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FT Magazine: Don’t misunderstand: this is not a tieless, first-naming internet start-up; these are courts of law, and based on hierarchy and deference. But the grandeur and remoteness that were inevitable when the court was an adjunct to the Lords have been swept away.
Reuters: Former President Pervez Musharraf fled a courtroom on Thursday after judges ordered his arrest to answer allegations he committed treason in 2007, an ignominious retreat for a man who once dominated Pakistan and had hoped to revive his political fortunes.
AP: Hungary has failed to reinstate judges and prosecutors it forced into early retirement in breach of EU law, the European Union’s justice chief said Wednesday . . .
The Globe and Mail: Constitutional experts are questioning whether the Supreme Court of Canada still has the stomach to guarantee fundamental rights. Not only is the court hearing fewer Charter cases, they contend, it increasingly releases timid, confusing judgments that confound lawyers and restrict the potential of the Charter.
Interdependent.com: The fact that the arrest and transfer of one of the ICC’s most wanted criminals was facilitated by the United States and Rwanda—two states that are not members of the court—demonstrated both the growing influence of the court and its changing relationship with the U.S. The United States’ increasing cooperation with the court continued even more recently . . .
Prague Daily Monitor: The European Human Rights Court has stopped dealing with a complaint by the dissolved Czech Workers’ Party (DS) and its former chairman Tomas Vandas, the Justice Ministry has said on its website, saying this means the party’s dissolution can be considered definitive.
ACLU: When the U.N. Human Rights Committee reviews U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) this October, the review will tackle many of the human rights violations plaguing Florida. Last week the committee released its list of issues, which will form the basis for the U.S. review, and demanded answers to questions regarding U.S. laws and policies in areas such as juvenile solitary confinement, felon disfranchisement, and discriminatory enforcement of criminal law
UKSC Blog: One reason for the absence of legal contest over these issues in the UK is the lack of a mechanism for constitutional challenge to the validity of laws. The powers of parliament not being limited by a written constitution, there has traditionally been no way of testing the propriety of laws against general principles. However, things are slowly changing.
AP: A radical Muslim cleric thwarted another effort by Britain to have him deported to Jordan after a court accepted arguments Wednesday that he would face testimony obtained by torture.
AP: The American Bar Association on Wednesday condemned Mtetwa’s treatment in detention and called on Zimbabwean authorities to “cease further harassment of political opponents and their representatives exercising their rights under international law.”
AP: The Responsible Parenthood Law was passed by lawmakers late last year despite the church’s opposition but petitioners questioned its legality on several grounds, saying it offends religious beliefs and fosters abortion, which remains illegal in the country.
NPR: In rebel-held parts of Syria, a clash of ideologies is playing out. Powerful Islamist brigades are competing with pro-democracy civilians to shape Syria’s future. One battlefront is in the courts. In many areas in northern Syria, Islamists have set up religious courts that deliver rulings under Shariah, or Islamic law — a fundamental change in Syria’s civil legal system.
FT.com: Critics say the amendments contain provisions threatening the independence of the judiciary, and potentially violating freedom of religion and the principle of separation of state and church. They narrowly define heterosexual marriage and “marriage and parent-child relationships” as the basis of the family.
Eugene Kontorovich at Volokh Conspiracy: I have put up a new working paper on SSRN, entitled Jurisdiction Over Israeli Settlement Activity in the International Criminal Court . . . In the wake of the U.N. General Assembly’s recent recognition of Palestinian statehood, the Palestinian government has made clear its intention to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where it could challenge the legality of Israeli settlements. This Article explores the previously unexamined jurisdictional hurdles for such a case.
Mary Langlois at LifeSiteNews: Although the lofty treaties, speeches and other goings-on at the United Nations often seem irrelevant to parents with busy lives, it is increasingly important that we pay attention to some troubling developments that could gravely effect the lives of all U.S. citizens.
AP: The court says in its Wednesday ruling that the law organizing the elections must be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court to determine its conformity to the constitution.
Canadian Constitution Foundation: Last week, in an unanimous decision in the case of Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, the Supreme Court of Canada struck a blow against freedom of speech.
Charles C.W. Cooke at National Review: If the Canadian Supreme Court is happy to indulge the prosecution of those whose speech apparently “opposes the targeted group’s ability to find self-fulfillment,” then I wonder if it wouldn’t also be happy to bring back Spectral Evidence, which William Stoughton allowed into his courtroom with such famous success at the Salem Witch Trials.
AP: Lawmakers at the Czech parliament’s upper house have decided to press high treason charges against outgoing president Vaclav Klaus over his controversial amnesty – an unprecedented move that taints the end of his presidency.
C-FAM: Pro-life organizations spoke at a special forum at UN headquarters this week to ask the UN General Assembly to reform treaty bodies which deviate from their mandates by pushing abortion, homosexuality and controversial sex ed programs. The UN is in the midst of a full review of the treaty bodies to identify ways to reform a system riddled with backlog, inefficiencies and abuse of authority. (also reported in LifeSiteNews)
Pascal Emmanuel Gobry at The American Scene: But of course, as any freshman philosophy student can tell, the problem comes when you try to ground those universal human rights. Where do they come from? Who confers them? Why should they be respected? There’s basically only two ways to do so, one theistic and one non-theistic. Universal human rights are perfectly grounded if they come from God, as the Declaration of Independence asserts and as I believe in my heart of hearts. But not everybody likes that, and it sort of defeats the purpose of creating this secular moral system to begin with. The only other way that I’m aware of to ground the idea of universal human rights is in, wait for it, the natural law.
Middle East Forum: It is a truism that the de-Baathification process in Iraq was turned into virtual “de-Sunnification” in many respects and thus helped to fuel the Sunni Arab insurgency in the period 2003-2005. However, one area that stands out as a notable exception is the judiciary.
UK Supreme Court: Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, today welcomes the announcement of three appointments to the Court.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: While bioethics is a well established academic discipline, biolaw is often overlooked. Unlike bioethics, which is concerned with the question of what should be done or avoided, biolaw aims to answer the question what must or must not be done.
The Guardian: Senior legal figures believe promotion of three male judges to highest court delayed because ministers want a woman to fill one of the vacancies
Religion Clause Blog: As reported by the Hodge Jones & Allen law firm, the English and Wales High Court (Family Division) last week handed down a judgment that for the first time in Britain endorsed the determination of a matrimonial dispute through reference to a Jewish religious court (Bet Din).
LegalCheek.com (includes video): Amid the glow of the UK Supreme Court’s psychedelic carpets (the work of Sgt Pepper’s album cover designer Peter Blake), former Linklaters trainee Cameron Sim tells me what it has been like to spend the last year working as the judicial assistant to Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger…
Charlie Savage at the NY Times: In certain respects, the current dispute is knottier and more abstract than Bush-era fights over the laws of war. But a common concern connects them: reciprocity, or the principle that a military should treat wartime prisoners the same as it wants adversaries to treat its soldiers.
AP: The family of an imprisoned Chinese rights lawyer was allowed to visit him for the first time in nearly 10 months, providing a confirmation that he was still alive, a human rights group reported.
The Blog of the Legal Times: A Washington federal judge today ordered the Russian government to pay $50,000 for each day officials refuse to comply with a court order calling for the return of Jewish religious texts seized in the early twentieth century.
Catholic Culture: “There is a real risk that moral relativism, which imposes itself as a new social norm, will come to undermine the foundations of individual freedom of conscience and religion,” the archbishop said.
Matthew J. Franck at National Review: Far be it from me to suggest that the Supreme Court look to foreign sources or opinions to guide its deliberations in the two cases now pending on same-sex marriage. But the shape of things in the current French debate over this issue is instructive indeed.
AP: Sri Lanka’s president on Tuesday swore in a trusted aide to replace the chief justice he fired, a move that could lead to a judicial crisis if lawyers and judges who say the move was illegal refuse to cooperate with the new head judge.
AP: Sri Lanka’s leading lawyers on Monday denounced President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s dismissal of the chief justice as illegal and said they still recognize Shirani Bandaranayake as the South Asian country’s top judge.
AP: The only female judge to sit on Egypt’s highest court says she has filed the first legal challenge against the country’s highly contentious constitution, which cost her the seat she held.
AP: A Sri Lankan appeals court on Monday quashed a guilty verdict reached by lawmakers against the country’s chief justice in a much-criticized impeachment hearing, a move that could intensify a monthslong dispute between Parliament and the judiciary.
Gatestone Institute: Shortly before Christmas the European Court threw out a lawsuit filed almost three years ago, which would have led to the EU being required to release the details of its funding of non-governmental organizations [NGOs].
Boston Globe: Thousands of protesters in Honduras’ capital of Tegucigalpa are blocking Supreme Court judges from entering the court’s building, saying they want to ‘‘clean up Honduras’ justice system.’’
AP: Sri Lanka’s highest court declared on Thursday that a parliament committee does not have the legal power to probe allegations of misuse of power and unexplained wealth against the country’s chief justice, escalating a showdown between the Indian ocean island nation’s legislature and the judiciary.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Should American courts refuse to send the child back to the country of origin, because the judicial system in that country is biased against women and non-Muslims?
Boston Globe: They said that the president’s appointment of Abdullah was improper. They said the Supreme Judicial Council should have been the one to nominate him, in order to ensure a separation of powers
Guardian: The government is facing a clash with some of the country’s most senior judges who will this week attempt to force ministers to relinquish control of the running of the supreme court. The constitutional dispute between the judiciary and the executive focuses on who should have the power to appoint the chief executive of the UK’s highest court – ministers or the judges who sit on it.
AP: Chile’s government has apologized to a lesbian judge who was denied custody of her three daughters because she is gay.
The Spectator: A showdown between the government and the European Court of Human Rights over prisoner votes drew that bit closer today. The government hoped that having parliament vote to uphold a blanket ban on prisoners voting would buy it some time, as the European Court of Human Rights would then have to start examining the issue all over again.
AP: Sri Lankan opposition lawmakers Friday withdrew from a committee looking into impeachment charges against the country’s chief justice, saying the process is flawed and unfair.
AP: Lawyers for Chile’s government argued Thursday that judges at the United Nations’ highest court should reject a request by Peru to draw a maritime boundary between the two countries, arguing the boundary was settled in a 1952 treaty.
NY Times: The Supreme Court on Wednesday struggled to decide whether it was capable of doing anything to affect the outcome of a custody dispute before the Sheriff Court in Airdrie, Scotland.
Christian Concern: A complaint against a High Court judge who spoke out in favour of marriage has been dismissed by the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). Sir Paul Coleridge has served in the Family Division for over 50 years. He set up the Marriage Foundation to promote marriage as the “gold standard for relationships” and to lobby for marriage-friendly policies.
Peter Zeughauser at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): The Shanghai Bar’s invitation confronts Big Law with a dilemma. Joining a Chinese bar is viewed by some Americans as condoning and helping to perpetrate a judicial system that is corrupt and badly in need of reform. Others regard joining the bar as an opportunity to advocate for reform from within the Chinese judicial system.
AP: Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström will launch a global alliance targeting online child sexual abuse, building on the success of cross-border police operations that have dismantled international pedophile networks.
AP: Egypt’s two highest appeals courts suspended their work Wednesday to protest presidential decrees that gave the country’s Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi nearly absolute powers, state television reported.
CNN: President Mohamed Morsy will meet Monday with members of Egypt’s highest judicial body, which has slammed his recent decree slashing judges’ authority as an “unprecedented attack,” state news reports.
Guardian: Government proposals to expand secret courts suffered a series of crushing defeats in the House of Lords on Wednesday night , significantly narrowing the scope of the justice and security bill.
Baptist Press: In what appears to be a final victory for the pastor, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, Alberta’s highest court affirmed in October Boissoin’s right to publicly express his religious views. “Public expression should not be censored simply because the views expressed are unpopular,” read an ADF blog post Nov. 2. “… This legal victory has great significance for religious expression. As American courts look more frequently to international jurisprudence for guidance, this victory for freedom of expression has important implications for preserving and promoting religious freedom in America.”
AP: When Shirani Bandaranayake was appointed Sri Lanka’s chief justice, rights campaigners assailed her as a puppet of a government that was steamrolling opponents and consolidating power. A year later, she is on the verge of becoming its latest victim.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: In Spain, the Constitutional Court has irremediably devalued the Constitution of which it was supposed to be the guardian by stating that the law that allows same-sex marriage was not unconstitutional.
Reuters: Saudi judges who enforce sharia (Islamic law) have condemned what they see as “the stench of Western ideas” in sweeping legal reforms pushed by King Abdullah, underscoring friction between government modernizers and religious hardliners.
AP: The EU’s highest court ruled Tuesday that Hungary’s reduced retirement age for judges constituted unjustified discrimination on the grounds of age . . .
A Lousy Procedure, A Messy Judgment: The European Human Rights Court’s Newest Attempt To Fabricate A „right To Abortion“
Turtle Bay and Beyond: While for many years the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has simply failed to protect unborn children against being murdered (the lead case here is the ignominious Vo v. France decision of 2004, where the Court explicitly recognised that the embryo “belongs to the human race”, but at the same expressed doubts as to whether it qualified as a “person”…) it is now trying to fabricate a “Right to Abortion”.
Religion Clause Blog: According to the Wall Street Journal last Friday, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Shariah courts are proliferating to fill the void in governmental services. Islamic courts have long operated in the Sinai to adjudicate minor disputes among individuals, but since the revolution they are expanding their role.
Religious Speech Does Not Equal ‘Hate Speech’: Court Affirms Pastor’s Right to Publicly Express Views | Christiana Holcomb at Speak Up Movement Church Blog
Christiana Holcomb at Public Discourse: Expressing his religious views in a public forum plunged one Canadian pastor into a ten-year legal battle defending his right to freedom of expression against accusations of “hate speech.”
Canadian Appeals Court Finds Pastor’s Anti-Gay Letter Did Not Violate Alberta’s Hate Speech Law | Religion Clause Blog
AP: The latest issue appeared relatively minor – Ahmadinejad’s intention to visit a prison north of Tehran. The head of the judiciary branch, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, said permission from his office was needed to visit Evin prison, and Ahmadinejad angrily rejected that.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Benjamin Bull adds the court was critical of the law, and he believes that ought to be the end of the matter. “Because the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision, it’s going to be extremely difficult for religious or political debate to be found in breach of Alberta’s human rights laws,” the attorney asserts.
LifeSiteNews: Boissoin’s lawyer, Gerald Chipeur, Q.C., who is an allied attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), pointed out that not only did Justice O’Brien throw out the AHRC’s decision, but ruled that a human rights panel had no constitutional authority to preside in such circumstances. “This was a watershed case,” Chipeur said. “Very important, in terms of freedom of expression and religious liberty. Going forward, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for religious or political debate to be found in breach of Alberta’s current human rights laws.” “Christians and other people of faith should not be fined or jailed for expressing their political or religious beliefs. There is no place for thought control in a free and democratic society,” Chipeur remarked. “The tools of censorship should not be available to prohibit freedom of religious expression in Canada. The court rightly found that this type of religious speech is not ‘hate’ speech.”
Gatestone Institute: In Islamist radical convicted of stabbing two German police officers during a protest against “offensive” cartoons has been sentenced to six years in prison. Murat K, a 26-year-old German-born Salafist of Turkish heritage from the western state of Hessen, openly admitted that he had attacked and wounded the two police officers with a kitchen knife during the cartoon riots in May. He showed no remorse, however, during his trial at the district court in the city of Bonn; he said he had been morally obligated to follow Islamic Sharia law.
For Now, Pastors Still Can Oppose Sin: Bellwether case affirms Christian’s right to express beliefs | WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily: Now, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the decision from the Alberta court likely signals an ultimate victory in the 12-year legal fight. “Christians and other people of faith should not be fined or jailed for expressing their political or religious beliefs. There is no place for thought control in a free and democratic society,” said Gerald Chipeur, one of more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, who served as counsel in the suit. “The tools of censorship should not be available to prohibit freedom of religious expression in Canada. The court rightly found that this type of religious speech is not ‘hate speech.’”
AP: An Egyptian court on Tuesday asked the country’s highest tribunal to rule on whether to disband the body tasked with writing a new constitution. That could give Islamists time to finish drafting the document before a legal ruling.