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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Redistricting has taken on increasing importance nationally as controversies over the political gerrymandering of House seats in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin [JURIST reports] have moved into the spotlight. However, redistricting controversies are not confined to the national level. At the local level, redistricting causes emotions to run high, frustrates politicians and, sometimes, causes befuddlement. A survey of a few local redistricting stories: School District Redistricting At least in two recent examples, efforts to redistrict schools appear to be unpopular...
Ohio voters on Tuesday approved an amendment [text, PDF] that will give Ohio crime victims more Constitutional rights. Issue 1 passed with over 82 percent of the vote [official election results], giving crime victims more rights and requiring that those rights be as well protected as the rights of the criminal suspects. The rights provided by this amendment include the right to notice of the release or escape of the accused and the right to reasonable protection from the accused,...
The Indonesian Constitutional Court on Tuesday found [judgment, PDF] that a 2013 law requiring people who adopted indigenous native faiths to not disclose that religion on their ID cards was discriminatory and unconstitutional. The Indonesian government only recognizes six official religions and anyone who fails to identify with one of the religions is often denied equal access [Indonesia Investments report] to "education, employment, and legal marriage." A 2000 census reported about 400,000 Indonesians to identify with a religion or faith...
The Instanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Tuesday upheld Enis Berberoğlu's 25-year prison sentence, finding the appeals court did not have grounds to order a retrial [Reuters report]. Berberoğlu, deputy of the main opposition party, Republican People's Party (CHP), was convicted of military espionage in June after he allegedly reported video of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) transporting weapons to rebels in Syria. The investigation [Turkish Minute report] began with the journalists who reported the MIT's suspicious acts, but the...
Syria announced on Tuesday during UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) [official website] in Bonn, Germany, that the nation is poised to send its ratification of the Paris Climate Accord [text, PDF] to the UN. The Syria People's Assembly voted to approve ratification of the agreement last month. Syria, a nation engrossed in a civil war since 2011, was not present at the 2015 negotiations for the climate agreement. The country has not yet submitted [NYT report] targets for cutting greenhouse...
A three-judge panel for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [official website] denied in part [order, PDF] a motion to dismiss [PDF] filed by intervenor defendants in Ager v. Wolf [advocacy website], a Pennsylvania redistricting case. The initial complaint [PDF] in the lawsuit, filed on October 2, alleges that the current Pennsylvania districting maps favor Republicans and violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments [LII materials]. The judges denied the motion to dismiss the suit in relation...
The US Supreme Court [official website]ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Wednesday in Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago [SCOTUSblog materials] that a court-made time limitation rule was not jurisdictional. The issue was whether the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit erred in dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure (4)(a)(5)(C) [text]. The rule states that a motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal cannot be granted to extend...
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia released an order [text, PDF] Wednesday preventing all interested parties in the case against Paul Manafort Jr. and Richard Gates III from making certain statements to the media and in public settings. The order prevents both sides of the trial from making any statements that are "substantially likely to have a materially prejudicial effect on this case." No parties filed any objections to the order. The...
Spain's Constitutional Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday declared [press release, PDF, in Spanish] the Catalan independence declaration to be unconstitutional. The court initially nullified [JURIST report] the October 27 declaration of independence while it studied its legality. The secession vote passed by 70-10 margin in the 135-seat Catalan parliament. In response to the vote, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy [official profile] responded by dissolving Catalan's Parliament and invoking Article 155 [text, PDF] on the Spanish Constitution in an...
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] reported [text, PDF] Wednesday that attacks against places of worship and religious leaders have seen a "disturbing" increase in Afghanistan since January 1, 2016. The attacks typically target Shi'a Muslim congregations, and almost all attacks are carried out by anti-government elements. Since January 1, 2016, 273 people have been killed, and 577 have been injured in these attacks. These casualties are almost twice the number seen in similar attacks between 2009...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in Patchak v. Zinke [SCOTUSblog materials]. The case centers around whether Section 2(b) of the Gun Lake Act [text] is an unconstitutional violation of Article III [text] of the Constitution regarding separation of powers. The statute, which was implemented after the court decided the suit may proceed, directs federal courts to promptly dismiss a pending case without amending the substantive law. Patchak's attorney argued the specific section of...
Germany's highest constitutional court ruled [press release, in German] in an order [judgment, in German] published Wednesday that a third gender designation for intersex people must be made available at birth. This ruling comes from a case brought by an intersex individual who was required to be registered at birth as male or female or leave the gender blank, resulting in a designation on their record as "missing information." A chromosomal analysis found that this individual was not distinctly male...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea (PNG) [official website] refused [judgment] Tuesday to restore power and provide water and medical services to the Manus Island detention center [BBC backgrounder]. The detention center was officially closed last week, but approximately 600 refugees have refused to leave. The refugees still in the compound asked the Supreme Court to restore the delivery of food and water and to mandate the continuation of health services in the camp. In the decision, Chief...
[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] held [webcast] simultaneous hearings [press release] Tuesday regarding the UK's practice of intercepting private communications in large amounts, which was leaked by Edward Snowden [CNN backgrounder]. The cases, brought by civil rights groups, were heard by a panel of seven judges, over violations of privacy, expression and right to a fair trial. In particular, 10 Human Rights Organisations and Others v. the UK has gained particular attention [Guardian report] as...
Supreme Court officials announced on Friday that Justice Samuel Alito denied [AP report] state legislators' request for a stay in the redistricting case Agre v. Wolf [advocacy website]. On October 25, a three judge panel for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted a Motion to Intervene [texts, PDF] by State Representative Michael C. Turzai and State Senator Joseph B. Scarnati, III. Turzai and Scarnati asked the Supreme Court to stay district court proceedings in...
UN Security Council (UNSC) [official website] President Sebastiano Cardi on Monday condemned [statement] condemning violence in Myanmar's state of Rakhine and urged the Myanmar government to stop using excessive military force and "work with Bangladesh and the United Nations to allow the voluntary return of refugees in conditions of safety and dignity to their homes, on the basis of a 24 October Memorandum of Understanding [JURIST report] between the two countries." According to the UN, Myanmar has engaged in a...
Former Kenya lawmaker Harun Mwau filed a petition [text, PDF] on Monday at the Supreme Court of Kenya [official website] challenging last month's presidential election win for President Uhuru Kenyatta claiming the election was not free and fair. On October 26 Kenyatta won the right to another five-year term by 98 percent of the vote. In September the Supreme Court invalidated [JURIST report] the initial presidential election held in August finding that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission "failed to...
The US Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] in Merit Management Group, LP, v. FTI Consulting, Inc. [docket], a case concerning the scope of protection afforded certain institutions acting as so-called "safe harbors" in claims against bankruptcy trustees. The controversy arose out of a securities transaction between FTI as the estate bankruptcy trustee and Merit Management as the recipient of the alleged fraudulent transfer. Specifically, "the trustee attempted to avoid a payment by the bankrupt company, Valley...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday overturned [opinion, PDF] a lower court's decision to enforce an original plea bargain in accordance with contract law principles, finding such application was not supported by federal law. The case arose from a California criminal conviction. Respondent Michael Cuero was charged with a misdemeanor and two felonies, one of which was deemed a "strike" under California's "three-strike" law. Cuero pleaded guilty to the two felonies, which yielded a maximum sentence of 14...
Bahrain issued a statement [press release] Saturday declaring that the country has a right to reclaim lands that the nation believes were wrongfully taken by Qatar. The lands in dispute were settled by a International Court of Justice decision [materials] in 2001. The court split the territory, including settling maritime lines. This decision has never been accepted by the Bahraini government. The government of Bahrain stated, "The Kingdom of Bahrain has every right to claim what was cut off forcibly...

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