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United States: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 Signed into Law

(June 2, 2008) On May 21, 2008 the President signed into law House bill H.R. 493, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”). GINA provides broad protection from discrimination against individuals based on their genetic information. To accomplish its purpose in the area of health insurance discrimination, GINA amends the Employee Retirement Income Security […]

United States: Maryland High Court Holds Islamic “Talaq” Divorce Unconstitutional

(May 2, 2008) On May 6, 2008 the Maryland Court of Appeals declined to recognize a Pakistani “talaq” divorce, holding that the practice conflicted with Maryland public policy and the Maryland Constitution. Farah and Irfan Aleem, citizens of Pakistan, were married in Pakistan in 1980, but have resided in Maryland for the past 20 years. […]

United States: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Held Unconstitutional in California

(May 2, 2008) On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court ruled that provisions in the state’s marriage statutes disallowing same-sex marriages violate the California Constitution. The opinion arose from six consolidated proceedings involving the City of San Francisco’s issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples during a period in 2004. The issuance of such […]

United States: Native American Ordered To Stand Trial For Shooting Bald Eagle

(May 2, 2008) On May 8, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that notwithstanding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming can be criminally charged for shooting a bald eagle without a permit. An individual named Winslow Friday shot an eagle in […]

United States: Minnesota Video Game Law Struck Down

(Apr. 2, 2008) On March 17, 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a permanent injunction of a Minnesota law which would have fined minors who purchased or rented video games labeled with a "mature" or "adult only" rating. The court stated that under Eighth Circuit precedent, violent video games […]

United States: Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Felony Spamming Conviction

(Mar. 2, 2008) On February 29, 2008 the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld the felony conviction of Jeremy Jaynes on three counts of violating the unsolicited bulk e-mail ("spam") provision of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act. Jaynes used computer systems in his home in North Carolina to send tens of thousands of unsolicited e-mail advertisements […]

United States: Execution by Electrocution Held Unconstitutional in Nebraska

(Feb. 2, 2008) On February 8, 2008 the Supreme Court of Nebraska held that execution by means of electrocution constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" under Article I, Section 9 of the Nebraska Constitution and thus that electrocution could no longer be used as a method of execution by the State of Nebraska. Nebraska was the […]

United States: EPA Regulations on Power Plant Mercury Emissions Stuck Down

(Feb. 2, 2008) On February 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit invalidated two rules promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") concerning electric utility steam generating units ("EGUs"). The first rule removed coal- and oil-fired EGUs from the list of sources whose emissions are regulated under section 112 of […]

United States: Civil Verdict Against Religious Protestors at Funeral Upheld

(Feb. 2, 2008) On February 4, 2008 the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland upheld a civil verdict in a lawsuit brought by the family of a deceased soldier against protestors at the soldier's funeral. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas have been involved in a number of legal disputes arising […]

United States: Lawsuit Challenging No Child Left Behind Act Allowed to Proceed

(Jan. 2, 2008) On January 7, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a federal district court dismissing a lawsuit brought by a variety of school districts and education associations against the U.S. Secretary of Education. The lawsuit challenged the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), federal legislation […]