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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Oman's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs [official website, in Arabic], Yousuf Bin Alawi, on Monday signed Ministerial Decision No. 330/2017 [press release, in Arabic] into law, establishing the Omani Committee for International Humanitarian Law. The committee was established [Times of Oman report] to spearhead Oman's initiatives in humanitarian and international law. The committee, which has an initial term of three years, will be headed by the minister of foreign affairs. The committee is tasked with establishing "the definition of the...
UPDATE 2:32PM ET: Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty. Special Counsel [official website] Robert Mueller on Monday revealed charges [indictment] against two former Trump campaign officials, and a plea agreement with a third, marking the first criminal charges to come from a probe into possible Russian influence in US political affairs. The three individuals charged [CNN report] were Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner Rick Gates and former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty [text, PDF]...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: [JURIST] The US Department of Treasury [official website] Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions [text] on seven individuals and three organizations for human rights abuses in connection with the US State Department's [official website] "Report [text] on Human Rights Abuses and Censorship in North Korea." The State Department's report heavily focused on the activities of the North Korea military and characterized the human rights abuses by the country's regime as...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] on Thursday released a report [press release] detailing the lack of respect for the rights of intersex individuals in the United States. [more] The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Latino Justice PRLDEF [advocacy websites] on Wednesday announced [press release] a settlement [consent decree, PDF] with New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE)[official site] to end their voter suppression suit filed in the US...
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Latino Justice PRLDEF [advocacy websites] on Wednesday announced [press release] a settlement [consent decree, PDF] with New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE)[official site] to end their voter suppression suit filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official site]. The consent decree requires the NYCBOE to develop and implement uniform policies and procedures that ensures, among other things, that: 1) voters are not removed from...
[JURIST] The US Department of Treasury [official website] Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions [text] on seven individuals and three organizations for human rights abuses in connection with the US State Department's [official website] "Report [text] on Human Rights Abuses and Censorship in North Korea." The State Department's report heavily focused on the activities of the North Korea military and characterized the human rights abuses by the country's regime as some of the worst in the world [press release]...
TheConnecticut House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday passed [vote record] SB-1501 [text, pdf] that could allow the state's nuclear power plants to enter into a competitive procurement process with other zero carbon energy sources. Before the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority [official website] is able to start the competitive procurement process, however, his department must complete an appraisal to determine if the competitive procurement process for nuclear power plants is in the...
The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Wednesday granted injunctive relief [order, pdf] preventing the Department of Defense (DoD) [official website] from blocking fast-tracked citizenship applications for US Army Reserve soldiers under the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) [materials] program. The MAVNI program allowed the enlistment of foreign-born soldiers if they possessed language skills or medical knowledge deemed critical by the DoD. As part of the process for fast-tracked citizenship, the applicants need...
The legal world is a busy place. Here are a few stories we didn't get to this week that we thought you might be interested in. • The 9th Circuit held [opinion, PDF] Monday that Montana's statutory limits on campaign contributions were both justified by and appropriately tailored to goal of combatting corruption or its appearance, reversing the District Court's judgment in favor of the law's challengers. • A jury at the US District Court for the Eastern District of...
Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] on Thursday released a report [press release] detailing the lack of respect for the rights of intersex individuals in the United States. The report, entitled "A Changing Paradigm: US Medical Provider Discomfort with Intersex Care Practices" [text], found that despite progressive changes, many medical professionals still prescribe harmful medications and dangerous surgeries to assign a gender to intersex individuals. HRW claims that the practices are harmful, and often lead to long term physical and psychological...
Today, a three judge panel in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ordered [official website; order] the appointment of a special master to evaluate nine redrawn districts. The North Carolina General Assembly redrew the districts over the summer after a unanimous panel concluded that twenty-eight districts were racially gerrymandered in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [LII materials]; a ruling affirmed [SCOTUSBlog Materials] by the Supreme Court. The court summarized the...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] has published a report [text] on Wednesday condemning Australia and Papua New Guinea's (PNG) failure to protect the refugees in their borders from physical violence. According to HRW, approximately 770 refugees in PNG have suffered assaults and robberies and received inadequate health care. In Australia, refugees are being sent to Manus Island, a province of PNG, as part of the country's mandatory offshore detention policy [official backgrounder]. The Australian and PNG governments are now...
[JURIST] The Council of European's Committee of Ministers [official website] on Wednesday issued an interim resolution [text] formally notifying Azerbaijan that it must release opposition political leader Ilgar Mammadov [advocacy profile] or face legal action. Mammadov was arrested on February 4, 2013, and sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of resisting arrest and organizing mass disorder after criticizing the Azerbaijan government's handling of protests occurring around the country at that time. After his conviction, Mammadov appealed to the...
Turkey's 35th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul on Wednesday released [press release] eight of the eleven Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] human rights activists on bail pending trial for charges related to assisting the terrorist organization Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) [BBC backgrounder]. Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty stated of the release: "Today, finally, we celebrate that our friends and colleagues can go back with their loved ones and can sleep in their own beds for the first time in...
The US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Wednesday denied [order, PDF] a motion for preliminary injunction to require the Trump administration to continue to pay insurance subsidies necessary for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text, PDF]. The legal problem in this case, as summarized by judge Vince Chhabria is as follows: The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance companies to subsidize the cost of co-payments and deductibles for lower-income people. In turn, the Act...
The Supreme Court of Virginia [official website] agreed on Tuesday to hear an appeal [petition, PDF] filed by an advocacy group that challenges a decision [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] from earlier this year that upheld the constitutionality of 11 state legislative districts. The plaintiffs, joined by OneVirginia2021 [advocacy website], a non-profit organization aimed at "fair redistricting", sued the state on the grounds that the 11 districts were politically gerrymandered. Additionally, the plaintiffs argued that the districts were not compact as...
The Iowa Supreme Court [official website] on Monday temporarily blocked a law that enacted a 72-hour waiting period before a woman could get an abortion. The bill [text] was passed [JURIST report] in the Iowa house in April and signed into law by former governor Terry Branstad right before he left office in May to assume his new role as ambassador to China. The bill also prohibits all abortions after 20 weeks into the pregnancy, but this part of the...
A bipartisan group of US senators introduced the USA Rights Act [text] on Tuesday that would overhaul aspects of the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] warrantless internet surveillance program. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [text], which is set to expire at the end of the year, is used by US intelligence officials to combat national and cyber security threats, and it allows officials to tap into and store digital communications from foreign suspects. The program also...
The Supreme Court of Kenya [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Wednesday that it was unable to hear a case in which the petitioners are seeking to delay [BBC report] the upcoming presidential election. The court was unable to hear the case because it did not have the required quorum of justices present. There are a total of seven judges on the Kenyan Supreme Court. One of the justices was not able to attend due to their bodyguard being shot and...
The US Senate [official website] on Tuesday approved [bill materials] HJ Res 111 [text], which cancels a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website] rule related to arbitration agreements. The canceled CFPB rule, 82 FR 33210 [Summary], prevented providers of specified consumer financial products and services from requiring consumers to sign arbitration agreements that barred them from participating in class action lawsuits. The rule was enacted in July and became effective in September. HJ Res 111 will thus allow these...

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