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 Federal Register posted a notice [text] on Monday detailing an updated rule that will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to track social media accounts of immigrants. The social media accounts will be collected as part of the standard immigration review process to decide if an individual is permitted to remain within or gain entry into the US. The notice expands the current collection process to the following:country of nationality; country of residence; the USCIS Online Account Number;...
Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud [BBC profile] on Tuesday announced [press release] by decree that the country will grant women driver's licenses beginning next June. The order was broadcast though Saudi Arabia's state television channel [official site] and would allow women the legal right to drive. The country is the only nation to outright forbid women from driving in any capacity due to the guardianship laws JURIST op-ed] in connection with cultural and religious beliefs associated with Sharia...
[JURIST] Deep Green Resistance [advocacy website], a direct action environmental group, filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking the US District Court for the District of Colorado [judicial website] to grant personhood status to the Colorado River. If personhood status is granted, the State of Colorado could be held liable for violating the river's rights. The complaint [text] reads in part:Through this action, the Plaintiffs are asking this Court to recognize and declare that the Colorado River is capable of possessing...
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned [UN News Centre report] on Monday that continued illegal settlements in East Jerusalem are threatening the hopes for a two-state solution in the area and undermining Palestinian belief in peace prospects. Mladenov's report [text, PDF] highlights Israel's plans for developing more than 2,300 housing units in July, including about 1,600 units expanding settlement into the northern region of East Jerusalem and the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. According...
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko [official website] signed [press release] a controversial education bill into law on Monday that makes Ukrainian the required language in state schols, among other things. Specifically, the law declares that Ukrainian will be the medium of instruction in all schools, eliminating options for minority languages such as Russian and Hungarian. Russia, Hungary and Romania, among others, had already expressed concern for the bill when it was first drafted, fearing marginalization of minority rights. With the bill...
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported [text, PDF] on Monday that human rights violations have significantly increased in Crimea since Russia began occupation over the territory in March 2014, with many violations committed by Russian state agents. The most significant change Russia made in Crimea is the implementation of Russian citizenship. Many oppose Russian citizenship and refuse to show allegiance to Russia. Individuals without Russian Federation citizenship are denied many rights, including, among others, the...
The FBI [official website] released estimated crime statistics [FBI annual report] for 2016 on Monday, which revealed [press release] a 4.1 percent increase in violent crimes committed when compared to 2015. The report "is a statistical compilation of offense, arrest, and police employee data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) [official website] Program." The publication includes statistics for severe crimes including murder, rape, arson and robbery, among others. Each crime report is...
The US Supreme Court on Monday removed the travel ban cases from its calendar and ordered both sides to file new briefs in light of President Donald Trump's proclamation [text] Sunday that created new restrictions to enter the US for citizens from eight countries [JURIST report]. In a brief order, the court directed the parties:to file letter briefs addressing whether, or to what extent, the Proclamation issued on September 24, 2017, may render cases No. 16-1436 and 16-1540 moot. The...
Switzerland took part in a national referendum on Sunday in which 53 percent of voters rejected a pension reform plan known as Pension Reform 2020 [background]. The plan set out to secure retirement benefits for Switzerland's aging population. The proposed reform addressed pension concerns caused by baby boomers nearing retirement age and life expectancy reaching an all-time high of 83. Those who were in favor of the plan say the existing structure is unable to make annual payments from the...
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Saturday in favor of Ghana in a lengthy maritime dispute between with the Ivory Coast. The case, which was brought to the international body by Ghana in 2014, was an attempt to clarify the boundary between the two countries, as both countries were vying for oil in the area. The court unanimously ruled [press release] in favor of Ghana, dismissing the claim that Ghana violated the...
The Hong Kong High Court of Appeal [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] Monday that a British lesbian should be granted a spousal visa to join her partner who works in the city. The court effectively overturned the decision of the Hong Kong Immigration Department [official website], finding no justification on "indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation" and ordering the Department to submit an agreement between it and the woman within 28 days. According to the Department, the woman was...
In a Proclamation [text] issued late Sunday, US President Donald Trump [official profile] identified eight countries that have failed to cooperate in information sharing activities to the extent the administration deems necessary to protect US security interests. The affected countries are: Chad Iran Libya North Korea Syria Venezuela Yemen Somalia Subject to limitations and exceptions also identified in the proclamation, nationals of the eight identified countries are prohibited from entering the US. It may take a minute to parse the...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: Transport for London (TfL) [official website] on Friday announced [motice, PDF] that it will not issue a private hire operator license to Uber London Limited to operate in London. [more] [JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] voted Thursday to establish an investigation [UN press release] into the Islamic State over possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq. [more] [JURIST] A judge for the UK's Court of Protection...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: San Francisco filed [complaint, PDF] a nuisance lawsuit against five fossil fuel companies due to expected expenses the city will incur from global warming. [more] The Oregon Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday upheld [opinion, PDF] the city's $35 annual tax [text] imposed on residents to fund art and music programs in public schools. [more] The District of Columbia Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that the use...
Transport for London (TfL) [official website] on Friday announced [motice, PDF] that it will not issue a private hire operator license to Uber London Limited to operate in London. Uber's current license is set to expire September 30. However, Uber is able to appeal within 21 days, and Uber will be allowed to continue its operations in London while the appeal process progresses. TfL has declared that Uber has demonstrated "a lack of corporate responsibility." TfL specified that the lack...
[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] voted Thursday to establish an investigation [UN press release] into the Islamic State over possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq. IS has previously been accused by the UN of targeting civilians [UN press release] and having an "absolute disregard for human life." The UN Security Council has expressed concern [UN press release] over the effect a planned independence referendum by the Kurdistan region. The member states have released a...
San Francisco filed [complaint, PDF] a nuisance lawsuit against five fossil fuel companies due to expected expenses the city will incur from global warming. The companies that were named in the law suit include BP P.L.C., Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips Company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. The defendants were chosen because they are "the largest investor-owned fossil fuel corporations in the world as measured by their historic production of fossil fuels." The lawsuit alleges that the companies knew...
[JURIST] The Kentucky Circuit Court [official website] on Wednesday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit challenging the state's criminal ban on medical marijuana. The three plaintiffs who originally filed the lawsuit [JURIST report] in June of this year argued that the ban on medical marijuana was an unconstitutional violation of Section II of the Kentucky Constitution [text, PDF], which states that, "absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty, and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in...
The Oregon Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday upheld [opinion, PDF] the city's $35 annual tax [text] imposed on residents to fund art and music programs in public schools. The tax was voted on and passed in 2013 "'to restore arts and music education' in public schools 'by providing stable, long-term funding for certified arts and music teachers.'" The $35 is owed once annually by all residents meeting certain age and income requirements. George Wittemyer filed the lawsuit in 2013...
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that the use of cell-site simulators to detect cell phone location without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment. Appellee Prince Jones filed the lawsuit after police used "Stingray" [ACLU description] devices to obtain evidence of his committed armed kidnapping, sexual abuse, robbery and use of threats. In considering whether the evidence should be precluded, the court found that the use of such device is a "search" within...

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