state of Washington sued Purdue Pharma in King County Superior Court [official websites] on Thursday alleging the pharmaceutical company is responsible for the opioid epidemic growth. Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit [complaint, PDF], alleging Purdue and other pharmaceutical corporations used deceptive advertising to increase opioid prescription sales. The lawsuit accuses Purdue of using such deceptive tactics for two decades, including acts deceiving Oxycontin's addictiveness, consumer's ability to manage addiction and abuse risks, and claims that Oxycontin improves...
[JURIST] DeJenay Beckwith, a woman who was sexually assault in 2011, has filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official wesbite] against the city of Houston [official website] for the city's backlog of rape kit tests. Beckwith was sexually assaulted in her home in 2011. Immediately after the assailant was chased away by one of Beckwith's friends, she contacted the Houston Police Department who took her to a local hospital in...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari in 11 cases [order list, PDF] on Thursday. Dalmazzi v. United States [cert. petition, PDF] Cox v. United States [docket], and Ortiz v. United States [cert. petition, PDF] are three cases that will be consolidated and will be given one hour each for oral argument. These cases deal with whether active-duty military officers can serve on the Court of Military Commissions Review (CMCR). The petitioners were members of the Air Force...
[JURIST] China on Thursday announced [press release, in Chinese] that it would be implementing the UN sanctions [JURIST report] on North Korean companies by ordering them to close in China by January. China's commerce ministry also announced tat this would include any joint ventures with Chinese firms, but they must end before the January deadline, precisely 120 days from September 11. This order does not apply to non-profit, non-commercial entities, but the exemption must have governmental approval. This announcement comes...
The Western Cape High Court in South Africa on Wednesday ruled [order, PDF] that parliament must amend the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) [text, PDF] to compel political parties in South Africa to disclose the sources of their private funding. The plaintiff in this case was a nonprofit organization named My Vote Counts (MVC) [advocacy website] that sought a declaration that "information about the private funding of political parties is reasonably required for the effective exercise of the...
Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment John Knox [official profile] called [press release] on Mongolia Wednesday to protect the environment. The call [transcript] came as a result of economic and cultural implications the nations agricultural community is facing as a result of expanding the expanding mining industry. Knox found that while Mongolia has comprehensive environmental legislation, it lacks a necessary implementation framework, causing damage to the environment. He also said that areas in Mongolia are some of the...
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU-CO) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [press release] Wednesday alleging unlawful racial profiling. In the complaint [text, PDF], the ACLU alleges officers from the Aurora police department prevented Omar Hassan, a black Ethiopian man, from dining at a Caribou Coffee [corporate website] in March 2016. The complaint alleges the officers racially profiled Hassan due to the fact he spoke with an accent and wore a hoodie. According to the suit they officers forced...
US President Donald Trump [official profile] on Thursday waived [WP report] the Jones Act [text, PDF], a near-century-old law, easing shipping restrictions for hurricane relief to be sent to Puerto Rico. The waiver was announced by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in a tweet, which said: "At @ricardorossello request, @POTUS has authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico. It will go into effect immediately." The president himself later tweeted that: The electric power grid in Puerto Rico...
A widespread investigation into a corruption scheme between coaches at NCAA Division-1 basketball programs, an international apparel company, and financial advisors led to the arrest of 10 men on Tuesday, according to an announcement [text] by an acting US Attorney and an FBI [government websites] assistant director. According to the criminal complaints [US v. Chuck Person and Rashan Michel, US v. James Gatto, US v. Lamont Evans, PDF] the scheme involved coaches accepting cash bribes from apparel companies, including Adidas...
A group of 25 refugees left [Guardian report] a detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea [government website] on Tuesday to travel to the US for resettlement, becoming the first of several hundred such refugees who will make the journey as part of an agreement between former US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull [JURIST report]. A second group is expected to leave a detention center on the island nation of Nauru [government website] later...
Thailand's Supreme Court unaminously convicted former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] in absentia on Wednesday, sentencing her to five years in prison for mismanaging a rice subsidy scheme resulting in billions lost. According to the Court, "The accused knew that the government-to-government rice contract was unlawful but did not prevent it. Which is a manner of seeking unlawful gains. Therefore, the action of the accused is considered negligence of duty." Yingluck pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2015...
Ireland's government on Tuesday announced plans to hold a referendum [press release] next year regarding its strict abortion laws. Citizens are urging the government to amend the Eighth Amendment [materials] of the Constitution, which dictates that an unborn child and mother have an equal right to life. Citizens' Assembly, a panel composed of citizens, prepared a report that will be considered by the Joint Oirachtas Committee, which may propose a bill to amend. According to Taoiseach Leo VaradkarAny amendment to...
The Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) of Kurdistan announced [Kurdistan report] the results of Monday's independence referendum vote Wednesday. In total, 92 percent of the voters voted "Yes" to secede from Iraq and create an independent Kurdistan. About 72 percent of eligible voters in the Kurdistan region participated in the vote. Of the 3.3 million votes cast, 2,861,471 voted "Yes" and 224,468 voted "No." Another 170,611 votes were considered to be "spoiled votes," and another 9,368 were blank...
Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was indicted on Wednesday on graft charges after investigators found his assets did not match his reported income. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) [official website], Pakistan's highest anti-corruption organization, filed the case against Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income in light of the July 28 verdict [order, PDF] of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers [JURIST report] case [BBC backgrounder]. The case resulted in the Supreme Court disqualifying Pakistan Prime...
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] on Tuesday announced [Federal Register, PDF] the creation of the Smart Sectors program to "re-examine how the EPA engages with industry in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, create certainty and predictability, and improve the ability of both EPA and industry to conduct long-term regulatory planning while also protecting the environment and public health." The EPA identified 11 different industries that will be the initial focus of the program: aerospace; agriculture; automotive; cement...
[JURIST] China's Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) [official website] has imposed fines [CAC statement, in Chinese] on some of the country's top technology firms for failing to censor online content in accordance with China's censorship laws. Among the companies are Tencent Holdings, Baidu and Weibo Corporation [corporate websites]. According to two statements from the Chinese government, one from regulators in Beijing and the other from those in Guangdong [statements, in Chinese], all three companies failed to censor their respective social...
[JURIST] The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] vacated [order, PDF] the 2015 corruption conviction [NYT report] of former New York state Senator Dean Skelos [Ballotpedia profile] and his son Adam Skelos on Tuesday. Dean Skelos, who was once considered one of the most power legislators in his state, was accused of soliciting payments to his son from numerous New York corporations in return for political favors over a five-year period. In reaching its decision,...
During a speech [text, video] at the Georgetown University Law Center [press release] on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice will become more involved in the "national recommitment to free speech on campus[es]." Citing recent incidents at community colleges in Battle Creek, Michigan and Los Angeles, California [complaints, PDF], where students were arrested for or prohibited from handing out copies of the Constitution outside of designated "free speech zones," Sessions said the DOJ will "enforce federal...

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