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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Oregon's House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday approved a bill to amend the constitution [text, PDF] to make access to health care a fundamental right. The amendment would add a section to the state's constitution that reads: "It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, medically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right." The bill will now be sent to the Senate [official website] and, if approved,...
The Dutch senate [official website, in Dutch] on Tuesday narrowly approved legislation [text, PDF, in Dutch] revising organ donor registration to make automatic registration for organ donor status the default. Under the bill, people would have to opt-out if they wish. The Netherlands would join eight other European nations with similar policies. All adults not currently enrolled as a donor in the Netherlands would receive two letters from the government informing them of their impending status change and how to...
[JURIST] The Israeli police force said Monday that they have enough evidence to indict [press release, in Hebrew] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website], who has allegedly accepted bribes in two separate cases and acted against the interests of the public. The first case, called "Case 1000," reportedly concerns [Haaretz report] whether Netanyahu accepted gifts from prominent figures in return for advancing and protecting their interests in Israel. The gifts allegedly total to approximately USD $280,000 and include champagne, clothing,...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] has blocked [opinion, PDF] the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [official website] program, which gives undocumented immigrants brought into the US as children, known as "Dreamers," protection from deportation. The lawsuit was originally filed by 17 state attorneys general who primarily argued that the repeal of DACA was "arbitrary and capricious." That standard holds that there must...
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf [official website] on Tuesday told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that he rejects [letter] the new proposed congressional map submitted last week by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) [official websites]. Wolf told [press release] the court that the proposed map still acts as a partisan gerrymander. Wolf based this response on an analysis [summary, PDF] by a team of experts led by Professor Moon Duchin [academic profile], Associate Professor...
Two UN rights experts expressed serious concern [press release] on Tuesday regarding the arrest and detention of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager who became famous for slapping an Israeli soldier during a physical confrontation. UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Michael Lynk and Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez [official profiles] demanded Tamimi's immediate release during the proceedings and called for future hearings to be...
A new report [press release, PDF] by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) [advocacy websites] on Monday reveals that 11 of the 31 chief ministers of the various states and union territories of India, representing 35 percent of the chief ministers, have declared criminal charges against themselves in self-sworn affidavits. The chief ministers represent the heads of the various state governments and are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the state. These affidavits were the...
Four survivors of a church massacre that occurred during the Liberian civil war filed a civil suit [complaint, pdf] on Monday against the commander of the armed forces who allegedly committed the massacre. The suit, brought in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [official website], alleges that Moses Thomas commanded forces at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Monrovia as a colonel in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). The survivors claim that, "over the course...
An associate of South Korea's impeached former president Park Geun-hye's, Choi Soon-sil, was sentenced to 20 years and fined 18 billion won (USD $17 million) for abuse of power and bribery, among other crimes. The sentence [AP report] was handed down from the Seoul Central District Court [official website]. Choi was unheard of until late 2016 when it was revealed to the public that she was editing the president's speeches and picking out her clothing without holding a government position....
A British judge upheld [ruling, PDF] an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years hiding inside Ecuador's embassy [WP report] in London. The WikiLeaks co-founder breached bail conditions and sought refuge at the embassy in 2012 to avoid an arrest warrant [BBC timeline] from the Swedish Prosecutor's Office regarding two separate sexual assault claims. Though prosecutors dropped the rape investigation into Assange last year, Judge Emma Arbuthnot stated that she is not persuaded that his...
The African National Congress (ANC) [party website], the governing political party in South Africa, called [press release] Tuesday for South African President Jacob Zuma to step down. The call for resignation comes amidst corruption allegations against Zuma and social and economic issues [WP report] such as unemployment, economic stagnation and water shortages. The president had previously agreed to resign offering time frames ranging from three to six months, but the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC has called for...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Monday unsealed an indictment [text, PDF] against five Venezuelan officials for allegedly participating in an international bribery and money laundering scheme involving Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), a state-owned oil and natural gas company. The indictment alleges [press release] that the defendants, including the deputy energy minister, were known as a "management team" that exchanged bribe payments for contracts with an anonymous official from PDVSA. The five defendants were then suspected...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) [official websites] said Monday they had reached a settlement [text, PDF] with Shell Chemicals LP [corporate website] over the alleged Clean Air Act (CAA), National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) and Louisiana state law violations committed by failing to properly operate industrial flares at the company's Norco, Louisiana, plant. The settlement, lodged in the Eastern District Court of Louisiana as...
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] announced [press release] Monday that it has filed a complaint against the three biggest dental supply companies, "alleging that they violated U.S. antitrust laws by conspiring to refuse to provide discounts to or otherwise serve buying groups representing dental practitioners." The dental supply companies, Benco, Henry Schein and Patterson, are full-service dental distributors, supplying a range of equipment from gloves and cement to dental chairs and lights. The complaint accuses the companies...
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [press release] Liberia's new president George Weah [Britannica profile] in a letter [text] Monday to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed during Liberia's recent civil wars. Liberia experienced civil war from 1989-1996 and 1999-2003. HRW reports that during the civil wars, "Liberian citizens were subjected to horrific abuses including summary executions; numerous large-scale massacres; widespread and systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence; mutilation and torture; and large-scale forced conscription and use of...
A group of UN human rights experts said [press release] Monday that the detention of two Supreme Court judges in the Maldives is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and undermines the court's ability to work freely and effectively. The arrests follow the Supreme Court's decision to nullify the sentences against nine opposition figures, including former president Mohamed Nasheed [campaign profile], who were thrown into prison or forced into exile by President Abdulla Yameen [official profile]. Subsequent to...
A German consumer group said [press release, in German] Monday that the Berlin Regional Court [official website, in German] ruled [judgment, PDF, in German] that Facebook's use of personal data was illegal because it did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users. The Federation of German Consumers Organisation (vzbv) [advocacy website], which brought the suit, stated that Facebook's default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law by denying consumers of a...
Australia and Peru signed a new trade agreement [materials] Monday that will allow for greater access to beef, sugar, almonds and dairy products being sold within Peru. The trade agreement was finalized last November and will go into affect 60 days it is ratified by the Congress of Peru and the Parliament of Australia. The trade agreement has laid out terms of agreement between the countries for tariffs, telecommunications, investments, electronic commerce, intellectual property and other aspects of commerce. The...
Asma Jahangir [Bloomberg profile], a leading human rights activist and lawyer in Pakistan, died Sunday after suffering from cardiac arrest in her hometown city of Lahore at the age of 66. Jahangir dedicated decades of her life towards the pursuit of bringing about human rights changes within the Pakistani government and military, co-founding the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [advocacy website] and serving as the first female leader of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan [official website]. She had...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Monday expressed concern [press release] over the continuing casualties in Yemen. According to Zeid, "The upsurge in fighting in the south-western Governorate of Taizz is of particular concern. Civilians are under fire on all sides, as Houthi and affiliated forces carry out sniper attacks and indiscriminate shelling, and the Saudi-led Coalition continues to conduct airstrikes [JURIST report]. Civilians in the city of Taizz, the conflict is not just escalating...

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