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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Crimes motivated by misogyny should be classified as hate crimes, according to a report [press release] released Tuesday by the Fawcett Society [advocacy website], an organization that campaigns for women's rights in the UK. The report is the result of the research their Sex Discrimination Law Review panel conducted on the effectiveness of sex equality legislation in the UK post-Brexit. The report discusses domestic violence, employment discrimination and a litany of other issues that women face in the UK. According...
Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a 134-page report [text] and a 15-minute video on Tuesday at the EU Parliament [official website] documenting widespread rights abuses and forced labor conditions in Thailand's fishing fleets. Titled "Hidden Chains: Forced Labor and Rights Abuses in Thailand's Fishing Industry," the report details the trafficking of migrant fishers from neighboring countries in Southeast Asia for fishing work in Thailand under conditions where the workers are prevented from changing employers, not paid on time or...
The Hanoi People's Court of Vietnam on Monday sentenced [press release, in Vietnamese] former politburo member Dinh La Thang to 13 years in prison for embezzlement and violation of state regulations. Thang had served as an executive for PetroVietnam (PVN), a state run oil corporation. Thang, along with another executive tried [VOA report, in Vietnamese], Trinh Xuan Thanh, were involved in embezzlement of funds from a thermal power project undertaken by PVN violating state regulations on economic management. The indiscretions...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday granted [order, PDF] the Department of Justice's (DOJ) [official website] motion to expedite consideration of a petition for direct review of a trial court injunction blocking the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [USCIS backgrounder] program. Earlier this month, the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] ordered [JURIST report] a temporary injunction blocking the Trump administration from ending the DACA program. Terming the government's...
Montana governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order [text] on Monday that will make companies provide nondiscriminatory internet services in order to obtain a contract within the state. The executive order takes effect starting July 1, 2018. Soon, Montana telecommunications providers are not to: block lawful content, speed-up or slow-down certain web pages, allow companies to pay for faster loading of their web content, or generally engage in any activity that hinders Montanans' access to equal and open internet. According...
Vermont became the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first to do so by legislation on Monday after Phil Scott signed the bill [text, PDF] passed earlier this month. The law legalized possession of marijuana equal to one ounce or less, two mature plants, or four immature plants for those 21 years and older. The law maintains several safeguards and limitations for users, and provides harsher punishment criminal marijuana related matters. Scott expressed these differences in the official...
The Supreme Court of Spain [official website, in Spanish] on Monday refused [judgment, PDF, in Spanish] to reissue the arrest warrant for Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont. Puigdemont fled [Guardian report] Spain in October after the Spanish government overtook Catalonia. He "faces possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds over his role in the push to split Catalonia from Spain." The prosecution requested the warrant be reissued international after he was reportedly in Denmark on Monday. The warrant...
[JURIST] Military judge James Pohl ruled [Miami Herald report] on Friday that no wrongdoing occurred when the prosecution destroyed a CIA secret prison, or "black site," on Pohl's orders. At the time Pohl gave the prosecution permission to destroy the site, the judge had a public protection order on any remains from the CIA black sites. According to Pohl, the defense attorneys failed to show that "the physical evidence is of such central importance to an issue that is essential...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania [official website] on Monday struck down [opinion, PDF] the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 [statute] as violating the state constitution. The plaintiffs in the League of Women Voters v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accused [JURIST report] the General Assembly of unfairly drawing voting districts to discriminate against Democratic voters. The court is giving the Pennsylvania General Assembly until February 9 to submit a new redistricting plan to the governor, and, if he approves it,...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Monday in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense [SCOTUSblog materials] that cases litigating the Clean Water Act [EPA materials] should be heard by federal district courts. At issue is the Obama-era Clean Water Rule, which expanded the definition of "waters of the United States" to include intermittent streams, wetlands and floodplains previously considered to be under the states' jurisdiction. In a number of disputes, parties filed lawsuits in...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-4 Monday in Artis v. District of Columbia [SCOTUSblog materials] that the "instruction to 'toll' a state limitations period means to hold it in abeyance, i.e., to stop the clock." The court was asked to determine how long the federal supplemental jurisdiction statute gives plaintiffs to refile in state court. Specifically, whether the statute provides plaintiffs with a 30-day window after the dismissal of their claims to refile, or if the...
The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] on Monday in an environmental case. Weyerhaeuser Co. v. US Fish & Wildlife Service [docket; cert. petition, PDF] concerns the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to preserve the the "dusky gopher frog." Currently the dusky gopher frog has a critical habitat in areas of Mississippi, where it is located. However, the frog also has habitats set up in Louisiana, even though the frog does not currently occupy those habitats in...
[JURIST] A former Department of Energy (DOE) [official website] has filed a whistleblower complaint claiming that he was fired after releasing controversial photographs [In These Times report] of Energy Secretary Rick Perry [official website] embracing coal executive Robert Murray during a private meeting last March. During the meeting, Simon Edelman [official profile] also took photographs of a memo that allegedly outlined the steps coal executives hoped the Trump administration would take to help the coal industry. That memo, Edelman alleges,...
The US Supreme Court [official site] held [opinion, PDF] Monday in District of Columbia v. Wesby [SCOTUSblog materials] that DC police officers acted reasonably when they arrested 21 people for unlawful entry during a house party in 2008, given that the owner was not present and it was unclear if the guests had been given permission to enter the house. The court further concluded that even if the arrests had been unlawful, the officers are still entitled to qualified immunity....
[JURIST] The Trump administration announced [letter, PDF] in a letter to state Medicaid directors on Friday that it will be rescinding the Obama administration's guidance [letter, PDF] that made it more difficult for state Medicaid programs to refuse to cover birth control and other reproductive health services. Obama's 2016 guidance said that "Providing the full range of women's health services neither disqualifies a provider from participating in the Medicaid program, nor is the provision of such services inconsistent with the...
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF] last week that the state's education funding formula does not violate the state constitution [text, PDF]. The decision, which reverses a lower court ruling [JURIST report], came this week after 14 months of deliberation. The case was brought by the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding against various state agencies and various school districts. The plaintiffs argued that the state's handling of fund distribution to its public schools violates the right to...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: The Ukraine parliament (Verkhovna Rada) passed a bill [materials, in Ukrainian] Thursday that recognizes regions currently under Russia-backed separatist control as "occupied" and supports retrieving those areas through political and diplomatic means while allowing for military action. The bill was approved by 280 members of the 450-member parliament and endorsed [Tweet, in Ukrainian] by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. [more] Iraq's Federal Supreme Court decided [press release, in Arabic] Wednesday to establish...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Trump v. [more] Members of Congress introduced legislation [materials] Thursday that would prohibit lawmakers from paying settlements in sexual harassment claims with taxpayers' money. [more] The office of the US Attorney for the District of Columbia [official website] announced [text, PDF] Thursday that it was dropping charges against 129 people arrested in the Inauguration Day protests, proceeding...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Trump v. Hawaii [docket], a challenge to the latest version of the so-called travel ban. The court agreed to consider the following questions presented [cert. petition, PDF] by the government:1. Whether respondents' challenge to the President's suspension of entry of aliens abroad is justiciable. 2. Whether the Proclamation is a lawful exercise of the President's authority to suspend entry of aliens abroad. 3. Whether the global...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Thursday vacated [text, PDF] the judgment of the district court that had canceled the Washington Redskins' [official website] trademark registrations. The judgment vacated the holding in Pro Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse [order], which stated that "Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act [text, PDF] does not implicate the First Amendment…[and] the federal trademark registration program is a government speech and is therefore exempt from First Amendment scrutiny." The Fourth Circuit's decision...

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