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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Pakistan's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, passed a Constitutional amendment [text, PDF] Thursday that merges a region known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province along Pakistan's northwest Afghanistan border. The move extends a number of political, administrative, and human rights reforms to the FATA, and extends jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court as well. According to a UN Development Program report [text, PDF] the FATA rank...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] on Thursday accusing the Nigerian military of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during its fight against Islamic insurgency Boko Haram. The 89-page report [AI report], which is based on hundreds of interviews, gives accounts of abuses including rape, torching villages and indiscriminate killings. With the support of the US, Great Britain and France, Nigeria has fought against Boko Haram and its more powerful off shoot, Islamic State West...
Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems filed several multi-billion euro complaints in courts around Europe against Google (Android), Facebook, and two Facebook subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram [complaints, PDF] Friday—the same day as EU data protection laws, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [official website], went into effect. Combined, the lawsuits seek to fine a total 6.7 billion euro (€3.9 billion against Facebook, €3.7 billion against Google), or around USD $8.8 billion. Schrems' activist group named noyb, for "none of...
California's 4th District Court of Appeal [official website] on Wednesday denied a request to stay [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling that threatens to invalidate the state's End of Life Option Act [text] which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally ill. California Attorney General Xavier Beccera [official profile] sought to block last week's ruling [JURIST report] from Judge Daniel Ottolia of Riverside County Superior Court, which said that the End of Life Option Act was procedurally unconstitutional...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] responded [report] to the arrest of prominent human rights defender Mohammed al-Bajadi in Saudi Arabia on Friday, pointing out the arrest as continuation of the country's crack down on human rights. Mohammed al-Bajadi founded the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), which was shut down by Saudi authorities after its continued campaigns for the rights of prisoners. The report stated that the civil rights advocate was previously convicted in 2015, in which he was...
US President Donald Trump signed a bill [text, PDF] into law Thursday that decreases some Obama-era regulations imposed on banks by the Dodd-Frank Act [text, PDF]. Trump's signature comes just two days after House approval [JURIST report] on Tuesday. The new law allows banks with up to $250 billion in assets, as opposed to the previous $50 billion, escape some of the Dodd-Frank Act's most stringent rules. The legislation does not provide relief to the nation's largest banks like JPMorgan...
A three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] on Thursday rejected [judgment, PDF] a student's argument that a school district's transgender bathroom policy was an unconstitutional violation of his privacy, affirming the lower court's decision. The lawsuit involved Pennsylvania Boyertown Area School District, which had a practice of allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. A non-transgender student filed the suit claiming that this was a...
The Indonesian Parliament [official website] unanimously approved [text, in Indonesian] a new anti-terrorism law on Friday that will grant the military direct involvement in various counter-terrorism operations. The updated legislation comes as a possible solution following a slew of suicide bombings recently in Surabaya by individuals tied to the Islamic State. President Joko Widodo stated [text, in Indonesian] that the involvement of the Indonesian National Army soldiers in terrorist prevention measures is necessary and important to addressing these types of...
Following a trial in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website], a jury returned a verdict [decision, PDF] on Thursday ordering Samsung to pay Apple approximately $539 million for infringing on Apple's smartphone patents. The jury awarded Apple $533,316,606 for design patent infringements and $5,325,050 for utility patent infringements. The verdict comes in a retrial ordered after a 2016 Supreme Court decision [JURIST reports] in favor of Samsung in 2016 had remanded the case [opinion,...
US President Donald Trump on Thursday posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, who was convicted [press releases] under the Mann Act in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines and served 10 months in federal prison. Trump said Johnson "overcame difficult circumstances to reach the heights of the boxing world and inspired generations with his tenacity and independent spirit." Johnson's conviction occurred during a period of racial tension in the US. The full pardon has...
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) [official websites] reintroduced a bill [text, PDF] on Wednesday that would strengthen privacy protections for minors online. The bill, known as the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2018, would amend the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by allowing internet companies to collect personal data from children under 13 only with a parent's consent, and to collect data from children 13-15 only with the child's consent. The act would also...
A judge for US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri [official website] held [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that a prison's policy of refusing hormone therapy treatments to its transgender inmates was an unconstitutional violation of the Eighth Amendment. The lawsuit was filed by Jessica Hicklin, a transgender woman in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC), which refused to provide her with hormone therapy because of what the MDOC had named the "freeze-frame policy." Rather than basing...
Swedish lawmakers passed legislation [text, in Swedish] Wednesday making explicit consent or clear communication a requirement before sexual conduct, or it will be considered rape. "The purpose of the legislation is to clarify that every individual has an unconditional right to decide over their own sexual relations," according to a press release [statement] from the Riksdag, Sweden's legislative body. Previously someone could only be prosecuted for rape in Sweden if it was proven they had used threats or violence. The...
Four former high-ranking Guatemalan military officers were found guilty [IJM report] Wednesday of crimes against humanity by the Guatemalan High-Risk Court C. The officers were found guilty of sexually abusing an activist and the disappearance of her 14-year-old brother. They were sentenced to 58 years in jail. The family of the activist has been searching [Guardian report] for their son since October 6, 1981, when he was abducted by military officers and driven away. The Guatemalan government acknowledged responsibility for...
UN Secretary-General António Guterres [official profile] on Thursday revealed [press release] a new agenda for nuclear disarmament. Guterres' agenda [text, PDF] has three prongs. First, he urged the disarmament of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Part of the agenda reads, "[t]he Secretary-General remains fully committed to working for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and he calls on Member States to revitalize their pursuit of this goal without delay." Guterres plans to accomplish this goal by inter-state dialogue and changing...
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt [official websites] released a bipartisan bill [text, PDF] Wednesday overhauling sexual harassment policy for members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff, including requiring lawmakers to pay for financial settlements out of their own pockets. The Senate bill requires members of the House and Senate to reimburse the US Treasury for payment of any settlements, and an annual reporting of these payments will be released. It also gives those filing claims 90 days to require...
The Ontario Court of Appeal [judicial website], the highest court in the province of Ontario, ruled Wednesday that US-based oil corporation Chevron Corp.'s Canadian subsidiary cannot be held liable [judgment, PDF] for a USD $9.5-billion award granted by an Ecuadorian court against the parent company. This lawsuit arose out of the original actions against Texaco (which later became part of Chevron) by the Ecuadorian government related to the oil pollution from 1964-1990. In 2001 an Ecuadorian court held Texaco liable...
Scotland's government introduced [legislative history] a climate change bill [text, PDF] in the Scottish Parliament [official website] on Wednesday that sets greenhouse gas emissions targets at a 90 percent reduction by 2050. This is currently the "limit of feasibility" [press release] set forth by the UK Committee on Climate Change [official website]. The eventual goal is a 100 percent reduction, also known as "net-zero emissions." As currently drafted, the bill will allow the Scottish Parliament members to set a year...
In a hearing [video] before the European Court of Human Rights [official website] Wednesday, the Georgia government accused [press release] Russia of committing war crimes and human rights violations during the 2008 conflict [BBC backgrounder]. Georgia's government accused Russia of more than 100 air assaults in Georgian territory. It cited evidence to show that Russia "carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks," killing and injuring numerous civilians. It also accused Russia of carrying out summary executions and destroying property. During the...
A judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that President Donald Trump cannot block people from viewing his Twitter feed over their political views. The court held that the @realDonaldTrump twitter handle possesses components that are "interactive space" where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the president's tweets. The court further found that these "interactive spaces" should be analyzed as "public forums." Public forums have a special...

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