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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[JURIST] US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) [official website] filed a lawsuit Monday against the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) [official website] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin [official website] attempting to block the federal government from paying a portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] health care coverage for members of Congress and their staffs. The government had made employer contributions to health insurance plans prior to the...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday temporarily blocked [order, PDF] the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in Utah. The Utah Attorney General [official website] filed an application for stay [text, PDF] with the court last week to block same-sex marriages pending the state's appeal of a US district judge's December 20 decision [JURIST report] striking down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Three similar applications to the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official...
[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Monday welcomed [press release] last week's decision by Nepal's top refusing to grant amnesty [JURIST report] for serious human rights violations committed during Nepal's civil war. Pillay declared the decision to be a "significant development" for the victims of the war, which lasted from 1996 to 2006 and claimed at least 13,000 lives, with another 1,300 going missing during the conflict. She stressed that Nepal would need to...
[JURIST] Thousands of UK criminal trial lawyers staged a half-day strike on Monday to protest planned government cuts to legal aid. The fee cuts, which would reduce their pay by as much as 30 percent [Bloomberg report], are part of an attempt by the government to lessen the country's deficit. Lawyers refused to attend court [BBC report] before 2:00 PM in cities including London, Manchester, Bristol and Cardiff as part of a walkout organized by the Criminal Bar Association [official...
[JURIST] The Islamabad Special Court trying former president Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] on Monday granted Musharraf an exemption from personal appearance due to health issues, but has instructed authorities at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) [official website] to supply the court with his medical report by Tuesday. The demand came after the former president missed another hearing [Express News report] complaining of chest pain. Prosecutor Akram Sheikh has accused Musharraf of checking into the Rawalpindi...
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday demanded [press release] that Louisiana state officials immediately release former Black Panther Albert Woodfox [AI backgrounder], who has been detained in solitary confinement since 1972 after being charged and convicted of fatally stabbing a prison guard. Authorities first moved Woodfox to isolation in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and later to "closed-cell restriction" at state jails. Later this month, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] is...
[JURIST] Cambodian police on Monday released five activists arrested earlier in the day for petitioning the French Embassy to release 23 demonstrators held for opposing the government's labor and political framework. The release was reportedly conditioned upon the demonstrators' collective agreement [AP report] that they would not join in recent labor rallies aimed, in part, toward offsetting the power of Prime Minister Hun Sen and furthering the rights of garment workers. Cambodian authorities on Saturday formally banned public protest in...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] ruled [text, PDF] on Friday that the executive branch may continue to withhold a Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] memo that established the legal basis for telephone companies to give customers' calling records to the government without a subpoena or court order. The classified memo was issued by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [official website] in January 2010. The FBI [official website] denies [NYT...
[JURIST] Tunisian members of parliament rejected Islam as the main source of law for the country on Saturday as they voted to establish a new constitution. The Islamist-led party and secular parties overcame [Reuters report] intense debate about Islam's role in the country before beginning to draft the new constitution. The National Constituent Assembly adopted [SBS report] only 12 of the proposed 146 articles despite a January 14 deadline for the completion of the new constitution. The first clause of...
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Friday filed an appeal to a federal district court ruling [opinion] that held that the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] program of collecting phone call data is likely unconstitutional [JURIST report]. In December Judge Richard Leon granted in part the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, but he stayed his order pending appeal. The DOJ has asked the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official...
[JURIST] The respondents challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage on Friday filed a brief [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court opposing the state's request to stay [JURIST report] the district court's ruling striking down the ban pending appeal. The respondents argue that the state must meet an "especially high burden," because it is asking that a circuit justice grant a stay of the district court's judgment pending appeal to the court of appeals, when the court of appeals itself...
[JURIST] A Turkish court on Saturday ordered the release of three Kurdish lawmakers charged with having links to militants after ordering the release of two others on Friday. A judge in Diyarbakir ruled [Reuters report] that the detainment of Selma Irmakand and Faysal Sariyildiz, Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party members of parliament, and independent member Kemal Aktas violated their rights as elected officials and released them. On Friday a judge in Diyarbakir ordered the release of Gulser Yildirim and Ibrahim...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nepal rejected legislation on Saturday that proposed amnesty for those responsible for serious rights abuses during the country's civil war. A Maoist-led government proposed [Enca report] the legislation last year as part of a planned Truth and Reconciliation Commission [text, PDF] aimed at healing the wounds from the civil war. Justices Kalyan Shrestha, Girish Chandra Lal and Sushila Karki [official websites] said the government must amend [Nepal Republica report] the amnesty provisions in Section 25...
[JURIST] The US government filed a motion [text, PDF] Friday asking the US Supreme Court [official website] to remove the stay [text, PDF] on the contraception mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] that was put in place by Justice Sonia Sotomayor earlier this week. The government argues that the motion for an emergency injunction filed by Little Sisters For the Poor [advocacy website] was granted improperly because the group has no legal basis,...
[JURIST] The California Supreme Court [official website] ruled [text, PDF] on Thursday that an immigrant in the country illegally may be admitted to the state bar. The court admitted Sergio Garcia based on a new California statute [Business and Professions Code section 6064, PDF] which grants the court discretion to admit any individual "who is not lawfully present in the United States" that fulfills all the requirements for admission. Garcia, who was born in Mexico and brought to the US...
[JURIST] A leader in Bangladesh's main Islamist party was charged on Tuesday in connection with war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [Bangladesh News backgrounder] with Pakistan. Abdus Subhan, who was arrested last September, was formally charged after Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICTB) conducted an investigation. However, human rights groups say that the tribunal, which was set up in 2010 to investigate abuses committed in that war, does not meet international standards and supporters of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami...
[JURIST] Former civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] was released from prison on Tuesday after a federal judge ordered the "compassionate release." Judge John Koeltl granted the motion [JURIST report] after it was filed Tuesday, finding that Stewart's terminal health condition qualified her for "compassionate release." Stewart was released [AP report] from Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, and arrived in New York Wednesday afternoon, where she was greeted by supporters and relatives. Stewart...
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of New York [official website] on Tuesday upheld [opinion, PDF] New York's strict gun law as constitutional but struck down a provision prohibiting gun owners to load more than seven rounds into a magazine. The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act [text, PDF], known as the SAFE Act, was enacted in January 2013 [JURIST report] and is among the most restrictive gun laws in the country....
[JURIST] The Utah Attorney General [official website] filed an application for stay [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday to block same-sex marriages pending the state's appeal of a US district judge's December 20 decision [JURIST report] striking down the state's ban. Three similar applications to the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit have been rejected [JURIST report]. The attorney general argues that the district court's decision to strike down the ban on same-sex...
[JURIST] Indian President Pranab Mukherjee [official website] on Wednesday signed into law a landmark anti-graft bill passed by parliament in December. The new law [AFP report] creates a corruption ombudsman with extensive power to prosecute politicians and civil servants to create a "bribe-free India." The bill was approved by parliament [AFP report] with support from both the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) [party website]. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [official website] called the law, under which he...

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