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 American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Wednesday to challenge Michigan's practice of permitting state-contracted and tax-funded child placement agencies to use religious criteria reject qualified prospective parents based on sexual orientation. The complaint, filed against Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Nick Lyon and Michigan Children's Services Agency Executive Director Herman McCall [official websites], asserts [ACLU report] that the process violates the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses...
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Maine and Planned Parenthood [advocacy websites] on Wednesday challenged [complaint] a Maine law requiring abortions to be performed by a physician. 22 MRS §1598 [statute] reads "Any person not so licensed who knowingly performs an abortion on another person or any person who knowingly assists a nonlicensed person to perform an abortion on another person is guilty of a Class C crime." The complaint says that the statute "imposes severe...
[JURIST] A judge for the UK's Court of Protection [official website] ruled [decision, PDF] Wednesday that there is no obligation for judicial consent to end care of patients in a permanent vegetative state. Justice Peter Jackson [official profile] of the High Court Family Division oversaw proceedings on patient M, a woman who had been on an End of Life Care Plan since July 2016 and had been unresponsive for about eighteen months. For almost three decades, the UK has enacted...
Numerous raids on government and corporate headquarters in the Catalonia region of Spain, which includes the city of Barcelona [official website] and has a population around 7.5 million, have led to widespread protesting and increasing tension [BBC report] between police and civilians. The conflicts come as an October 1 vote for independence [VilaWeb report, in Catalan] in the region, a vote the Spanish government has taken several actions to stop, looms less than two weeks away. In addition to the...
[JURIST] British Prime Minister Theresa May [official profile] told the UN General Assembly [official website] Wednesday that Internet companies must increase efforts to remove terrorist content from their online sites to prevent widespread distribution. While May acknowledged [Reuters report] the efforts made thus far, she highlighted increasing efforts from terrorist groups to disseminate propaganda in a quicker fashion. May has urged companies to remove terrorist content within one to two hours since such time is usually when the most material...
[JURIST] The UN opened a treaty [text, PDF] for signature on Wednesday prohibiting a wide range of nuclear weapon-related actions. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted [JURIST report] during a UN conference in July by a vote of 122 to 1. The treaty acknowledges the risks of nuclear warfare and calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, explicitly prohibiting activities such as the development, transfer, receipt, use, threatening of use, or...
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that evidence of a field sobriety test is not conclusive evidence of driving under the influence of marijuana. The court found that although there is clear scientific evidence that the field sobriety test performance can be used to measure blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent, no scientific evidence exists showing the correlation of performance on the sobriety tests and marijuana intoxication. The case involved a challenge to...
Wisconsin's Court of Appeals [official website] on Tuesday upheld [ppinion, PDF] the state's right-to-work law, stating that the law does not violate the constitution. The right-to-work law prohibits requiring non-union members to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Challengers of the law claimed that it amounts to a taking without just compensation for the unions, who still must represent the interests on non-union members. The circuit court had previously granted summary judgement to the unions, stating that the...
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday blocked [opinion, PDF] a 2015 San Fransisco ordinance that mandated health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugary drinks. The beverage industry sued San Francisco in July 2015, seeking injunctive relief to prevent the implementation of the ordinance, which was set to go into effect on July 25, 2016. The ordinance applied only to certain types of advertisements for sugar-sweetened beverages that contained one or more...
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit [opinion, PDF] brought by more than 100 Seattle police officers who claimed the city's new guidelines [text] on using force jeopardized their safety, ruling that the officers' claims were unsubstantiated by the Constitution. In the opinion, the court stated:The City of Seattle has a significant interest in regulating the use of department-issued firearms by it police officers, and the UF Policy does not impose...
[JURIST] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) [official website] on Tuesday called on [press release] the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to protect all refugees and asylum seekers in the wake of a deadly shooting incident last week. In Kamanyola, Congolese soldiers violently responded to a protest allegedly ignited by detained Burundians fearing deportation. Live rounds were reportedly fired at the protesters, which included refugees and asylum seekers, resulting in 39 deaths and 94 injured individuals. According to...
[JURIST] UN Secretary-General António Guterres [official profile] on Tuesday called on [press release] public and private bodies worldwide to further incorporate women into their economies for the sake of a more peaceful and sustainable future. Guterres highlighted the male-dominated nature of modern culture, stating that efforts must be continuously made to address gender inequality. According to Guterres, only 50 percent of women of working age are currently in the labor force, their employment relationships are often unstable, and on average...
A Florida man filed a civil lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against Florida Power & Light Company [official website] on Monday, claiming the utility company failed to make preparations that could have prevented some of the mass power outages resulting from Hurricane Irma [Miami Herald backgrounder] last week. The lawsuit further claims that FPL had recently increased rates for the express purpose of making those preparations, but that money was allegedly used for lobbying efforts. Plaintiff Octavio Fernandez, through his attorneys at...
[JURIST] In a speech [text] before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres [official profile] warned the body of increasing political and social tension and instability around the world, urging respect for international humanitarian law. Guterres identified seven "threats and tests" that every nation around the world is currently facing: the increasing risk of nuclear conflict, international terrorism, continuing violations of international humanitarian law, climate change, inequality, cybersecurity and the refugee crisis. Guterres also condemned the numerous...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Colombia [official website] dismissed [opinion, PDF] two lawsuits against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) [official website] Tuesday for their alleged negligence in their conduct surrounding the 2015 OPM data breach [OPM materials]. The two lawsuits were filed by the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union [advocacy websitew]. Each organization represented union members and additional federal workers who were among the estimated 20...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report [text] on Monday detailing the violence carried out by the Ethiopian security forces during the Irreecha festival, the annual harvest celebration observed by the country's ethnic Oromo people. According to the report, possibly hundreds of people died after being shot by security forces or drowning after attempting to flee from bullets and tear gas. The security forces were allegedly responding to anti-government chants. "One year on, government has failed to meaningfully...
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile] in a national address on Tuesday condemned [Reuters report] human rights violations in the nation's state of Rakhine, without addressing accusations from the UN and rights groups concerning the country's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims. Suu Kyi pledged that, "[a]ction will be taken against all people, regardless of their religion, race and political position, who go against the law of the land and violate human rights." Suu Kyi...
The US Senate [official website] on Monday voted 89-8 [roll call] to approve HR 2810 [text, PDF], a $700 billion defense bill, authorizing support for defense programs and combat operations at home and overseas. Among other things, the bill authorizes appropriations to the Department of Defense [official website] for: 1) procurement, including aircraft, missiles, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, ammunition, shipbuilding and conversion, and space procurement, 2) research, development, test, and evaluation; 3) operation and maintenance; 4) working capital needs...
The Moscow Meshchansky court rejected a lawsuit [Moscow Times report] Monday filed by a relative of Raoul Wallenberg, seeking to access uncensored documents concerning Wallenberg's death in Soviet captivity. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who is said to have rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II. Soviet forces captured Wallenberg in 1945 for espionage and placed him in KGB's Lubyanka Prison. The USSR released a document in 1954 saying Wallenberg died in the Lubyanka Prison of heart failure...
Recent Ohio arrestee Timothy Davis filed a civil rights lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in federal court on Sunday alleging Columbus, Ohio, police used excessive force to detain him in a convenience store. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division [official website], named defendants as the City of Columbus, Officer Joseph Bogard, Officer Matthew Baker, and Other Unknown Officers or those officers who participated in Davis' arrest. Columbus police officers arrested Davis on...

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