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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US President Donald Trump on Wednesday named [press release] acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco [official profile] as his choice for the permanent position. Formerly a partner at large international law firm Jones Day [corporate website], Francisco has spent a career in litigation. Francisco graduated from the University of Chicago in 1996, clerked for the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and represented tobacco giant RJ Reynolds [corporate website] successfully in a First Amendment claim against regulations, according to his Federalist...
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians [official website] has federally established rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley reservation in California. This litigation proceeded in three phases in the trial court, but the Ninth Circuit panel considered only Phase I on appeal, which raised the issue "whether the Tribe has a federal reserved right...
[JURIST] Hawaii filed a request [complaint, PDF] shortly before midnight on Tuesday for a temporary injunction to block President Donald Trump's new immigration executive order [text]. Hawaii claims that this new executive order is "infected" with the same legal problems as the original executive order [text]—"undermining bedrock constitutional and statutory guarantees." Hawaii claims that the new executive order:is subjecting a portion of Hawaii's population ... to discrimination and second-class treatment, in violation of both the Constitution and the Immigration and...
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy [official website], Joseph Cannataci, presented a report [text, DOC] to the Human Rights Council [official website] on Wednesday condemning modern-day surveillance legislation and expressing grave concerns regarding the threat to privacy rights in the digital age [JURIST backgrounder]. Cannataci particularly directed attention to legislation in the US, UK, France and Germany, stating that "[t]here is little or no evidence to persuade me of either the efficacy or the proportionality of some...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] presented his annual report [text, PDF] on Wednesday to the Human Rights Council [official website]. The report details the work done by the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) from December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016. The Council created two new thematic special procedure mandates last year, including a Special Rapporteur on the right to development and an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination...
The UK House of Lords [official website] passed an amendment [text] to the EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill [Text, PDF] Tuesday that gives the Parliament the ability to approve the negotiations of the UK's exit from the EU. The upper house also rejected [vote record] another amendment that would have required a national referendum vote to approve an agreement between the UK and the EU regarding the terms of the exit. The EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill gives the prime...
The US Senate approved a bill [text, PDF] on Tuesday to overturn a rule [text, PDF] created by the Obama administration regarding land management. According to supporters of the rule, it was created to streamline the communication process between federal and state officials, replacing procedures that had been in place since the 1980s. Republicans have opposed the rule, stating that it gives the federal government too much influence on the use of public land and does not adequately take state...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Tuesday withdrew [motion, PDF] its appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] regarding a challenge [case materials] to President Donald Trump's previous executive order on immigration. The move comes after Trump signed [JURIST report] a new executive order [text] on Monday. The new order bans the entry of nationals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. Iraq, which was included in...
South Africa on Tuesday informed the UN [text, PDF] that it is canceling its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. South Africa's decision to cancel the withdrawal comes in response to the South African High Court [official website] finding the withdrawal unconstitutional [judgement]. High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo found that the "decision by the national executive to deliver the notice of withdrawal of South Africa from the Rome Statute of the ICC without prior parliamentary...
Hungarian lawmakers approved legislation on Tuesday preventing those seeking asylum from moving about the country or leaving until their claims have been investigated. This legislation requires [DW report] that they instead be detained in camps. The detainment camps will be composed of converted shipping containers. Prime Minister Viktor Orban [official website] has stated [press release] that the bill was in response to recent terror attacks in Europe carried out by migrants. The law reinstates a practice that was suspended in...
A federal judge on Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] against Native American tribes seeking to stop construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) [fact sheet]. Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] rejected the arguments of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Souix that construction of the pipeline would prevent the tribe from practicing religious ceremonies. The tribes argued [Reuters report] that the pipeline would render water they use impure and therefore...
[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] ruled [judgment] Tuesday that countries are not required to issue visas to refugees on humanitarian grounds even if they are facing torture or inhumane treatment. The case arose surrounding a Syrian family seeking asylum in Belgium. The court stated that while states may choose to grant asylum under their own national law, "[m]ember States are not required, under EU law, to grant a humanitarian visa to persons who wish to enter...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that the city of New Orleans could remove three statues honoring members of the Confederacy, rejecting the appeal of several historic preservation organizations and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The court stated that the appellants failed to show "irreparable harm" to the statues and stated that the claims "wholly lack legal viability or support." The statues, which honor Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Robert E...
The Israeli Knesset [official website] passed legislation Tuesday that would limit or eliminate entry visas or residency rights for those groups who call for economic, academic, or cultural boycotts of Israel or its West Bank settlements. The legislation could limit [press release, in Hebrew] the entry of Palestinians who are temporary residents in Israel while their applications for permanent residency are under review. The new Entry into Israel Law (Amendment No. 27) aims to increase a sense of national cohesion...
The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled Tuesday that EU member states may not [decision, PDF] charge less than the standard value-added tax (VAT) on electronic publications. The court held that while physically printed books and materials may be taxed at the lower VAT rate, solely electronic publications must be subject to the standard VAT rate, with the exception of digital publications distributed on CD-ROMs. The case came before the court when the Polish Constitutional Court asked for guidance...
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official website] sent a letter [text, PDF] to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Monday in an attempt to clarify his response to a question from Senator Al Franken [official website] regarding connections between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign team and a Russian ambassador. In response to a question from Franken during his January 10 confirmation hearing, Sessions replied that he was "not aware of any ... activities" between members of the...
[JURIST] The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) referred Turkey to the UN Security Council [official websites] on Monday for failing to release [press release] one of its judges. Turkey has detained Judge Aydin Sefa Akay [official profile] on suspicion of being involved in last July's failed coup [BBC report]. In a public ruling the court's president condemned [Reuters report] Turkey's actions. "Turkey's non-compliance materially impedes the Appeal's Chamber's considertion of the merits of this case and threatens the independence...
[JURIST] The New York Police Department [official website] (NYPD) reached a new settlement [text] on Monday over its surveillance of Muslims after a federal judge rejected an earlier deal [JURIST report] in October. The new settlement would create greater oversight of the NYPD's intelligence-gathering programs by a civilian representative. In the original rejection of the case, the judge stated that the agreement did not ensure that the NYPD would be limited in how it could monitor political and religious activity....
Republican representatives in the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee [official website] released two separate bills [Ways and Means bill, PDF; Energy and Commerce bill, PDF] on Monday that, if passed, would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act [text, PDF] through a process called reconciliation. The new law, tentatively referred to as the American Health Care Act, would eliminate the individual mandate that imposed a tax penalty on individuals who failed to procure health...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday reversed [opinion, PDF] a case due to the lower courts' analysis that focused on the presence of actual bias as opposed to an objective probability of actual bias. In Rippo v. Baker [SCOTUSblog materials], Michael Rippo discovered that the judge hearing his criminal case was the subject of a federal bribery investigation, and Rippo believed the same district attorney's office that was prosecuting him was playing a part in the judge's bribery...

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