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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Senators Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt [official websites] released a bipartisan bill [text, PDF] Wednesday overhauling sexual harassment policy for members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff, including requiring lawmakers to pay for financial settlements out of their own pockets. The Senate bill requires members of the House and Senate to reimburse the US Treasury for payment of any settlements, and an annual reporting of these payments will be released. It also gives those filing claims 90 days to require...
The Ontario Court of Appeal [judicial website], the highest court in the province of Ontario, ruled Wednesday that US-based oil corporation Chevron Corp.'s Canadian subsidiary cannot be held liable [judgment, PDF] for a USD $9.5-billion award granted by an Ecuadorian court against the parent company. This lawsuit arose out of the original actions against Texaco (which later became part of Chevron) by the Ecuadorian government related to the oil pollution from 1964-1990. In 2001 an Ecuadorian court held Texaco liable...
Scotland's government introduced [legislative history] a climate change bill [text, PDF] in the Scottish Parliament [official website] on Wednesday that sets greenhouse gas emissions targets at a 90 percent reduction by 2050. This is currently the "limit of feasibility" [press release] set forth by the UK Committee on Climate Change [official website]. The eventual goal is a 100 percent reduction, also known as "net-zero emissions." As currently drafted, the bill will allow the Scottish Parliament members to set a year...
In a hearing [video] before the European Court of Human Rights [official website] Wednesday, the Georgia government accused [press release] Russia of committing war crimes and human rights violations during the 2008 conflict [BBC backgrounder]. Georgia's government accused Russia of more than 100 air assaults in Georgian territory. It cited evidence to show that Russia "carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks," killing and injuring numerous civilians. It also accused Russia of carrying out summary executions and destroying property. During the...
A judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that President Donald Trump cannot block people from viewing his Twitter feed over their political views. The court held that the @realDonaldTrump twitter handle possesses components that are "interactive space" where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the president's tweets. The court further found that these "interactive spaces" should be analyzed as "public forums." Public forums have a special...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday challenging Ohio's US congressional map as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. The ACLU is challenging the Ohio federal congressional map on the basis of violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and Article I of the US Constitution. In the complaint, the ACLU points out that Ohio is consistently a swing state—it went for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 while going for Barack Obama in...
In a 258-159 vote, the US House on Tuesday approved a bill [text, PDF] to decrease some regulations that Dodd-Frank imposed on banks during the Obama administration. This vote follows an executive order President Donald Trump issued [JURIST report] last year, ordering the dismantling of the 2010 law, which was designed to prevent banks from taking risks that would lead the country into another financial crises. The bill is set to free [NYT report] many of the regional banks from...
The state of Alabama and US Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint] against the US Department of Commerce and the US Census Bureau on Monday over its inclusion of undocumented immigrants in the 2020 census. Alabama's complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama [official website], surrounds the 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations [text], which is a rule promulgated by the US Census Bureau. Alabama's general reasons for objecting...
Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled [order, PDF] in favor of transgender teen Gavin Grimm Monday, denying the Gloucester County School Board's motion to dismiss a challenge to the school board's bathroom policy. The school board had prohibited Grimm from using the boys' restrooms on the justification that his biological gender was female. Grimm brought a Title IX [text] claim, and the school board argued Title IX applied only to claims on the basis of sex and not gender identity. The...
A jury in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Tuesday found Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.'s former executive officer Gary Tanner and former CEO of Philidor Rx Services, LLC (Philidor) Andrew Davenport guilty [press release] for their roles in the multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. The convictions include counts related to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Valeant is a pharmaceutical manufacturer and Philidor is a specialty mail-order pharmaceutical company. Tanner was the...
The First Criminal Senate of Germany's Schleswig-Holstein Higher Regional Court on Tuesday rejected [press release] the Attorney General's request to rearrest former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, saying the risk of Puigdemont absconding are slight. The Neumünster District Court [official website, in German] rejected an extradition request for Puigdemont on a rebellion charge for his role during Catalonia's independence movement. Though the Attorney General presented new evidence concerning increased flight risk, the court found extradition was still impermissible. Puigdemont had declared...
Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported [report] on Tuesday that a Rohingya militant group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is behind at least one massacre against Hindus in the Rakhine State that took place last August, as well as other incidences of murders and abductions. Amnesty wrote that on August 25, 2017, ARSA murdered 53 Hindu villagers, including children, and abducted 16 others. The same day, 46 Hindus from a nearby village disappeared. Amnesty has also documented other...
UN Special Rapporteur Maud de Boer-Buquicchio [official website] on Monday urged [press release] Ireland to include a national strategy to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children. "I recognise the considerable progress made by Ireland in passing laws which strengthen protection against child marriage, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, including through the use of Information and Communications Technology. However, more remains to be done," de Boer-Buquicchio said, highlighting for example, only one sexual assault treatment center for...
Britain's Southwark Crown Court [official website] dismissed charges against Barclays regarding agreements between the bank and Qatari investors during the 2008 financial crisis. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) [official website], a British anticorruption government organization, charged [press release] Barclays [corporate website] and four of its former executives in June 2017 [JURIST report] with conspiracy to commit fraud and violation of the Companies Act of 1985 by providing unlawful financial assistance. The Crown Court Dismissed charges against Barclays for two offenses...
The government of Palestine submitted a referral [text, PDF] to the International Criminal Court [official website], which was received by the ICC on Tuesday. Palestine urges the ICC to investigate what it deems "war crimes and crimes against humanity" carried out by Israel's government in Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Palestine alleges in its referral that Israel's government has destroyed property, unlawfully occupied Palestinian territory, killed and tortured civilians, created "a system of apartheid," and denied Palestinians their basic human...
US President Donald Trump signed a resolution [press release] Monday that overturns a 2013 lending rule intended to prevent racial bias in auto loan interest rates. The original rule was issued [bulletin, PDF] by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website] and was titled the "Indirect Auto Lending and Compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act." Under this rule, automobile lenders were not allowed to discriminate against minorities by increasing their interest rates or otherwise charging them higher fees....
In his speech [press release] marking the 25th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, "human rights all around the world are no longer a priority to countries." His speech was given to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action [text], adopted on June 25, 1993. Its purpose was to emphasize the responsibilities of all countries to "develop and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental...
Ongoing violence in Libya is having a devastating impact on health care, according to a Tuesday report [text] from the UN Human Rights Office and UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] studying the effects from May 1, 2017, to May 1, 2018. The report highlights the effects of crossfire between armed groups on hospitals and other medical facilities. Many times the crossfire has led to deaths, the destruction of key infrastructure and closures. According to the report:Medical facilities...
Eight senior members of Thailand's former ruling political party (Pheu Thai) were charged Monday with sedition. The charges [Al Jazeera report] stem out of three members describing the "failings" of the military government. In addition, five other individuals were charged with participating in banned political activities. Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of the coup that led to the military junta taking control of Thailand in 2014. In 2017 Thailand's parliament passed a law [JURIST report] allowing for the military to...
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam [governor website] neither signed nor vetoed Tennessee House Bill 2315 [materials] on Monday, allowing the measure banning so-called "sanctuary cities" to become law. In an interview [video], the governor discussed the need of the state to move on from this decision and that "at this point in time, this is the best thing for the state." The bill requires state and local entities to comply with federal immigration policy banning sanctuary cities. Under the bill, adopting...

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