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 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...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 7-2 Monday in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer [SCOTUSblog materials] that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources policy of excluding religious organizations from receiving grants violates the First Amendment. The Department offers grants to public and private schools and daycares to resurface playgrounds with material made from recycled tires. Trinity Lutheran Church applied for a grant for its preschool and daycare center but was denied because it was...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday agreed to review [opinion, PDF] the Trump administration's travel ban, partially lifting the temporary injunction that had blocked the ban's enforcement. The administration sought review [JURIST report] of decisions issued by the US Courts of Appeal for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits [official websites] last month. The Supreme Court's order permits execution of the travel ban, but it "may not be enforced against an individual seeking admission as a refugee who can...
[JURIST] Cambodia's former head of state on Friday rejected charges of crimes against humanity in his UN-assisted tribunal. The 85-year-old Khieu Samphan, who was head of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, said [AP report] the allegations were concocted by neighboring country Vietnam. Samphan denied knowing about the forced marriages, executions, and starvations that occurred during the regime and asserted that he only found about the suffering after the rule ended. Commenting on the trial, Samphan stated "I want to...
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday rejected calls to cease Turkish military presence and close its military base in Qatar. He viewed [Anadolu News, report] these demand as disrespectful to Turkey. Additionally, President Erdogan claimed that the list of 13 demands [AP, materials] imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain were an unlawful interference with Qatar's sovereignty. The demands against Qatar were prompted by allegations that Qatar condones and funds terrorist activity. Erdogan said...
The US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] on Wednesday denied in part and granted in part a motion to dismiss [order, PDF] a class-action suit filed against President Donald Trump [official profile] and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) [official website]. The suit was filed against the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP) [USCIS summary] and claims that the USCIS secretly and unlawfully targets immigration applicants who are Muslim or from certain Muslim-majority...
The lower house of the German Parliament [official website] on Thursday passed a bill [PDF, in German] to compensate thousands of individuals who had been persecuted and imprisoned for their sexuality. The law under which the individuals had been convicted is paragraph 175 [text] of Germany's criminal code, and was put in place in 1871. The scope of the law was broadened under the Nazi regime, and was used to convict men as recently as 1967. Individuals who were wrongfully...
Amnesty International UK (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday called for [press release] improved police training and a review of the legal framework as they relate to hate crimes in the UK. In a news briefing tilted "Against Hate: Tackling hate crime in the UK" [PDF], AI highlights a 42 per cent rise in hate crime in the two weeks prior to and following the EU referendum vote in 2016, primarily against members of minorities including, but not limited, to new...
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] on Thursday temporarily blocked [opinion, PDF] the deportation of over 100 Iraq nationals, arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, for approximately two weeks during which time the court will decide whether it has jurisdiction in the matter.Judge Mark Goldsmith, who issued the order staying the deportation, stated that it is not immediately clear whether the Iraq nationals will succeed in this action. Nevertheless, Goldsmith concluded...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] lifted an injunction [opinion, PDF] Thursday on a Mississippi law that critics say allows individuals, including government employees, to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for religious reasons. According to a legal analysis [text, PDF] from Columbia University [official website], House Bill 1523 [text], or the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, "strips Mississippians of applicable anti-discrimination protections in order to accommodate the preferences of...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that the proper review forum when the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) [official website] dismisses a mixed case on jurisdictional grounds is district court. The decision comes out of Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board [SCOTUSblog materials], a case concerning a federal employee who had a complaint of both adverse employment accusations and that those accusations were based on discriminatory grounds, otherwise known as a "mixed case." If a federal...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-3 Friday in Murr v. Wisconsin [SCOTUSblog materials] that the lower court was correct in determining that a Wisconsin family's property was a single unit and the government's action did not constitute a "taking." The Murrs, owners of two adjacent properties together totaling just under one acre, sought a variance permitting them to sell one lot and remain domiciled in the other. A city ordinance requires that two adjacent parcels be...
Thailand's parliament unanimously approved national strategy legislation on Thursday which will provide the military with political influence for at least 20 years. The National Strategy Act will create a committee [Reuters report], led by coup leader Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC profile], that will collaborate with future cabinet members to revise national strategy plans every five years. The committee will also consist of military leaders, business and industries representatives, and other experts. Critics of the legislation say it is a...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday for an immigrant who had received poor legal advice from his counsel. The petitioner in Lee v. United States [SCOTUSblog materials] came to the US from South Korea in 1982 and found success as a businessman. In 2009 he was charged with possession of ecstasy with an intent to distribute. Concerned for his residency status in the US, Lee took the advice of his lawyer who told him he would...
A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] signed an order [text] on Thursday accepting major revisions to Arizona's death penalty procedures. The order provides such changes like eliminating paralytic drugs for lethal injections, providing witnesses with more access to watch prisoners inside the death chamber, limitations on the department director's authority to change drugs, and time allotted to prisoners to challenge any drug changes. The changes are the result of a settlement reached...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] on Thursday accused [press release] the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of backing "Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations." According to HRW, the UAE claims that the it provides financial and military aid to the Yemeni troops under the guise of fighting ISIS. However, HRW has traced the disappearance or arbitrary detention of 38 individuals to Yemeni troops backed by the UAE. The UAE...
[JURIST] A panel consisting of three judges from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] affirmed [opinion, PDF] all but one conviction of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted [JURIST report] in 2015 for disclosing classified information to a journalist. The information was about national defense strategy in Iran. The panel reversed one of the convictions on the grounds of improper venue. Sterling argued that some of the evidence had been improperly admitted by...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that where there is a public-trial violation during jury selection the defendant must demonstrate prejudice to secure a new trial if the issue is raised as an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim. Members of the public were not permitted to enter the courtroom during two days of jury selection for Weaver v. Massachusetts [SCOTUSblog] materials because the room could not accommodate all the potential jurors. The petitioner's lawyer failed to object to a...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Thursday that naturalized citizens may not be stripped of their citizenship status based on false statements that were immaterial to becoming a citizen. The court held that in order to secure a conviction for violating 18 USC §1015(a) [text], the statute governing unlawful procurement of citizenship, the government must show that the alleged illegal act actually contributed to the obtaining of citizenship. In the case at hand, Diana Maslenjukan, an...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday upheld the convictions [opinion, PDF] of several men who robbed, raped, kidnapped Catherine Fuller in the District of Columbia in 1984. Twenty-five years after being convicted in Turner, et al. v. United States [opinion, PDF], Turner and several other defendants moved to have their sentences vacated on the assertion that the government violated the rule of law from Brady v. Maryland [opinion, PDF] by withholding exculpatory evidence. The case was decided on...

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