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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The Supreme Court of Liberia [official website] on Wednesday halted [press release] the run-off elections set for November 7, pending the court's decision Thursday in a case brought by the first-round losing candidate for allegations of election fraud [Reuters report]. The October 10 vote did not end with a majority for any candidate, but Liberian soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai each won 38.4 and 28.8 percent respectively, against Liberian Party candidate Charles Brumskine who only secured...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] published a report [text, PDF] Tuesday accusing Venezuelan officials of doing illegal nightly home invasions of individuals suspected of dissent in an effort of intimidation. AI received reports of 47 illegal home invasions between April and July 2017 in 11 different districts across the country. The raids are believed to have been completed by Venezuelan government security forces and occurred during a period of heightened protests and demonstrations. Shortly after the raids, there were several...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Wednesday in Artis v. District of Columbia [SCOTUSblog materials], involving the meaning of a provision of the federal supplemental jurisdiction statute [text], which allows plaintiffs to pursue state court claims after related federal claims are dismissed. Under the doctrine of supplemental jurisdiction, as long as the federal court has subject-matter jurisdiction [Cornell LII backgrounder] over the federal claim(s), the court may also hear the state claims, even if those...
The US Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) [official websites] reached a settlement agreement [text, PDF] with ExxonMobil [corporate website] Tuesday over violations of the Clean Air Act from their chemical, olefins, polymer and plastics manufacturing facilities located in or near Baytown, Texas, Beaumont, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Mont Belvieu, Texas. ExxonMobil will be required to pay a civil penalty of $2.5 million, $470,00 of which will go to the LDEQ...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral argument [transcript, PDF] on Tuesday in US Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge [SCOTUSblog materials], in which the justices were tasked with determining the appropriate standard of review for determining whether a particular individual is or is not an "insider" for purposes of a bankruptcy proceeding. The case involves a purchase of a claim against a debtor, Robert Rabkin, who had a romantic relationship with the principal individual of the bankrupt,...
The Netherlands Electoral Council [official website, in Dutch] announced [press release, in Dutch] Wednesday that a referendum will be held next year on a controversial surveillance law [materials, in Dutch]. The surveillance bill was passed [press release, in Dutch] in July after years of debate and criticism. Proponents of the legislation claim the increased powers are necessary to counter threats to national security in the modern era. Opponents of the bill warn that it gives the government intrusive access into...
Attorneys General of 45 states and the District of Columbia amended a lawsuit [text, PDF] on Tuesday to accuse more generic drug companies of acting in a price-fixing conspiracy. The lawsuit now accuses 18 companies and subsidiaries and two executives of engaging in price-fixing tactics for drugs such as generic antibiotics and drugs used to treat epilepsy, high blood pressure and asthma. The lawsuit alleges [press release] that the companies and executives divided customers among themselves, percentage-wise, and occasionally agreed...
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Monday signed House Bill 271 [text, PDF] expanding the gaming and gambling industry. The bill amends Title 3 (Agriculture) and Title 4 (Amusements) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and allows for electronic wagering for horse races, creation of Fantasy Sports Contests, and iLottery/internet instant games through your personal electronic device. The legislation additionally creates the Lottery Sales Advisory Council in an effort to encourage further cooperation between the State Lottery and licensed lottery sales agents...
The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked [text] a new driving under the influence (DUI) law from taking effect as scheduled on Wednesday while the court rules on questions of its constitutionality. The Impaired Driving Elimination Act 2 (IDEA2) [text, PDF] would change the police officer's behavior during initial arrest as well as impose new penalty standards. Controversial parts of this law include plans to criminalize an individual's refusal to take a breath or blood test and the incorporation...
[JURIST] The American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary [official website] gave Leonard Steven Grasz, a nominee to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] a "not qualified" rating [statement, PDF] on Tuesday. In a statement sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pamela Bresnahan [official websites], the chair of the Standing Committee, explained why Grasz [professional profile], an Omaha attorney, received the rating. Bresnahan said Grasz was scrutinized under the ABA's two-part review...
[JURIST] The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) [official website] released a preliminary statement [text, PDF] Tuesday on Kenya's presidential elections claiming that the current state of the elections had damaged the electoral process, political institutions and the population.The EU EOM assessment at this stage is that actions by both sides of the political divide have been damaging to the electoral process and have put the people and institutions of Kenya in an extremely difficult position. These actions include intimidation...
North Carolina state legislators on Monday objected [text, PDF] to the appointment of a special master by a three judge panel in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website]. Last week, the panel had ordered [JURIST report] the appointment of a special master to evaluate nine redrawn legislative districts of the 28 that were struck down [JURIST report] as unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in June....
Spain's Constitutional Court [official website] on Tuesday formally nullified [order, PDF, in Spanish] Catalonia's October 27th declaration of independence. Citing earlier decisions related to the Catalan referendum on independence, the Constitutional Court reiterated [press release, in Spanish] their right to trump last week's declaration of independence under Article 161 of the Spanish Constitution [text, PDF], which provides that The Government may appeal to the Constitutional Court against provisions and resolutions adopted by the bodies of the Self-governing Communities, which shall...
The war crimes trial of Eshetu Alemu, an aide to Ethiopia's former communist ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam [JURIST archive], began on Monday at a Dutch national court in the Hague. Alemu is alleged to have ordered the execution of 75 individuals during the Red Terror [USLOC backgrounder] campaigns in the 1970s, following the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie [NYT obit] in 1974. Alemu is also accused of "arbitrary detention and cruel and inhuman treatment of civilians and fighters who had...
The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Monday granted [order, PDF] a preliminary injunction against portions of President Donald Trump's [official profile] transgender military ban. The Court also granted portions of the government's motion to dismiss, effectively leaving in place the retention and accession policies as they were before the issuance of Trump's presidential memorandum [text] in August, and allowing the portion of the directive halting expenditures for sex reassignment surgery to remain in effect....
Spanish Attorney General José Manuel Maza [official profile] on Monday charged the former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont [official profile, in Catalan], and other top Catalan officials with rebellion, sedition, embezzlement and malfeasance related to the region's declaration of independence last week. Maza filed two separate complaints against the main Catalan political leaders, who declared independence [NYT report] on October 27. The first complaint [text, PDF] was filed against the members of the Catalan government, including Puigdemont, in the Audiencia...
The US Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two criminal procedure cases. In Ayestas v. Davis [transcript, PDF] the petitioner, Carlos Manuel Ayestas, a Texas death-row inmate, filed a habeas petition for ineffective assistance of counsel. The case challenges 18 USC § 3599(f), which provides that "federal courts in capital cases involving indigent defendants (including suits for post-conviction relief) should fund 'investigative, expert, or other services [that] are reasonably necessary for the representation of the...
Argentina's top prosecutor Alejandra Gils Carbo resigned [letter, in Spanish] on Monday amid accusations that she hindered investigations into the corruption scandal [JURIST report] surrounding officials from former-president Cristina Fernandez's administration. Current President Mauricio Macri accused Carbo of misusing her power by failing to bring corruption charges against officials from Fernandez's administration. Macri began campaigning for reforms that would permit Carbo to be fired, which prompted her resignation. Carbo is currently being investigating for corruption as well. Her resignation will...
French President Emmanuel Macron [official website, in French] formally signed a law [materials, in French] Monday to replace a two-year-old state of emergency established in the wake of violent Paris attacks that killed 130 people in November 2015. The new law gives police and other law enforcement officials authority to conduct searches, and more. It will take effect Tuesday, just as the state of emergency is set to expire November 1. The lower house of parliament approved [JURIST report] the...
Saudi Princess Reema Bandar bint Al-Saud, vice president for women's affairs of the General Sports Authority [official website, in Arabic], tweeted [twitter feed] Sunday that the country will begin to allow women to attend sporting events in 2018. Sport stadiums in Saudi Arabia to open their doors to welcome women in 2018 #history @gsaksa https://t.co/zGtHnf8ztW— Reema Bandar Al-Saud (@rbalsaud) October 29, 2017 The kingdom's sports authority announced [press release, in Arabic] that stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam will be...

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