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Obama signs law banning entry for UN ambassadors with terrorist affiliations
12:00 PM ET, April 19
[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] on Friday signed into law [legislative materials] a bill [text] that bars entry for any UN ambassadors who have engaged in "terrorist activity." The law has been seen as a response to Iran's choice of US envoy, Hamid Aboutalebi, who has been linked to the student militants that seized the US embassy [BBC backgrounder] in Tehran in 1979. Aboutalebi claims that he only translated for the militants and was not directly involved in...... [full story]

Iowa Supreme Court: Mother needed court approval of vasectomy for mentally disabled son
11:00 AM ET, April 19
[JURIST] The Iowa Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion; pdf] on Friday that an Iowa mother should have sought court approval before arranging a vasectomy for her mentally disabled son. The court held unanimously that a vasectomy is a "major elective surgery," as well as a "nonemergency major medical procedure" that required court approval despite the mother's legal guardianship of her son. The mother, Maria Kennedy, arranged for the procedure [Des Moines Register report] in February 2013 after her son,...... [full story]

Virginia high court holds emails exempt from state Freedom of Information Act
12:48 PM ET, April 18
[JURIST] The Virginia Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Thursday that the emails of Michael Mann, a former University of Virginia climatologist and professor, are exempt from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act [text]. Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli [official profile] subpoenaed university records related to Mann's research in attempting to find misuse of public funds. The justices held [Roanoke Times report] that the exemption for proprietary information in the act is to be read...... [full story]

Florida supreme court rules discrimination against pregnant women violates state law
9:32 AM ET, April 18
[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women under Florida state law. The court held that the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) [text], which makes it "an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate based on an individual," includes discrimination based on pregnancy, which is a natural condition and primary characteristic unique to the female sex. In making its decision, the court focused on previous case law...... [full story]

Diplomats promise amnesty for Ukraine protesters
8:18 AM ET, April 18
[JURIST] Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU on Thursday issued a joint statement [text] on the situation in Ukraine after a Ukrainian military base was attacked in an act of increasing violence between government troops and pro-Russia militias. The statement promises amnesty "to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes." The Organization of Security and Cooperation Special Monitoring Mission [official website]...... [full story]

Rights groups challenge Arkansas voter ID law
7:10 AM ET, April 18
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center [advocacy websites] filed a complaint [text, PDF] Wednesday in Arkansas state court challenging the constitutionality of the state's voter ID law. Act 595 [text, PDF], passed in 2013 by the Republican-led Arkansas legislature [official website], requires that Arkansas residents present government-approved ID in order to vote. The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County [official website], asserts that Act 595 "places additional qualifications, restrictions,...... [full story]

Judge upholds New York state gun law
11:34 AM ET, April 17
[JURIST] A trial judge for the Supreme Court of New York [official profile] dismissed [text] a lawsuit on Thursday challenging the state's strict gun laws. The plaintiffs, a group of gun rights activists, argued [lohud news report] that the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (SAFE Act) [text] infringes upon rights granted by the state constitution [text]. Judge Thomas McNamara held that the plaintiffs failed to show any right being infringed upon by the act. Governor...... [full story]

Couple files lawsuit urging Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down state's same-sex marriage ban
11:22 AM ET, April 17
[JURIST] A same-sex couple filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] on Wednesday with the Wisconsin Supreme Court [official website] seeking to strike down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The Wisconsin Constitution was amended in 2006 to include Article XIII, section 13 [text, PDF] which states that, "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." The couple, Katherine and Linda Halopka-Ivery, filed the lawsuit directly with the Supreme Court,...... [full story]

DOJ: Number of US deportation cases steadily declining
11:16 AM ET, April 17
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Wednesday released statistics[text, PDF] that show a steady decline in new deportation cases brought by the Obama administration [official website] in US immigration courts [materials] over the last five years, and that more judges have begun ruling against deportations. The numbers indicate a 43 percent drop [NYT report] in the number of deportations through these courts since 2009 and 26 percent fewer deportation cases opened by the administration. In 2009...... [full story]

Federal judge stays most of Ohio same-sex marriage ruling
8:41 AM ET, April 17
[JURIST] Federal judge Timothy Black [official profile] of the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] said Wednesday that Ohio must immediately recognize four same-sex marriages but stayed the broader effects of the ruling pending appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website]. Staying that portion of the ruling means that Ohio does not have to grant marriage benefits to all same-sex couples in Ohio, only the four couples listed as...... [full story]

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