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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United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer [official website] on Wednesday called on the US to end impunity [press release] for those officials who have committed acts of torture. Melzer urged US authorities to take action on the findings in the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee Report [JURIST report], which found that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] deliberately misled Congress and the White House about information obtained using enhanced interrogation techniques between 2002 and 2007, and that those...
A committee in Ireland's Houses of Oireachtas [official website] on Wednesday voted [video] to recommend that the full parliament repeal the country's Eighth Amendment [materials], which dictates that an unborn child and mother have an equal right to life. The Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution [official website] considered numerous proposals [text, PDF] for inclusion in an eventual report to be delivered to the wider parliament suggesting changes to the country's strict abortion laws. Among those approved...
The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] on Wednesday vacated [opinion, PDF] a lower federal court injunction that imposed county-based signature-gathering requirements that minor political parties in Pennsylvania must fulfill to get their candidates on the ballot. This is the latest development in a case that has been in litigation since 2012 when the Constitution, Green and Libertarian [party websites] parties of Pennsylvania, collectively referred to as the "Aspiring Parties," filed a § 1983 [text, PDF]...
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported [press release] Monday that sanctions against the People's Democratic Republic on North Korea have a negative effect on aid efforts. High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] told the UN Security Council that 13 million of the 17 million North Koreans facing food shortages rely on aid provided by the UN. Sanctions on imports and money transfers have disrupted delivery of food aid. Zeid said the heightened state of military tensions...
Amnesty International on Monday accused [report, PDF] EU member states of being complicit in the abuse and torture of refugees and migrants that have journeyed across Africa and are now being detained in Libya. The Libyan coastguard, detention authorities and smugglers are allegedly colluding with each other to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants trapped in the country for financial gain. Amnesty claims support from the EU is a part of their plan to "curb the scale of a political...
The US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] on Monday blocked [order, PDF] President Donald Trump's transgender military ban. US District Judge Marsha Pechman partially granted the preliminary injunction, finding the ban likely violates the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to equal protection, substantive due process, and First Amendment protections. Additionally, Pechman partially granted the government's motion to dismiss, finding the ban does not violate the plaintiffs' rights to procedural due process. Pechman considered four factors in deciding...
The Trump administration on Monday appealed the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] order that denied [text, PDF] a request to delay the preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump's transgender military ban, originally set to take effect January 1. The appeal [text, PDF] follows US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's Monday ruling [JURIST report], which rejected [order, PDF] the government's claims finding it had not met its burden in seeking a stay of the preliminary injunction....
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday added [docket] a Maryland redistricting case, Benisek v. Lamone, to its merits docket on Friday, along with six other cases [JURIST report]. While the case [SCOTUSblog materials] was previously being considered on a jurisdictional question, SCOTUS decided to delay answering the jurisdictional question until the case was heard on its merits. The plaintiff claims that the redistricting in Maryland violates the First Amendment and was used as retaliation against Republican voters. The...
The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Monday denied [order, PDF] the government's request to delay implementation of a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] halting portions of President Donald Trump's [official profile] transgender military ban. In October, the court granted plaintiffs' request to prevent the Accession Directive (prohibiting transgender individuals from entering the military) and the Retention Directive (allowing for the discharge of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines currently in uniform) from going into effect...
The U.S. Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to hear [orders list, PDF] an appeal from Jameka Evans, a Georgia security guard who claims that she was harassed and ultimately forced to quit her job because she is s a lesbian. Evans argued that sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [text]. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on a number of factors, including sex. The question presented in the...
The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official site] on Monday announced [press release] that it will refer the Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations Security Council [official site] over its failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir [official website]. The referral comes after the ICC decided issued two arrest warrants [text, PDF; second warrant, PDF] for Al-Bashir for the alleged genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity [JURIST report] committed in Darfur. However, because Sudan is not a part of...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday granted certiorari [orders list, PDF] in seven cases. In Benisek v. Lamone [docket], the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Maryland's 2011 electoral map. The petitioners allege [SCOTUSblog materials] that their district was re-drawn to favor Democrats as retaliation against them for their support of Republican candidates. A three-judge panel of the US District Court for Maryland [official website] had previously refused [opinion, PDF] the voters' preliminary injunction request, and...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: The High Court of South Africa [official website] ruled [decision, PDF] Friday that President Jacob Zuma's [BBC profile] appointment of a State Prosecutor who would decide whether to reinstate corruption charges against was invalid. [more] [JURIST] Argentinian Judge Carlos Bonadio [CIJ backgrounder, in Spanish] ordered [text, PDF, in Spanish] the arrest of current senator and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday for her alleged involvement...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: California's Public Counsel partnered with Morrison & Foerster on Tuesday to file a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the Superior Court of Los Angeles claiming the state has failed to uphold its suggested standards for improving literacy rates for grade school children. [more] Deputy Director Leandra English filed an amended complaint [text, pdf] Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump and his pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website] as...
The High Court of South Africa [official website] ruled [decision, PDF] Friday that President Jacob Zuma's [BBC profile] appointment of a State Prosecutor who would decide whether to reinstate corruption charges against was invalid. Zuma appointed Shaun Abrahams to be lead prosecutor in 2015 who would decide if corruption charges—more than 800 charges including a $1.5 billion arms deal—could be brought against the South African president. Judge Dunstan Mlambo invalidated the appointment, stating that "Zuma would be clearly conflicted in...
[JURIST] Argentinian Judge Carlos Bonadio [CIJ backgrounder, in Spanish] ordered [text, PDF, in Spanish] the arrest of current senator and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday for her alleged involvement in a cover-up of Iran's participation in a 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center [BBC backgrounder] that left 85 people dead Kirchner served as president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015 before being elected senator. During that time, Kirchner is alleged to...
California's Public Counsel partnered with Morrison & Foerster on Tuesday to file a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the Superior Court of Los Angeles claiming the state has failed to uphold its suggested standards for improving literacy rates for grade school children. The complaint is filed on behalf of former and current students along with teachers from multiple school districts. Five years ago, the president of the California State Board of Education [website], after identifying a crisis in literacy proficiency, published...
The US House of Representatives [official website] voted 423-3 [roll call] on Wednesday to approveH. Con. Res. 90 [text, PDF] condemning "ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and calling for an end to the attacks in and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the state of Rakhine in Burma." The resolution, submitted by Representative Joseph Crowley [official website] of New York, also called on President Donald Trump [official profile] to impose sanctions members of the Myanmar military and security forces...
Australia's House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved [minutes] a bill [text, PDF] legalizing same-sex marriage, with just four votes in opposition. The new law changes the definition of marriage from "the union of a man and a woman" to "the union of 2 people" [text, PDF]. This comes after years of resistance from conservatives. There had previously been 22 unsuccessful attempts [NYT report] to make this change since 2004. This particular vote was preceded [Sydney Morning Herald...
Deputy Director Leandra English filed an amended complaint [text, pdf] Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump and his pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website] as interim director. When former director Richard Cordray formally resigned November 24, he named English as his temporary replacement [press release]. However, Trump immediately named current Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney [official profile] as the acting director until he could confirm a permanent director through the Senate. The suit...

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