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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A UN human rights expert called for "calm and for all sides to exercise restraint" in the Central African Republic (CAR) Thursday, according to a UN statement [press release]. Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the CAR, "urged authorities to strengthen the protection of civilians amid an upsurge in violence across the country." The call came in response to a series of deadly attacks in the CAR, the latest on a church in...
The Department of Defense on Wednesday announced the transfer [text] of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darb to Saudi Arabia. Al Darb pleaded guilty in 2014. Part of the deal included his eventual transfer from Guantanamo. There are reports that Sandi Arabia confirmed his arrival around midnight on Wednesday. He will serve the rest of his 13-year sentence there. This is the first inmate transfer since January 19, 2017. There are 40 inmates left at Guantanamo....
The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) and Planned Parenthood [adovocacy websites] filed lawsuits against the Trump administration on Wednesday over an alleged shift in policy for family planning services toward a focus on abstinence. The complaints [NFPRHA; Planned Parenthood] state that the new provisions do not contain "recognized clinical guidelines," and therefore are giving preference to "applicants with little to no experience in providing high-quality family planning." Planned Parenthood and NFPRHA reason these changes dismantle experienced Title...
The Iowa legislature [official website] on Wednesday approved a measure [materials] to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, or as early as six weeks of gestation. According to the bill, "'Fetal heartbeat' means cardiac activity, the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac."Except in the case of a medical emergency, a physician shall not perform an abortion unless the physician has first complied with the prerequisites of chapter 146A and has tested the...
The Connecticut House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday approved HB 5542 [text], which bans "the sale or transfer, possession, manufacturing, or use of bumps stocks or other accessories to increase the rate of fire of a firearm." Violators of the bill will be guilty of a class D felony. Those who have a permit or certificate for gun ownership will be found guilty of a class D misdemeanor up until July 1, 2019. Anyone who moves into Connecticut in...
The Attorneys General from seven states filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] Tuesday challenging the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The seven states in the lawsuit include Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuit claims that DACA violates the Administrative Procedure Act's notice-and-comment requirements and the Take Care Clause of Article II of the Constitution. It also states...
Health care activists filed a complaint [complaint, PDF] Monday against Maine's Department of Health and Human Services for its failure to expand Medicaid after voters had approved its expansion in November. The citizens of Maine voted in November to enact the Medicaid Expansion Act. The Act was effective on January 3, 2018, and provides that "the department shall submit a state plan amendment ... ensuring MaineCare eligibility for people under 65 years of age" within 90 days of the effective...
The California Supreme Court issued a ruling[opinion, PDF] Monday making it more difficult for employers to classify their employees as independent contractors. In order for an employee to be classified as an independent contractor, the court ruled that the employer must show three things. First, the employer must show that the employee is not under the "control and direction" of the employer. Second, the employer must show that the employee performs "work that is outside the usual course of the...
A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, led by California, filed suit [petition, PDF] against the Trump administration Tuesday to defend an Obama-era rule on vehicle emissions standards. The existing regulations would have required vehicles to meet certain fuel-efficiency standards for model years 2022-2025. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] reached a determination [press release] last month that the rules should be reconsidered. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, "the Obama Administration's determination was wrong. ... Obama's...
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, on Monday expressed concern [press release] over violence against civilians in Myanmar's Kachin State. A reported 10 civilians were killed and several more severely injured and wounded in the northern part of the state. An estimated 5,000 have also forced out of their homes near the border in the last three weeks. The Kachin State military reportedly has "carried out aerial bombings, and used heavy weapons and...
UN human rights experts called [press release] for a retrial on Monday following flawed trial procedure and due process violations in the conviction of four men sentenced to death in the Bahraini High Military Court in December. The four men, Mohamed AbdulHasan AlMutaghawi, Fadhel Sayed Radhi, Sayed Alawi Husain and Mubarak Adel Mubarak Mahanna, are civilians convicted on charges related to "participating in a terrorist cell and attempting to assassinate Bahrain's Defence Forces Commander-in-Chief." All four men were sentenced to...
A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Friday dismissed [order, PDF] a civil suit brought by Paul Manafort [BBC profile] alleging that the Department of Justice exceeded its authority in appointed the Special Counsel headed by Robert Mueller and that the Special Counsel, even if permitted to exist, exceeded its authority. The court dismissed Manafort's suit because his case relies on the Administrative Procedure Act [text] as the law being violated and...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Friday reversed an injunction against the Texas voter ID law [SB 5], allowing it to be enforced for the upcoming midterm election. The Fifth Circuit had previously remanded SB 14, the first attempt by the Texas State Legislature at a voter's ID law in 2014. The Texas legislature then modified SB 14, resulting in SB 5. The Fifth Circuit determined that the district court had abused its discretion...
The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in three cases Monday, including a dispute over a settlement in a Google privacy case and a Missouri death penalty case. In Frank v. Gaos [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the question before the court is, "in what circumstances a cy pres award of class action proceeds that provides no direct relief to class members supports class certification and comports with the requirement that a settlement binding class members must...
UN human rights experts expressed concern [press release] Friday regarding the effects of structural racism in the UK. The UN experts pointed to reports indicating individuals of African and Caribbean descent are more likely to die while in law enforcement or government custody. The data on which the UN experts relied was released by the Metropolitan Police in August 2017. The report indicated that detainees of African and Caribbean descent were twice as likely to die following use of restraining...
Following a month of violent clashes between the Palestinian protesters and the Israeli military, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Friday urged [statement] the Israeli government to address its military's use of excessive deadly force against Palestinian civilians. Over the past month, 42 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 5,500 injured. More than 1,700 of the incidents involved use of live ammunition by Israeli soldiers. Palestinian children were also participating in the protests. Four...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: A new report [text, PDF] by IGARAPÉ Institute outlines the continuing rise in crime in Latin America and demands urgent solutions. According to the report released Thursday, crime rates will continue to rise until new innovative preventive programs are implemented. [more] An Istanbul court on Wednesday sentenced [Anadolu news] 14 journalists from opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet Daily [media website] to various prison terms over terrorism-related charges. According to Turkish state news agency...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The US House Intelligence Committee [official website] released its final report [report, PDF] absolving the Trump campaign from involvement in Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. In the almost 250-page report, Republicans concluded that the year-long investigation has produced no evidence that the Trump campaign aided in Moscow's efforts. [more] Louisiana senators voted 31-1 Tuesday to approve a bill [SB181 materials] that would ban abortions at 15 weeks. Mississippi approved...
The US House Intelligence Committee [official website] released its final report [report, PDF] absolving the Trump campaign from involvement in Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. In the almost 250-page report, Republicans concluded that the year-long investigation has produced no evidence that the Trump campaign aided in Moscow's efforts. While the committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign "colluded, coordinated, or conspired" with the Russian government, the report still points to questionable judgment by both sides of the...
A new report [text, PDF] by IGARAPÉ Institute outlines the continuing rise in crime in Latin America and demands urgent solutions. According to the report released Thursday, crime rates will continue to rise until new innovative preventive programs are implemented. Currently, Latin America is home to 8 percent of the world's population yet experiences 33 percent of the world's homicide. Highly concentrated in the region with Brazil, Columbia, Mexico and Venezuela, the area accounts for 1 in 4 homicides globally....

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