9th November 2018
This week, the Justice Beat focuses on the US midterms, a trademark feud involving rival Scout groups and a Twitter spat between tech titans over a new tax to help the homeless.
1. The US midterm elections have dominated headlines this week. Before the results had even been finalised, President Donald Trump forced his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to resign. Sessions' replacement by Trump's Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, could spell dire jeopardy for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, the Washington Post reports.
2. Meanwhile, as pundits argue over whether the much-anticipated ‘Blue Wave’ actually materialised, a judge in North Dakota dismissed a claim by Native Americans disenfranchised under draconian voter ID laws, Slate reports. Thousands of citizens are thought to have been ballot-blocked because they live on reservations.
3. Facebook may be congratulating itself on an Election Day largely free of the viral misinformation which plagued the 2016 election, but the social media giant remains under heavy scrutiny, says the New York Times. Apparently, an election nowadays requires an ad hoc “war room” at Facebook HQ staffed round-the-clock, and a multitude of fact-checkers policing the platform for fake news. Even with those safeguards, Facebook still had to disclose that it expelled a number of Kremlin-linked trolls.
4. Rival scouting organisations in America are locked in a legal battle over alleged trademark violations, Reuters reports. The Girl Scouts of the USA filed a claim against the Boy Scouts of America after the latter decided to drop the word “Boy” from its signature programme and start welcoming older girls. The Boy Scouts are also for the first time proposing to allow girls to earn their highest rank: Eagle Scout.
Tax to help the homeless?
5. Two tech billionaires are engaged in a Twitter spat over a proposal to raise taxes on the biggest businesses in San Francisco with the funds to go towards helping homeless people, the New Yorker reports. CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff has backed the proposed law, while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey doesn’t believe it is the best way to remedy homelessness in the Bay Area.
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This week on CrowdJustice, a group of local residents is raising funds to challenge a planning application for the development of 200 homes near hazardous landfill sites and the mother of Emma-Jayne Magson, a young woman convicted of murdering her boyfriend, is crowdfunding to appeal the conviction, arguing that Emma-Jayne is a victim of domestic violence.
Service users and friends of the Fairway Day Centre in Birmingham, which caters for more than 50 disabled adults, have secured a court order that temporarily prevents the City Council from progressing plans to close the Centre, with a judicial review pending. They are represented by Irwin Mitchell.
Image credit: Flickr / Gage Skidmore