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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On Saturday the newly confirmed head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] Scott Pruitt [EPA bio] announced that they would be rolling back some Obama era regulations as soon as next week. When speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference [official website] (CPAC) on Saturday, Pruitt took a tone that the previous administration's policies had a negative effect on economic growth and led many people to want the agency eliminated completely. Pruitt mentioned three rules specifically targeted by...
On Thursday the Montana House of Representatives [gov website] introduced HB 536 [text, PDF] which would allow homicide charges to be brought against doctors engaged in physician-assisted suicide. This legislation would run against the current policy of the State of Montana, which allows end of life options. In 2009 the Supreme Court of Montana ruled in Baxter v. Montana [decision, PDF] that nothing in state law made it illegal to provide a mentally competent patient drugs to hasten the patients...
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [website] passed a resolution [resolution, PDF] on Friday announcing a national boycott of North Carolina. The NAACP asked other organizations, artists, religious groups, and sports leagues to follow suit and according to the NAACP, 200 organizations are already planning to join the boycott. The first action taken by the NAACP was to decide not to hold their annual convention in North Carolina. The boycott comes as a response to North...
Two sources with contacts in the Trump administration suggested Saturday that the US might be considering leaving the UN Human Rights Council [official website]. One source explained that several requests had come from the US State Department regarding the Council, suggesting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson [profile] might be reevaluating [news article] the US membership of the Council. The notion was further supported by Tillerson expressing skepticism about the work of the Council in a recent meeting, according to...
Bombings and air strikes in Syria were committed deliberately to disrupt peace talks between both sides in Geneva, UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Saturday. De Mistura met with officers of the Syrian government and opposition forces in Geneva in efforts to resolve [Reuters report] the ongoing conflict. Suicide attackers killed [NPR report] at least 32 people on Saturday in the city of Homs, including a senior military official. The Syrian government responded with airstrikes against a rebel-held enclave....
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] requested [motion, PDF] the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Friday to hold court proceedings relating to President Donald Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations. The motion referenced the stay of the proceedings issued [JURIST report] by the court last week, after the government requested the court "hold its consideration of the case until the President issues the new Order." The DOJ motion on Friday stressed "the...
The US Supreme Court [official website] asked both sides of the Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] case on Thursday to submit letters to the court [SCOTUSblog report] discussing "how the case should proceed in light of" the Trump administration's revocation [JURIST report] of the Obama-era guidance on school transgender bathroom policies. The Department of Education (DOE) interpretation of of Title IX required schools to "treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity." Essentially, the question currently before...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on [HRW report] the United States to investigate the January 2017 US raid on Al-Qaeda that resulted in the deaths of at least 14 people. US special forces conducted an intelligence-gathering raid on the small Yemen town of al-Ghyeel on January 29, 2017. According to witnesses interviewed by HRW, US forces were engaged in a firefight with villagers when the military began to "target anything that moved and anyone who left their home."...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [press release] on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) officials Friday to investigate fully and impartially a video allegedly showing Congolese soldiers shooting and killing 13 alleged militia members. The video, released on February 17, shows soldiers approaching a group of alleged members of the Kamuina Nsapu militia, many of whom were carrying sticks and slingshots. The soldiers then opened fire on the group, some of whom were women and children, and several of...
US President Donald Trump signed [press release] an executive order [text] Friday that creates regulatory task forces in every federal agency to look through the regulations and determine which ones "are burdensome to the US economy" and can be removed or consolidated. The task forces should be established within 60 days, and the task forces have 90 days to report progress. The task forces are meant to "seek to repeal regulations that 'inhibit job creation,' are 'ineffective,' impose costs that...
Prosecutors in North Jutland, Denmark [official website], pressed blasphemy charges [press release, in Danish] against a man on Wednesday for posting a video in which he burned a Koran. On Thursday the Danish Prosecution Service issued a formal indictment [press release, in Danish] against the man. The prosecutor noted that, "It is the prosecution's view that the circumstances of the burning of holy books like the Bible and the Qur'an implies that in some cases it may be a violation...
The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) formally asked the International Court of Justice [official website] Thursday to review a 2007 ruling [text, PDF; JURIST report] clearing Serbia of genocide during their 1990 civil war. President Izetbegovic of the President of the Democratic Party of Action, engaged a lawyer to draft the request before the 10-year statute of limitations runs out on February 26. The request for review [RFE/FL report] has prompted anger from Bosnian Serbs and Serbia; Bosnian presidency's...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Friday that the Israeli government denied [press release] a work permit to researcher Omar Shakir, citing anti-Israel bias from the organization. According to a translation of the letter sent from Israel's Interior Ministry, the letter said [HRW translation, PDF] "The opinion received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that, for some time now, this organization's public activities and reports have engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely...
A Slovenian law allowing same-sex marriage took effect Friday, and the country's first same-sex marriage will take place Saturday, according to an administrator in Maribor [official website, in Slovenian], the city where the wedding will take place. Ksenija Klampfer said a lesbian couple will be the first to get married under a law passed by the Slovenian government last year. The law was passed [Radio-Television Slovenia report, in Slovenian] in a 51-28 vote [JURIST report] months after a referendum to...
The UN Security Council [official website] on Wednesday condemned [statement] the February 16 terrorist attack in Baghdad that left at least 55 people dead. A terrorist group linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which was reportedly a car bomb [Al Jazeera report] on a busy street in the Bayaa neighborhood. Current Council President Volodymyr Yelchenko [official profile] called the attacks "cowardly and heinous," and reiterated the Council's position that "any acts of terrorism are...
[JURIST] US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official website] issued a memo [memo, PDF] made public Thursday that rescinds an Obama administration memo [text] calling for the phasing out of the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] use of private prisons. In the memo, Sessions states that the Obama-era memo "changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau (of Prisons') ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system." Currently, 13 of the 146 federal prisons [Reuters report]...
[JURIST] The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] urged [press release] Bangladesh on Friday to end enforced disappearances. The Working Group says that the number of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh has risen from a few cases to around 40 in the past few years. Many of the cases involve political opponents, including three men who disappeared last August. The Working Group said, "Enforced disappearance is a heinous crime and an offence to human dignity and no...
A Volkswagen (VW) [corporate website] executive pleaded not guilty in the wake of VW's emissions scandal. Oliver Schmidt, the former general manager of VW's environmental and engineering office, was arrested in Miami last month and charged [JURIST report] with conspiracy to defraud the US, alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and wire fraud in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website]. Schmidt has been charged with 11 counts and could face a combined maximum...
[JURIST] UN human rights experts are called [press release] on global leaders Friday to take urgent action on air pollution to ensure world citizens enjoy what the UN calls "the human rights to life and health in environments free from contamination." The experts stated that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) [official website], approximately seven million deaths are linked to exposure to air pollution [WHO backgrounder] every year. According to UNICEF [official website], 300 million children, roughly one in...
The UN Special Rapporteur for North Korean human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana [official website], is urging the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the UN member states to bring human rights violations committed by North Korea before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and address "the grave human rights situation" in the country. In a detailed report [text, DOC] prepared with the help of legal experts Sonja Biserko of Serbia and Sara Hossain of Bangladesh, Quintana made references to North Korea's...

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