On Monday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of the Brownsville Division of the Southern District of Texas, issued a temporary injunction to block implementation of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. The injunction was a response to a challenge to the orders filed by 26 states, a suit that the administration contends is without merit.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review overturned the terrorism convictions of David Hicks, a former detainee at Guantanamo.
Two U.S. law schools, the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law, have announced that they will admit some students without requiring that they take the LSAT.
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the nation’s ban on physician-assisted suicide. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Colorado legislators have rejected a bill that would have made assisted suicide available to terminally-ill patients. Five states currently permit physician-assisted suicide: Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New Mexico and Montana.
On Monday, Alabama became the latest state to recognize marriage equality, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from the state Attorney General for the extension of a stay of a federal injunction prohibiting him from enforcing Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages. Probate courts in a majority of Alabama’s 67 counties, however, are refusing to issue marriage licenses, either rejecting same-sex couples outright or closing their offices, after a call to such action by Chief Justice Roy Moore. On Thursday, a federal judge ordered Mobile County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Marriage equality supporters hope that this order will clarify the issue in other counties.
On Wednesday, the captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia was found guilty and sentenced to 16 years on various charges related to the 2012 shipwreck.
On Thursday, Facebook announced that it will permit users to name a “legacy contact” who will be able to administer a page following a user’s demise. This is a departure from Facebook’s previous policy of freezing an account upon verification of an account-holder’s death.
On Wednesday, two U.S. Senators introduced a proposal that would allow for Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominees with a simple majority.
Citing statutory exemptions, the First Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the denial of a FOIA demand by an antiabortion group for documents relating to a federal grant to an agency of Planned Parenthood.
Juror selection began on Thursday in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, accused of shooting “American Sniper” Chris Kyle.
In Germany, a former SS guard will stand trial as an accessory to the atrocities committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The trial is scheduled to begin in April.
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has affirmed genocide convictions arising from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. This is the first final judgment for genocide handed down by the ICTY.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded a collective bargaining decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Wednesday, fourteen civil rights activists who staged sit-in protests at a whites-only lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina, had their 1961 convictions for trespassing vacated. The motion to vacate the convictions was filed by retired South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Ernest A. Finney, Jr., who served as the attorney for nine of the protesters when they were arrested in 1961.
Also on Wednesday, France’s highest court, the Cour De Cassation, ruled that a French/Moroccan same-sex couple can marry legally. France has recognized same-sex marriage since 2013, although Morocco does not.
Senate confirmation hearings began this week for Lorretta Lynch, nominee for the position of U.S. Attorney General.
In copyright news, singer Sam Smith will be sharing writing credits (and royalties) for the song Stay With Me with Tom Petty and ELO’s Jeff Lynne, who co-wrote Petty’s 1989 hit I Won’t Back Down. For summaries of other famous copyright-in-music cases, check here.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in Rodriguez v. United States, a case that asks whether a police officer can extend a completed traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff, absent reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification.
On Thursday, a federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona blocked a ban by that state on drivers’ licenses for immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the protocol for lethal injection drugs used in executions.
- On Monday, the US Supreme Court heard a new religious rights case involving an Arizona town requiring a church to remove signs about its worship services.
- The US Court of Appeal for the 10th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against the University of Kansas School of Law by a student who was expelled for failing to disclose criminal convictions on his application.
- On Thursday, Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring high school students to pass a US citizenship test on civics as a condition of graduation.
- A federal district court judge ordered the state of Michigan to recognize 323 same-sex marriages.
- The US Supreme Court agreed on Friday to take up the issue of same-sex marriage.
On October 24, 1945, the founding document of the United Nations, the UN Charter, was ratified. October 24 has been recognized since 1948 as United Nations Day. Celebrate by bookmarking the UN’s website, and taking advantage of its amazing archive of free resources.
Calling all foreign law fans! The Oliver R. Tambo Law Library at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, has partnered with the South African Legal Information Institute and the Constitutional Court Trust to provide free access to the laws of South Africa. The site launched on 19 September 2013, and is currently a work in progress with information still being added. Check out these resources here. (Hat tip to Ms. Shirley Gilmore, Head of the Oliver R. Tambo Law Library, for getting the word out.)
Calling all foreign law fans! Melbourne Law School has launched the first legal academic blog covering the High Court of Australia. The blog, “Opinions on High,” went live today and offers posts on most important cases from 2013 forward, as well as Features on the Court. You can also find links to opinions, acts, and other resources. You can access the blog here.
Hat tip to Carole Hinchcliff at Melbourne Law School for getting the word out!