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Legal news from Tuesday, March 24, 2009
by Andrew Morgan

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court will consider whether federal election law prohibits a corporation from funding a documentary on a candidate in advance of a federal election. Petitioner Citizens United …

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by Devin Montgomery

UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw Monday outlined draft legislation that would officially recognize certain "rights and responsibilities" for British citizens. The legislation described in a government green paper prior to public consultations would formally declare a number of rights which already exist in the country including access to medical care, education, and housing, as …

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by Bhargav Katikaneni

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that the detention of Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi violates Myanmar's 1975 State Protection Law and pressed for her immediate release in an opinion made public Monday. A panel, composed of Judges from Chile, Pakistan, Russia, …

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by Brian Jackson

Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry returned to work Tuesday after being reinstated earlier this week and immediately called for members of the Pakistani judicial system to put an end to corruption. Chaudhry resumed his position amid great celebration by Pakistani lawyers, 16 months after being removed from …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday in Knowles v. Mirzayance that a lawyer’s recommendation that a criminal defendant withdraw an insanity plea does not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel for purposes of a federal habeas claim. Writing for the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned:The law does …

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by Safiya Boucaud

US President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh to be legal adviser to the Department of State (DOS). Koh was touted by Obama as an authority on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He …

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by Amelia Mathias

Suspected al Qaeda operative Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of providing material support to al Qaeda, and his trial date was set for May 26. At an arraignment hearing before the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Judge Michael Mihm also made several evidentiary …

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by Eszter Bardi

The Vermont State Senate voted 26-4 Monday to approve same-sex marriage in the state. This was the second of three readings of the proposed bill [S.0115 text, PDF], entitled “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Promote Equality in Civil Marriage." Senator Kevin Mullin (R) brought an alternative motion for an …

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by Adrienne Lester

At least 2,390 people were executed throughout 25 countries in 2008, according to a report released Tuesday by Amnesty International (AI), up from the reported 1,252 executions in 2007. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the US account for 93 percent of all executions performed in 2008. China alone …

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by Andrew Gilmore

A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York overturned Monday a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision to limit the over-the-counter (OTC) availability of the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill to women over the age of 18. In 2006, the FDA approved …

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by Andrew Gilmore

A Dutch court Monday convicted a former Rwandan Hutu for the 1994 killing of two Tutsi mothers and at least four of their children. Joseph Mpambara, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the killings, was allegedly a member of the Interahamwe, an extremist Hutu militia that was responsible for the deaths of …

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