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 Burundi government has "killed, beaten, and intimidated perceived opponents of a constitutional referendum ... that would enable the president to extend his term in office," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said [press release] Tuesday. This referendum could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to serve until 2034. According to HRW, there have been 19 confirmed cases of abuse since December 12, which were all committed with the intent to influence Burundians to vote yes on this referendum. In addition to these abuses,...
The UN Human Rights Committee [official website] issued two decisions [press release] Wednesday finding, in the cases of former MPs Rebeca Delgado Burgoa and Eduardo Maldonado Iporre [decisions, DOC, in Spanish], that Bolivia violated their human rights by denying access to mayoral elections. The Delgado and Maldonado contended that Circular 71/2014, issued by the Supreme Electoral Court of Bolivia [official website, in Spanish], which barred officials elected to parliament for the 2010-2015 term, violated the Bolivian constitution by arbitrarily denying...
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] ruled [press release, PDF; judgment, in Polish] Tuesday that Poland broke EU law by logging in the Białowieża Forest [background], one of Europe's last ancient forest, according to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Convention (UNESCO) [advocacy website]. Poland began logging in the Białowieża Forest in 2016. Since then, Polish authorities have drastically increased logging and woodland management activities in Bialowieska Forest, home to some of Europe's oldest trees...
A class action lawsuit filed in a Georgia federal district court on Tuesday accuses [complaint, PDF] CoreCivil [corporate website], one of the country's largest private prison contractors, of "maintain[ing] a deprivation scheme intended to force detained immigrants to work for nearly free" in order to maximize its profits, in violation of federal labor law and common law equity principles. The action was brought in the US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia [official website] by the Southern Poverty...
US Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) proposed a new bill [text, PDF] Monday that would replace the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force (AUMF). The proposed legislation includes several new provisions including: the use of all necessary and appropriate forces against al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State, along with any designated associated forces; a congressional review process every four years over the military force being used with the president submitting a proposal to...
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] decided [text, PDF] Tuesday that because the Justice Department will not defend former Maricopa County Sheriff's criminal contempt conviction, it would appoint a special prosecutor to defend the question. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in July. The court found Arpaio did not comply with a court order to stop detaining Latinos based solely on their immigration status. Less than a month later, President Donald Trump granted him his...
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Monday voted 139-56 [text] to approve HB 2050 [text, PDF], which prohibits abortions if the fetus is diagnosed with or believed to have Down syndrome. In April the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU) [advocacy website] referred [ACLU report] to the bill as an unconstitutional restriction on reproductive rights, thereby making it unenforceable. Executive Director Reggie Shuford said, "The representatives who voted for this bill failed to give any serious consideration to its...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments in two cases Tuesday: South Dakota v. Wayfair and Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling [transcripts, PDF]. In Wayfair, the justices considered whether to overrule Quill Corp. v. North Dakota [opinion], a previous Supreme Court decision in which the court held that the commerce clause prohibits states from collecting taxes from an out-of-state retailer that has no physical presence within the state. This ruling has thus far protected online...
In a 6-3 decision on Tuesday, the US Supreme Court [official website] held [opinion, PDF] that a federal court in a habeas corpus matter reviewing an unexplained state court decision on the merits should "look through" that decision to the last related state court decision that provides a relevant rationale and "presume that the unexplained decision adopted the same reasoning" but that the state may rebut the presumption by showing that the unexplained decision most likely relied on different grounds....
Iraqi women and children are being denied access to humanitarian aid and are not allowed to return to their homes because of their alleged association with the Islamic State (IS), according to a report [text, PDF] published Tuesday by Amnesty International. The displaced Iraqi women live in eight camps in two provinces north of Baghdad. Amnesty researchers based their findings in "The Condemned: Women and Children Isolated, Trapped, and Exploited in Iraq," on 92 interviews that were conducted [press release]...
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday held [opinion, PDF] that Microsoft is required to disclose a customer's electronic information stored overseas when it was suspected in furthering illegal drug trafficking. The per curium opinion vacated and remanded the judgment [opinion, PDF] of the US court of appeals, which held the disclosure to be unauthorized due to the information's storage in Ireland. The court justified its opinion by citing the newly passed CLOUD Act [text] signed by President Donald Trump in...
A Stuttgart Public Prosecutor brought charges[press release, in German] Monday in a district court in Mannheim against a 94-year-old former Schutzstaffel (SS) guard of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp for aiding and abetting the murders committed in the camp. The man, whose identity has not been released, was an SS Schütze, or Private, in the camp that was both a concentration labor camp and an extermination camp. The man was 19 years old when he served at the camp beginning at...
The US Supreme Court [official website] held 5-4 [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that the term "aggravated felony" in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [text], as it relates to §16(b) of the federal criminal code [text], is "unconstitutionally void for vagueness" under the Fifth Amendment's [GPO backgrounder] Due Process Clause. Section 1227(a)(2)(A)(3) of the INA provides: "Any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the...
The Albuquerque City Council [official website] in New Mexico passed an immigrant-friendly proposal [text] Monday, upholding and reinforcing the city's commitment to "treat all persons with respect and dignity, regardless of their immigration status." The resolution prohibits city officials from inquiring about individuals' "citizenship, immigration status, place of birth, religion, or national origin." It also sets forth limited circumstances in which the city may inquire about an individuals' social security number, including eligibility for state benefit programs and city employment....
A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Monday that Facebook must face a class action lawsuit challenging the company's facial recognition and "tagging" technology. Judge James Donato ruled that "Facebook users living in Illinois whose face appeared in a photo uploaded to Facebook from Illinois between June 7, 2011," may proceed with the class action lawsuit. In support of his order, Donato found the plaintiffs met all four requirements...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] began its last oral argument session on Monday with two cases. At issue [SCOTUSblog materials] in the first case, Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States [transcript, PDF] is whether stocks given to employees by a railroad is taxable as money under the federal Railroad Retirement Tax Act. The attorney for the petitioner, Wisconsin Central Ltd., argued that stock is not money under a generally accepted definition of money as a "generally accepted medium...
In a referendum Sunday, Guatemalans voted [results, in Spanish] overwhelmingly to request that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] resolve the country's centuries-old territorial dispute with Belize. On Monday the government of Belize [official website] issued a press release [press release, Facebook profile] congratulating the people of Guatemala for taking this necessary step toward settling the ongoing dispute. This referendum was conducted in accordance with the Special Agreement of 2008 [agreement, PDF] between the two countries. While 95...
Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye [BBC profile], who was sentenced [JURIST report] to 24 years in prison earlier this month, has decided not to appeal, according to a filing Monday. Park has submitted her intention not to proceed with an appeal of her conviction for bribery, abuse of power and coercion to the Seoul Central District Court [official website]. Despite the waiver, the case is expected to proceed with an appeal by the prosecution which was filed last week...
The government of Pakistan has failed to resolve several human rights issues within the past year, according to a report [text, PDF] released Monday by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) [advocacy website]. According to the HRCP, issues such as elimination of women's rights, restriction on speech caused by disappearances of critics to the military or advocates for better relations with India, and lack protection for religious minorities are prevalent. Additionally, the report asserts that the blasphemy law is...
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined [order list, PDF] to hear the appeal of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and left in place the 14-year sentence [JURIST report] imposed by Judge James Zagel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 on corruption charges [JURIST report], including one count of attempting to sell the US Senate seat vacated by then-president Barack Obama. This is the second time Blagojevich has petitioned the...

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