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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UN Secretary-General António Guterres voiced deep regret [press release] regarding US decision to cut financial support for the UN population agency. According to Guterres, the decision is based on an inaccurate depiction of the nature and importance of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) [official website]. Guterres says the funding cut could have devastating effects on the health of vulnerable women, female children, and their families. The US State Department [official website] cut funding back in March after allegations that the...
The US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] has issued a preliminary injunction [text, PDF] to block Seattle's first-in-the-nation law that will allow drivers for taxis, Lyft and Uber [official websites] to unionize. The law, passed in 2015, allows drivers who are considered independent contractors to unionize and collectively bargain for benefits such as healthcare. The law was challenged by two separate suits, one brought by a small group of drivers from each company, the other...
The New York Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that law-enforcement can seize private Facebook [corporate website] account information. The court ruled [NY Post report] that Facebook could not contest the warrants and therefore the court could not decide the matter. The court found that only users themselves have the right to challenge warrants in criminal proceedings. However, while being forced to comply with search warrants seeking access to private accounts, Facebook cannot warn users about the...
The UN Security Council conducted emergency talks on Wednesday regarding an alleged chemical attack in Syria that killed numerous civilians. According to statement [press release] made by UN Secretary-General António Guterres Tuesday the UN is not currently in a position to independently verify if chemical weapons were used. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) [official website] has started gathering information [press release] to confirm if chemical weapons were used. The Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab...
The state of Massachusetts [official website] on Tuesday requested [case docket] the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] find that state authorities lack jurisdiction to detain illegal immigrants. This request [Reuters report] comes after the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency requested courts and law enforcement to hold illegal immigrants in custody for up to 48 hours after their case was resolved. The state of Massachusetts in turn has argued that detaining someone after their case is resolved amounts...
The cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German] approved draft legislation on Wednesday that would impose fines on social media websites for failing to delete users' entries that violate German hate speech laws. The fines [DW report] could reportedly be as high as 50 million Euros ($53 million). The law would make the websites responsible for removing [Reuters report] the illegal content and making regular reports to the German government on complaints filed. It also seeks to...
A UK high court on Wednesday stayed the extradition of a British man, Rosslee Charles, to Turkey given concerns over his safety. Charles, a gay man, was convicted of homosexual rape in Turkey in 2006. Before the trial, Charles had been held for six months [Guardian report] in a Turkish prison. During that time he was assaulted by guards and fellow prisoners who beat him while being called derogatory names. According to written submissions to the court, he was also...
Australia's Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion [Official website] on Tuesday rejected a call [press release] from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz [official website] to create specific targets to improve the treatment of Aboriginal peoples. Tauli-Corpuz visited Australia between March 20 and April 3. She noted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders represent 3% of the country's population, but 27% of the country's prison population. She also noted that 95% of the children...
The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] ruled Tuesday that LGBT employees are protected from workplace discrimination [opinion, PDF] under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act [text]. The plaintiff in the case was Kimberly Hively, who claims [AP report] that she was not hired by Ivy Tech Community College because of her sexual orientation. The judges found that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination barred under the act. The...
The Supreme Court of Missouri ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday a parole revocation was improper because the court failed to consider reasons why an indigent defendant failed to pay court cost. The case dealt with a man named William Fleming who was unable to repay $4,236.50 in three years as required by the court in conjunction with his probation. After missing numerous payments, the lower court revoked his probation even though his probation officer requested an alternative plan without costs. Fleming...
[JURIST] Iceland's Parliament [official website] presented a bill [text, PDF] on Tuesday that would require all public and private companies that employ more than 25 people to prove they provide [AFP report] equal pay for employees. If a company is unable to prove employees are paid equally through an auditing system, the company could receive fines. The legislation would apply to discrimination based on gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. While Iceland ranked first...
A group of US Senators [official site] on Tuesday introduced [press release] a bipartisan bill [official summary, PDF] to require government agents to get a warrant when searching electronic devices of US citizens at the border. The Protecting Data at the Border Act [text, PDF] seeks to allow citizens to deny a request of border agents to search their electronic devices without being denied entry or exit at the border except for in emergency situations. The bill requires either a...
[JURIST] Brazil's top court, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) [official website, in Portuguese], on Tuesday suspended the trial of President Michel Temer [BBC backgrounder] who is accused of receiving illegal donations during his 2014 campaign. Following former president Dilma Rousseff's [Britannica profile] removal from office, her lawyers presented evidence [JURIST report] in November that Temer received a US $295,351 deposit after the same amount was donated by construction firm Andrade Gutierrez to the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party [official websites, in...
[JURIST] US President Donald Trump on Monday signed a bill [S.J.Res.34, materials] officially repealing internet privacy regulations [press release] set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] during the end of former president Barrack Obama's term. A pending FCC rule, Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services [text], would have required [Reuters report] internet providers to seek consumer consent before sharing and selling their private information. Last month, Republicans seeking to invalidate the rule had...
[JURIST] US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley [official Twitter] stated to reporters on Monday that the US will continue to take action to sanction terrorists through the UN Security Council [official website], despite other countries utilizing their veto power. Haley did not name China, but her comments come in the midst of India's ongoing efforts to sanction Masood Azhar despite China's repeated vetoes [Times of India reports]. Azhar is the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is a jihadist...
[JURIST] The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) [official website] said Tuesday that it is monitoring alleged ceasefire violations in the neutral zone between Pakistan and India (the LOC). UN Secretary General’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric [official profile] explained the situation. "We’ve seen the alleged ceasefire violations over the Line of Control, which are currently being investigated by the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, in the Pakistani-administered side of the Line of Control at...
[JURIST] French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault [official profile] condemned [Twitter post, in French] a suspected chemical attack in Syria and called an emergency meeting [statement] of the United Nations Security Council [official website] to address the issue. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) [advocacy website] reported [SOHR report] that an attack took place on a hospital in in Idlib region of Syria, killing 58-including 11 children, involving the use of chemical weapons. It is suspected [Reuters report] that the...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court on Monday held in McLane v. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [opinion, PDF] that " A district court’s decision whether to enforce or quash an EEOC subpoena should be reviewed for abuse of discretion, not de novo." The Court relied on two factors, one considering the "longstanding practice of the courts of appeals[']" review process of administrative subpoenas filed by the EEOC and secondly, "basic principles of institutional capacity counsel in favor of deferential...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday unanimously decided in Dean v. United States [opinion, PDF] that trial courts could consider mandatory minimums when imposing sentences for other underlying offenses. In Dean, the appellant had been convicted of several robbery and firearm charges and two additional charges of " possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U. S. C. §924," which carried mandatory minimums totalling 30 years. At sentencing, Dean asked...
The European Court of Justice [court website] (ECJ) on Tuesday upheld [text] a visa ban on an Iranian student seeking to study in Germany. Sahar Fahimian applied to study sensitive security topics at a University in Germany, but was subsequently denied the visa by the German government, citing various security issues that could be used once the degree was obtained. The court decided that it was up to national authorities to decide if the visa ban was justified by security...

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