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 Austria Constitutional Court [official website, in German] on Friday ruled [opinion, PDF; in German] that the government seizure of the apartment complex where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler [Britannica profile] was born is constitutional. The Court elaborated [press release, PDF; German and English] that "the expropriation of Adolf Hitler’s birthplace in Braunau (Upper Austria) by law was in the public interest, commensurate and not without compensation, and therefore not unconstitutional." The government felt it was necessary to seize the property...
The Supreme Court of Texas [official website] held [opinion, PDF] on Friday that the Houston's benefits policy need not extend to same-sex couples. In so holding, the Court concluded that: "The [US] Supreme Court held in Obergefell that the Constitution requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages to the same extent that they license and recognize opposite-sex marriages, but it did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons." The trial court...
The lower house of the German Parliament [official website] voted 393-226 Friday to legalize same-sex marriage. The decision came shortly after Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website] changed her conservative stance [NYT report] on the issue. Although Merkel voted against the move she encouraged lawmakers to vote with their conscience instead of along party lines. Before allowing civil unions in 2001, Germany had a history [Reuters report] of anti-homosexual legislation. Earlier this month the German Parliament passed a bill [JURIST report]...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday reversed [opinion, PDF] a previous ruling that Ohio's execution protocol was unconstitutional. The prior ruling [JURIST report] had put further executions on hiatus. The question [AP report] was whether one of the three drugs used in the lethal injection process was sufficient to cause the inmates to lose consciousness before they are able to feel the effects of the other two drugs which stop their hearts....
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday upheld [opinion, PDF] North Carolina's Senate Bill 2 [text, PDF], which allows magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. The court ruled that the plaintiffs, three couples, did not have standing to bring the case because they could not claim that the law hindered their marriages, and the plaintiffs claimed instead that the law affected them as taxpayers....
The Ohio Senate [official website] voted 24-9 [voter breakdown] Wednesday to approve SB 145 [materials], a bill the criminalizes a common second-trimester abortion procedure. The bill specifically targets [Cleveland.com report] dilation and evacuation (D&E) which is usually performed after the twelfth week of pregnancy. During a D&E a woman's cervix is dilated and the fetus is removed with suction and surgical instruments. Should the bill be enacted, it will leave Ohio women [ToledoBlade report] with few options for terminating their...
The US Department of State [official website] on Wednesday issued guidelines for the modified travel ban allowed [JURIST report] by the US Supreme Court [official website] earlier this week. The order permits denying visas to travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries unless the visitor has a "bona fide relationship" with a business or close family member but the court did not define what constitutes as such. According to the State Department, business and professional relationships must be formal and documented....
In the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report [report, PDF] released on Tuesday, the US State Department [official website] downgraded China to Tier 3, which is the lowest tier for human trafficking. Tier 3 represents "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. China joins 22 other countries in the tier, including Russia, North Korea and Syria. China was last in Tier 3 in 2013, being located in Tier...
The Hague Appeals Court [official website, in Dutch] on Tuesday upheld [judgment, in Dutch] a lower court's decision that Dutch peacekeepers were 30 percent responsible for the deaths of 300 Muslim males who were turned away from a Dutch UN base in 1995 when the area surrounding the base was overrun with Bosnian Serb troops. In the ruling, Presiding Judge Gepke Dulek-Schermers said dutch soldiers "knew or should have known that the men were not only being screened ... but...
The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] upheld an order [judgment, PDF] on Wednesday that directed Google [corporate website] to block a company's website from is global search results. The ruling stems from a suit [Reuters report] brought by a small technology company, Equustek Solutions Inc, who asserted that Datalink Technologies Gateways [corporate websites] had committed copyright infringement by relabeling and selling one of Equustek's products as their own. Equustek requested that Google remove search results for Datalink until the...
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF] a San Francisco ordinance on Tuesday that was implemented to halt deceptive advertising tactics employed by clinics opposed to abortion. The ordinance targeted [SF Gate report] clinics that offered offered services, including tests and ultrasounds, as a way of dissuading women from terminating their pregnancies. The clinics did not offer abortions, emergency contraception or referrals to other clinics that provide those options. First Resort, a group...
Brazil's Attorney General Rodrigo Janot filed charges [press release, in Portuguese] Monday against President Michel Temer for passive corruption. A former aide to the president was also charged. Temer is accused of taking a bribe from entrepreneur Joesley Batista [WSJ report]. Temer issued a statement [text, in Portuguese]Tuesday in his defense. He said he intends to stay in the presidency and fight the allegations against him. Brazil has endured tumultuous times during which former presidents have been caught in scandals...
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers [official websites] on Tuesday released a proposal [text] that will rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule [text] implemented by the Obama administration. The so-called Water of the United States Rule (WOTUS) was proposed in 2014 as a means to clarify the legal jurisdiction of the federal government under the Clean Water Act [text]. The rule expanded [Reuters report] the definition of waterways to include streams, rivers, wetlands and other...
The European Commission [official website] fined Google and its parent company, Alphabet, € 2.42 billion Tuesday for violating [press release] EU antitrust restrictions. The decision focused on Google's comparative shopping service, which premiered as "Froogle" in 2004, and is known today as Google Shopping. The Commission determined that Google used its "dominance in general internet search" to unfairly promote its shopping service instead of promoting Google Shopping on its merits. Google gave its Google Shopping prominent placement in its own...
US District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a nationwide temporary stay [order] on Monday to protect 1,444 Iraqi immigrants from deportation, extending an order issued last Thursday that applied only to immigrants in the Detroit metro area. Goldsmith's order on Thursday temporarily blocked [JURIST report] the deportation of more than 100 Iraq nationals, arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] agents, for approximately two weeks, during which time the court will decide whether it has jurisdiction in the...
The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in six cases Tuesday. In the consolidated cases of Christie v. NCAA and National Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association v. NCAA [SCOTUSblog materials], the court will consider whether a New Jersey law allowing sports betting at casinos and race tracks is preempted by federal law. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act [text] prohibits most states from operating a gambling system based on professional or college sports. The question before the...
The US Supreme Court [official website] closed its 2016 term Monday with orders [order list, PDF] in several pending cases. The court ordered reargument in Jennings v. Rodrigues [SCOTUSblog Materials], in which the court must determine three issues concerning whether aliens seeking entry into the United States must be afforded bond hearings, especially in situations involving criminal or terrorist aliens who are subject to mandatory detention. The court also ordered reargument in Sessions v. Dimaya [SCOTUSblog Materials], where the Court...
[JURIST] Human Rights Nobel Peace Prize winner [Nobel Prize profile] Liu Xiaobo [NYT profile, JURIST news archive] was released on medical parole as he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, Liu's lawyer [NYT report] and prison officials [press release, in Chinese] stated on Monday. Liu's lawyer Mo Shaoping released [Reuters report] the statement and prison authorities have further added that Liu is being treated by eight Chinese tumor experts. The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated [Nobel Prize press release] that it...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday held [opinion, PDF] in Davila v. Davis [SCOTUSblog materials] that the procedural default of ineffective-assistance-of-appellate-counsel claims are not excused by the ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel. Petitioner Erik Davila confessed to accidentally killing a woman and her five-year-old granddaughter, as well as wounding several others, while he was attempting to shoot the woman's son during a birthday party in 2008. The state of Texas indicted Davila for capital murder because he had...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday agreed to hear [order list, PDF] arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case concerning a bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers [SCOTUSblog materials]. The court also denied review of an important Second Amendment [LII materials] gun rights case, Peruta v. California [SCOTUSblog materials]. Additionally, the court issued a summary reversal [opinion, PDF] in Pavan...

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