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Legal news from Monday, May 13, 2013
by Benjamin Minegar

Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal ruled Monday that a law prohibiting a transgender woman from marrying her boyfriend was invalid under the Chinese constitution. The law had been interpreted to hold that only a person's gender at birth could be considered for the purposes of marriage, which is restricted to a man and woman. The 37-year-old woman, …

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by Benjamin Minegar

The Vermont State Legislature on Monday gave final approval to a bill that replaces criminal penalties with civil fines for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of hashish. As the law currently stands, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor that can lead …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari Monday in Burnside v. Walters [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine whether the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit erred in holding that the in forma pauperis (IFP) statute [28 USC § 1915(e)(2)] prohibits indigent plaintiffs from amending their complaints. Arkansas resident William David …

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by Addison Morris

UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk on Monday urged Israel to stop construction of a highway that would cut off the local roads of Palestinian community Beit Safafa. The residents of Beit Safafa were not consulted during during the planning of this six-lane highway, known as the "Begin Highway," and previous petitions to stop the construction …

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by Addison Morris

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday urged Tunisia to modify the country's draft constitution to address potential human rights violations. After analyzing the third draft constitution, HRW expressed concern that the language recognizes universal human rights regarding only "cultural specificities of the Tunisia people." HRW fears that affirmatively naming Islam as the religion of the …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Dan's City Used Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey that section 14501(c)(1) of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) does not preempt state-law claims stemming from the storage and disposal of a towed vehicle. Section 14501(c)(1) reads: "a State ... may not enact or …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court ruled Monday in Bullock v. BankChampaign, NA on the meaning of the term "defalcation" in the bankruptcy code. Under section 523(a)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code, an individual cannot obtain a bankruptcy discharge from a debt "for fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement, or …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday in Bowman v. Monsanto that a farmer who buys patented seeds may not reproduce them through planting and harvesting without the patent holder's permission. Monsanto holds a patent on genetically-modified seeds that utilize Roundup Ready technology. The seeds …

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