Legal news from Wednesday, January 4, 2006
16:01 EDT

[JURIST] US Vice President Dick Cheney offered a forceful defense of the NSA warrantless surveillance program [JURIST news archive] in use since the September 11 terrorist attacks in an address [recorded audio; White House transcript] to a Heritage Foundation audience in Washington Wednesday. Cheney said the wiretaps do not violate [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] With Senate confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] scheduled to begin Monday [JURIST report], more interest groups and other organizations are voicing their views on the nomination. The Alliance for Justice [advocacy website] released a 168 page report [PDF] Wednesday chronicling Alito's decision-making [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] A Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] official, testifying Wednesday before the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights [official website], said that a "very credible" source has informed HRW of a third alleged US detention facility located in a yet-unnamed European Union country. HRW will reveal the location of [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US Supreme Court has ordered that Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] be transferred from military to civilian custody. Padilla was detained over three years ago for allegedly planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the US, but was not charged until November 2005, [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] Wednesday accused [press release] Thai security forces of using "harsh or inadaquate counter-measures" in their response to Islamist/separatist terror attacks in the southern provinces of the predominantly-Buddist country. According to AI, the Thai government has allowed troops to arbitrarily detain terrorist suspects, often without [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] The government of Eritrea [BBC backgrounder] has accepted an international panel's conclusion that it violated international law [EECC findings, PDF] when it invaded Ethiopia in May 1998, precipitating a two-year war. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC) [backgrounder] concluded [BBC report] in December that Eritrea launched the attacks that sparked [read more]

14:01 EDT

[JURIST] Syrian diplomats announced Wednesday that Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara will speak with the UN commission investigating the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], as requested [JURIST report] by outgoing investigation head Detlev Mehlis on Monday. A Syrian official said [JURIST report] Tuesday that Syrian [read more]

14:01 EDT

[JURIST] A US-based Sikh group has announced Tuesday that it will use EU anti-discrimination law to challenge a current French law [JURIST report] banning religious dress [JURIST news archive], including Sikh turbans, in state schools. United Sikhs [advocacy website] claims that the law is racially discriminatory in regards to Sikh [read more]

14:01 EDT

[JURIST] The European Union [official website] Wednesday condemned a court decision in Belarus [JURIST archive] imposing harsh penalties on a leading human rights group. The Belarussian Helsinki Committee (BHC) [official website] had been fined for alleged unpaid taxes on money received from the EU TACIS Program [EU backgrounder] and its [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] As anticipated [JURIST report], former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Wednesday [JURIST news archive] pleaded guilty [DOJ press release] in federal court in Florida to two conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from the 2000 purchase of the SunCruz Casino [corporate website] by Abramoff and partners. Abramoff initially pleaded guilty [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] A statement [JURIST document] made by President Bush when he signed the 2006 defense spending bill [JURIST report] last week allows Bush to bypass the law's ban on torture under his commander in chief powers, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday. A senior administration official told the Globe that Bush's [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston [official website] priests have rejected an archdiocese settlement offer [JURIST report], lawyers said Tuesday. The proposal, which came late last month, offered average payments of $75,000 per person, and lawyers involved in the case called the payments "cruel" and [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] A group of Ethiopian opposition members charged with treason, inciting violence and genocide appeared in court Wednesday, challenging the court's authority to hear their case, but Federal Court Judge Adil Ahmed ordered the case to proceed after denying the defendants bail. 131 opposition politicians, reporters, and aid workers were [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] An Alabama state judge on Tuesday granted summary judgment in a shareholder's lawsuit against Richard Scrushy [defense website; JURIST news archive], former CEO of HealthSouth [corporate website], and ordered Scrushy to return to the company more than $47.8 million in bonuses he received from 1997 to 2002. The lawsuit, [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] French President Jacques Chirac [official profile] announced Wednesday that he will seek to overturn a controversial law regarding the teaching of France's colonial history. The law [text in French; Guardian report], approved in February 2005, requires French history teachers to stress "the positive role of the French colonialism, especially [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] The American Bar Association (ABA) [group website] on Wednesday announced [ABA materials] that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive] has received a "well-qualified" rating, the highest recommendation given by the ABA to judicial nominees. Alito previously received the "well-qualified" rating in 1990 as a candidate for the [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] Ugandan opposition leader and presidential challenger Dr. Kizza Besigye [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] appeared in court on Wednesday to face rape charges. His lawyers cross-examined Joanita Kyakuwa who claims that she was raped twice by Besigye, in 1997 and 1998. Besigye has denied the charges [JURIST report]. Besigye, [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted [RI press release] 59-13 on Tuesday in favor of overriding the veto of Gov. Don Carcieri [official website] of a bill [text] legalizing the prescription of marijuana to seriously ill patients. The law, effective immediately, allows critically ill people to grow as [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] Libyan human rights group Human Rights Solidarity (HRS) [advocacy website] said Tuesday that 131 political dissidents affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood opposition group [Wikipedia profile] have begun a hunger strike in a Tripoli prison to draw attention to a previous government promise to release them. The prisoners were assured [read more]

10:01 EDT

[JURIST] Cambodian police Wednesday arrested the vice-director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) [advocacy website] after arresting the president of the group [BBC report] and a CCHR lawyer last weekend. No charges have been filed in the latest arrest, though the police charged the president with defamation in [read more]

09:01 EDT

[JURIST] President Bush addressed [White House transcript] a group of federal prosecutors on Tuesday, outlining his argument in favor of passing a long-term reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive]. Bush reluctantly signed a one-month authorization [JURIST report] of the legislation last Friday and hopes to sign legislation [read more]

09:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Tuesday filed notice with federal judges overseeing the habeas corpus petitions of Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST news archive] informing them that a provision in Title X of the defense spending bill [text] signed into law last week [JURIST report] strips [read more]

09:01 EDT

[JURIST] In the weeks following the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency [official website] expanded its domestic surveillance [JURIST news archive] program without formal authorization from President Bush, documents released Tuesday revealed. According to an October 2001 letter [text] released by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi [official website], after [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] The newly elected Dover Area School District [official website] school board on Tuesday evening unanimously voted to rescind the district's policy of teaching intelligent design theory [Natural History backgrounder] as an alternative to evolution in high school science classes. The vote follows last month's federal court ruling [PDF text; [read more]

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