Legal news from Thursday, November 3, 2005
20:11 EDT

[JURIST] In a 376-38 vote late Thursday, the US House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [text, PDF] that would strip state and local governments of federal funding if they use eminent domain to transfer privately owned land to commercial interests. The Senate approved a similar measure [JURIST report] [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] Thursday posted online a report [text] submitted to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva [official website] last month in which the US argued for indefinitely detaining suspected combatants in the war on terror. The report relied in part upon the 2004 [read more]

18:11 EDT

[JURIST] US ambassador to the UN John Bolton [official profile] said Thursday that a second UN Security Council resolution would be required to ensure that Syria has fully withdrawn all intelligence personnel from Lebanon. His comments followed Wednesday's UN Security Council consultation where special UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen announced [UN [read more]

17:11 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that US Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has announced that confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] will start January 9, 2006. Earlier this week Democrats called for January hearings [JURIST report] on Alito, insisting that there was just [read more]

17:11 EDT

[JURIST] Texas Administrative Judge B.B. Schraub on Thursday recused himself from further proceedings in the trial of Rep. Tom DeLay [official website; JURIST news archive] after Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle [official website] filed a motion requesting a new judge to replace him [JURIST report]. Earle argued that Schraub [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's environmental law news, the US Senate [official website] defeated a budget amendment by a 51-48 vote that would have removed drilling authority for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge(ANWR) [official website]. The budget bill [text] itself is expected to be voted on later this evening. In related news, [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] In response to what has been described as the "slow pace" by which the Food and Drug Administration [official website] is acting to approve the so-called "morning after pill" for over-the-counter sale, a bipartisan group of US representatives on Thursday introduced a bill that would make the drug available [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] South African oil company Imvume on Thursday announced plans to file a lawsuit against UN's Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) [official website] in response to its allegations that the company provided illegal kick-backs to the Iraqi government in the now defunct UN oil-for-food program [JURIST news archive]. According to the [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] A former top US State Department official has charged that US Vice President Dick Cheney [official profile; JURIST news archive] and his staff were responsible for directives leading to abuse of detainees by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and for preventing President Bush from seeing a memo which [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Halliburton [corporate website; JURIST news archive] and its subsidiaries have failed to pay their workers in Iraq and Kuwait millions of dollars in overtime in violation of its contracts with the US Army, five workers alleged in a federal lawsuit Thursday. According to the lawsuit, Halliburton and its subsidiaries [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Indonesian Justice Minister Hamid Awaluddin said Thursday that Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir [BBC News profile] will not have his prison sentence reduced to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Bashir, imprisoned for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings [CNN backgrounder], allegedly lashed out [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] An all-male jury of four officers and four enlisted personnel has been selected in the trial of a US Army reservist accused of attacking a detainee at an Afghanistan detention center and then lying about his actions, Fort Bliss officials announced Thursday. Sgt. Duane M. Grubb of the Cincinnati-based [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Former media magnate Conrad Black [CBC profile] is suing the US government, alleging the Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] improperly seized nearly $9 million of his money. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Chicago, Black claimed the funds were seized without legal basis, and added that he needed [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] Five Kuwaiti citizens have been released from the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], Kuwait Foreign Ministry [official website] officials confirmed Thursday. The five men are among 11 Kuwaitis who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo for nearly the last four years without trial. Upon return to [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] A UK judge has directed court-martial panel members to issue a 'not guilty' verdict for all seven British soldiers charged with the murdering an Iraqi civilian in southern Iraq. The seven paratroopers were accused of killing [JURIST report] an Iraqi civilian and abusing others three weeks after hostilities had [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] The number of adults in prison is on the rise in the United States, according to a report [PDF text; press release] released by the US Justice Department [official website] Wednesday. Nearly 7 million adults were in US prisons, on probation or on parole at the end of 2004, [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Australian Senate [official website] on Thursday hurriedly passed an amendment [JURIST report] to the country's current counter-terrorism legislation the day after Prime Minister John Howard warned of a credible terror attack. Responding to the threat, Howard proposed an amendment to allow prosecution without identifying a specific terrorist act [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle [official website] has requested that Administrative Judge B.B. Schraub be replaced in the Tom DeLay [official website; JURIST news archive] case. Schraub had been tasked with naming a replacement [Houston Chronicle report] for Judge Bob Perkins after [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Nigerian Federal High Court has ruled that two Nigerians who were tortured and mutilated in Sierra Leone can challenge Nigeria's decision to grant asylum to former Liberian President Charles Taylor [PBS profile]. Taylor was granted asylum in Nigeria in 2003 following his indictment [text] by the Special Tribunal [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] Denver voters have approved a measure that makes it the first large American city to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure, which passed with 54 percent of the vote [official results], allows adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana without [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] voted Wednesday not to exempt online political expression - blogs, emails, and other forms of Internet communication - from campaign finance laws [FEC materials]. Lawmakers had warned that the Internet may have opened up a new loophole for election spending. The House [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [NYT profile] pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in federal court to charges of obstructing justice, perjury and making false statements. The former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney was indicted [JURIST report] last week in the ongoing CIA leak investigation [JURIST news archive]. [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] A New Jersey jury on Thursday found that pharmaceutical company Merck [corporate website] properly warned consumers about the risks associated with its painkiller Vioxx [Merck Vioxx Information Center website; JURIST news archive]. In the first case to go to trial, a Texas jury in August found Merck liable for [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] A federal appeals panel has indicated that it might require the government to allow libraries, major corporations and other groups to challenge FBI demands for records under the USA Patriot Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive]. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] on Wednesday [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Bush administration and an international human rights watchdog group have both challenged the Uzbekistan [JURIST news archives] government in the case of Sanjar Umarov [official profile], leader of the country's new opposition movement, the Sunshine Uzbekistan Coalition [party website]. Umarov, who has been critical of authoritarian President Islam [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling and dismissed a lawsuit [PDF opinion] brought by parents who were angered by a sex survey given to their students in a California school district. The three-judge panel rejected the parents' contention [read more]

09:11 EDT

[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] said Thursday that it plans to investigate allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] is using a Soviet-era compound in eastern Europe as part of a secret prison system [JURIST report] to hide and interrogate al Qaeda suspects. The allegations stem from [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] Azerbaijan officials have agreed to allow Soviet-era passports to be used as identification for upcoming elections in an attempt to avoid controversy over a headscarf ban for new ID photo cards. The government announced the change in policy after a group representing thousands of Muslim women said that many [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff [official profile] has outlined plans to increase security along US borders by hiring more federal agents, constructing additional fences and ending policies that allow illegal immigrants to be released in the US. Chertoff announced the plans during a speech [full transcript] at a [read more]

07:11 EDT

[JURIST] Saudi Arabia King Abdullah [Wikipedia profile] has urged President Bush to release Saddam Hussein's half-brother from detention because of failing health, Saudi Arabia [JURIST news archive] daily Al-Riyadh reported Wednesday. King Abdullah reportedly sent a letter to Bush asking him to release Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti [Global Security profile], one [read more]

07:11 EDT

[JURIST] The interim government in Haiti [JURIST news archive] has sued former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide [BBC profile] in US federal court for his alleged embezzlement of millions of dollars from the country's treasury and a state-owned telephone company. The suit, filed by several US law firms on behalf of Haiti's [read more]

07:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US has circulated a draft UN Security Council [official website] resolution that would extend the UN mandate of the 180,000-strong multinational force [official website] currently in Iraq [JURIST news archive] for another year. The US-led force was originally authorized [JURIST report] in May 2004 under UN Security Council [read more]

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