A federal judge temporarily blocked the District of Columbia from enforcing a law that would have allowed children to get vaccinated without the knowledge of their parents, ruling the law violated parents’ religious liberties.
The law in question, the Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2020, allows children as young as 11 years old to be vaccinated so long as a provider deems them capable of informed consent.
The decision, issued Friday, comes as health officials debate the merits of recommending additional COVID-19 booster shots, and as regulators and drug companies continue to analyze clinical evidence for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old.
Under the law, children whose parents objected to vaccines on religious grounds would have access to their own medical records, and providers would be allowed to seek reimbursement directly from the insurer without parental knowledge or consent.
The law was initially aimed at allowing teenagers to have access to the HPV vaccine and the meningitis vaccine, as it was passed prior to COVID-19 vaccines becoming available. The law applies only to vaccines that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Parents brought two separate lawsuits in July that challenged the law.
One lawsuit, brought by the father of a teenager at a public charter school, alleged that the District created a “pressure-cooker environment, enticing and psychologically manipulating” their child to “defy their parents and take vaccinations against their parents’ wills.”
The father alleged that his child was “medically frail” and developed autoimmunity, alopecia (severe hair loss), asthma, and eczema after receiving vaccines. As a result, he said he is of the sincere religious belief that “he should not inject a foreign substance into his son’s body that may harm him,” and objects to the COVID-19 vaccine as well as all standard childhood vaccines.
The lawsuit did not identify the father’s religion. It was filed by Children’s Health Defense, an organization run by anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
A second lawsuit was filed by a Maryland resident who said his 16-year-old daughter sought a vaccine in D.C. in order to attend a summer camp, without his knowledge and despite his religious objections.
Judge Trevor McFadden, appointed by formerPresident Trump, ruled that the parents in both cases have standing and showed a likelihood of success on the merits for those claims, because the law requires providers to hide children’s vaccination status from parents who invoke their religious exemption rights but not from other parents.
McFadden ruled the law “targets religious parents” by withholding information available to secular parents who file a medical exemption for their children and said it was preempted by the federal National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
McFadden said he doesn’t anticipate a wide ranging impact from the injunction.
The ruling “will not prevent children from being vaccinated. Nor will it prevent the District from continuing to advertise the importance of vaccines, incentivizing vaccinations, and setting up vaccine clinics in schools. The only impact will be that children will be unable to decide to get vaccinations without their parents’ consent,” he wrote.
A Texas federal judge on Friday ordered President Joe Biden to stop the mass release of illegal migrant children crossing the southern border into the country.
Judge Mark Pittman’s order prevents Biden from exempting minor migrants from Title 42. Title 42 is an immigration policy implemented by former President Donald Trump that allows U.S. immigration officials to expel immediately migrants who come to the southern border. Title 42 was implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the policy’s start in March 2020, the federal government has expelled more than 1.6 million migrants.
Biden previously declined to expel unaccompanied minor children under Title 42. Instead, he allowed the young migrants to enter the country, where they would be placed under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ supervision. From there, they would be placed with sponsors in the United States, who are typically family members.
Here, the President has (arbitrarily) excepted COVID-19 positive unaccompanied alien children from Title 42 procedures—which were purposed with preventing the spread of COVID-19. As a result, border states such as Texas now uniquely bear the brunt of the ramifications. Yet, while policy decisions are beyond judicial review, those agency actions that are “arbitrary, capricious, . . . or otherwise not in accordance with law” will be set aside.
Pittman explained that the “ramifications” Texas deals with include strains on the state’s public school system and medical resources, and increased incarceration.
A record number of more than 122,000 unaccompanied minors arrived at the southern border during the fiscal year 2021.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the decision is a “win for Texas & children—loss for Biden & cartels!”
Huge win against Biden! Along w @America1stLegal & @IRLILaw, I sued the Admin for failing to use Title 42, contrib to massive wave of smuggling. Fed court just BLOCKED Biden from excepting alien minors from the Title 42 process. Win for Texas & children—loss for Biden & cartels!
We are honored beyond words to have partnered with Attorney General Ken Paxton and the State of Texas in our landmark lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s egregious decision to except ALL illegal alien minors traveling without adults (UAC) from Title 42—and to have just obtained a preliminary injunction. Biden’s decision to except UAC from Title 42, and instead mass resettle them in the United States, has led to the largest wave of criminal child smuggling in human history–and the flood of illegal alien teens and minors has drained the resources of our schools, hospitals, and communities while creating a new unimpeded recruiting pipeline for MS-13. This preliminary injunction orders the Biden Administration to halt their order categorically excepting unaccompanied alien minors from Title 42 repatriation. This is a truly historic victory, but we have a long, long, long way to go to end the Administration’s crusade to eradicate our sovereignty.
Friday’s decision is Texas’s latest successful effort to prevent Biden from implementing his radical immigration agenda. Texas previously stopped a 100-day deportation moratorium from being enforced last February. Additionally, the state got a federal judge to order Biden to continue Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, where asylum seekers are returned to Mexico to wait for their hearings.
The case is Texas v. Biden, No. 4:21-cv-0579-P in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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Justice was served. A Kentucky jury on Thursday cleared a former police officer of charges that he endangered neighbors when he fired shots into an apartment during the 2020 drug raid that ended with Breonna Taylor’s death.
The panel of eight men and four women delivered its verdict about three hours after it took the case following closing arguments from prosecution and defense attorneys. Hankison was shaking and visibly relieved after the verdict. Taylor’s sister, Juniyah Palmer, shook her head.
Asked what might have swayed the jury, Attorney Mathews replied, “I think it was absolutely the fact that he was doing his job as a police officer. … The jury felt like you go out and peform your duty and your brother officer gets shot, you got a right to defend yourself. Simple as that. “
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A federal appeals court on Feb. 28 rejected an attempt by President Joe Biden’s administration to partially lift a block on the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for a group of Navy SEALs.
A federal judge in January blocked the mandate’s enforcement for 35 Navy members, many of them SEALs, ruling that while the Navy had provided a process for adjudicating religious exemption applications, “by all accounts, it is theater.”
At the time of the ruling, the Navy had granted zero religious exemptions. As of Feb. 23, it had still granted none.
Nonetheless, officials asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to allow the military to take into account the unvaccinated status of the 35 members when making “deployment, assignment and other operational decisions.” They argued that “forcing the Navy to deploy plaintiffs while they are unvaccinated threatens the success of critical missions and needlessly endangers the health and safety of other service members.”
A three-judge panel on the court rejected the request, noting the discrepancy between how the branch has handled medical and religious exemption requests.
“The Navy has granted hundreds of medical exemptions from vaccination requirements, allowing those service members to seek medical waivers and become deployable. But it has not accommodated any religious objection to any vaccine in seven years, preventing those seeking such accommodations from even being considered for medical waivers,” the panel said.
Judges said there is apparently no template for approving requests, but there is a disapproval template form. And during the process, Navy officials sent memorandums to Vice Admiral John Nowell asking that he disapprove the exemption requests, even those based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The Navy has “has effectively stacked the deck against even those exemptions supported by Plaintiffs’ immediate commanding officers and military chaplains,” emphasizing the futility of pursuing exemptions, the panel said. Further, letting 35 unvaccinated members deploy wouldn’t seriously impede military function because over 5,000 other members are still on duty despite being unvaccinated, they added.
“Defendants have not demonstrated ‘paramount interests’ that justify vaccinating these 35 Plaintiffs against COVID-19 in violation of their religious beliefs,” the ruling stated.
The panel consisted of Judges Edith Jones, a Reagan nominee; Stuart Duncan, a Trump nominee; and Kurt Engelhardt, a Trump nominee.
Mike Berry, director of military affairs for First Liberty Institute, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the group was grateful for the ruling.
“The purge of religious service members is not just devastating to morale, but it harms America’s national security. It’s time for our military to honor its constitutional obligations and grant religious accommodations for service members with sincere religious objections to the vaccine,” Berry said in a statement.
The Navy declined to comment.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, the George W. Bush nominee who entered the injunction, has yet to rule on a motion to widen the preliminary injunction to all Navy members seeking a religious exemption. He received arguments from both parties in February.
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Top officials at a U.S. federal cybersecurity agency are urging a judge not to authorize at this time the release of a report that analyzes Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Georgia, arguing doing so could assist hackers trying to “undermine election security.”
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was recently provided an unredacted copy of the report, which was prepared by J. Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society.
The report discusses “potential vulnerabilities in Dominion ImageCast X ballot marking devices,” or electronic voting devices, according to the government.
While CISA supports public disclosure of any vulnerabilities and associated mitigation measures with election equipment, allowing the release of the report at this point “increases the risk that malicious actors may be able to exploit any vulnerabilities and threaten election security,” government lawyers said in a Feb. 10 filing in the case.
The case was brought in 2017 by good-government groups and voters who say the lack of paper ballots undermines the voting process.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, an Obama nominee overseeing the case, was urged by CISA to reject attempts to release a redacted version of Halderman’s report for now.
CISA officials want to review the information in the report and help Dominion resolve the vulnerabilities identified before the report is released. They said they weren’t able to provide a date by which they’ll be finished.
Totenberg must weigh the request against the wishes of Georgia Secretary State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and one of the defendants, who called in late January for the release to happen immediately.
John Poulos, Dominion’s CEO and president, said in a statement released by Raffensperger’s office that Halderman’s review lacked “a holistic approach,” adding that Dominion “supports all efforts to bring real facts and evidence forward to defend the integrity of our machines and the credibility of Georgia’s elections.”
Plaintiffs, including the Coalition for Good Governance, also support the release of the report, David Cross, one of their lawyers, confirmed to The Epoch Times.
The plaintiffs said in a filing before a copy was sent to CISA that the agency should get a copy and begin its evaluation process, but that the evaluation “should not unreasonably delay the public disclosure of the report, which must be promptly disclosed to Georgia state and county election officials, and filed on the public docket, so that public officials can secure the upcoming May primary elections.”
They asked Totenberg to order them to file a redacted version of the report on the docket, which would make it accessible to the public, no later than March 4. Original Here
In other words the “Biden” administration doesn’t want a computer savvy group to prove home the election was tampered with via compromised voting machines.
But they probably don’t need to worry. After all, the Fulton County people who were caught on their own CCTV pulling ballots from under a table and running ballots through the machines multiple times have yet to be prosecuted.
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Mark and Patricia McCloskey leave following a court hearing in St. Louis on Oct. 14, 2020.
By Matthew Vadum for EPOCH TIMES February 10, 2022
The Missouri Supreme Court has indefinitely suspended the law licenses of a Missouri couple convicted of misdemeanors for holding guns outside of their St. Louis home in 2020, when a group of protesters, including Black Lives Matter activists, demonstrated in their gated community.
At the same time, the court stayed the suspension, subject to a year of probation during which the two attorneys—who have become folk heroes among conservatives—must “not engage in conduct that violates the Rules of Professional Conduct.”
For defending their home, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were honored speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention. Mark McCloskey is currently running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.
Although the McCloskeys, who were pardoned after their convictions by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, argued that they were justified in holding firearms outside of their home to dissuade the crowd, which they said meant them harm, local prosecutors disagreed.
The case, which involved prosecutorial misconduct, received national media attention.
Kimberly Gardner, a Democrat and St. Louis’s first black chief prosecutor, who has accused local police of racism, was removed from the case in December 2020 by Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II for using the incident in inflammatory campaign fundraising emails that were sent out days before the McCloskeys were charged. Clark ruled that Gardner’s behavior raised “the appearance of impropriety” and jeopardized the defendants’ right to a fair trial, National Public Radio reported.
Leftist financier George Soros, whose philanthropy funded groups that were involved in the violent protests following the 2014 death of black teenager Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, also contributed to Gardner’s campaign through his political organizations as part of a “rogue prosecutors” campaign to elect soft-on-crime district attorneys, Capital Research Center found, according to the Washington Times. Critics say that these radical prosecutors have caused crime rates to escalate in communities across the country.
The Black Lives Matter activists who appeared outside of the McCloskeys’ home were marching to the home of the St. Louis mayor to protest the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, a black man whose death sparked violent protests nationwide. Nine protesters involved in the incident were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, but the charges were later dropped.
The McCloskeys said at the time that their actions “were borne solely of fear and apprehension” at the presence of the mob on a private street.
Under court rules, the fact that Mark and Patricia McCloskey were each convicted of a “misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude” requires them to be disciplined, Chief Justice Paul C. Wilson wrote in twin orders on Feb. 8.
Moral turpitude is a legal term describing “wicked, deviant behavior constituting an immoral, unethical, or unjust departure from ordinary social standards such that it would shock a community,” according to the Legal Information Institute.
Mark McCloskey entered a guilty plea on June 17, 2021, to a “class A misdemeanor of harassment in the second degree,” Wilson wrote (pdf). He was fined $750. Patricia McCloskey entered a guilty plea on the same day to a “class C misdemeanor of assault in the fourth degree,” the chief justice wrote (pdf). She was fined $2,000.
The couple had originally been charged with felony-level unlawful use of a weapon, although prosecutors reached a plea deal with them to reduce the severity of the charges.
Alan Pratzel, the court’s chief disciplinary officer, previously moved to have their law licenses suspended. He said what the couple did showed “indifference to public safety” and involved “moral turpitude.”
Pratzel acknowledged that the governor’s pardons erased the McCloskeys’ convictions, but said in such cases “the person’s guilt remains,” as The Epoch Times previously reported.
Patricia McCloskey told local media that she was “disappointed the Supreme Court found it appropriate to discipline us.”
“I think what we did was certainly not an act of moral turpitude,” she said.
She noted that they’ll both comply with the probation conditions.
Katabella Roberts contributed to this article.
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Months after Judicial Watch sued the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for information about a secret program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, more of the agency’s controversial spy mechanisms are being exposed. The newly uncovered tools are sophisticated hacking devices that can breach cell phones and the USPS’s law enforcement arm, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), has utilized them hundreds of times in the last few years, according to a news story that cites USPIS data buried in a lengthy agency report. The questionable surveillance schemes appear to indicate that the government is weaponizing the nation’s postal service to improperly spy on the citizens who fund it.
The social media surveillance program was uncovered early last year by an online news outlet that revealed the USPS has been quietly tracking and collecting the social media posts of Americans, including notes about planned protests. It is known as Internet Covert Operations Program (ICOP). Analysts dig through social media sites searching for “inflammatory” postings, which are shared across government agencies. Civil liberties experts quoted in the story questioned the legal authority of the USPS to monitor social media activity and one asked a logical question: Why would the government depend on the postal service to examine the internet for security reasons? “If the individuals they’re monitoring are carrying out or planning criminal activity that should be the purview of the FBI,” said one civil liberties authority in the piece, adding “if they’re simply engaging in lawfully protected speech, even if it’s odious or objectionable, then monitoring them on that basis raises serious constitutional concerns.”
Judicial Watch quickly launched an investigation, filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the USPS for information relating to ICOP. As the government often does with FOIA requests, it failed to meet the federally mandated deadline for providing the records and Judicial Watch was forced to file a lawsuit in early July. Among the things Judicial Watch asks for in the federal complaint is all records from January 1, 2020 to the present identifying criteria for flagging social media posts as “inflammatory” or otherwise worthy of further scrutiny by other government agencies. It also asks for records relating to ICOP’s database of social media posts, communications between USPIS and FBI or Homeland Security regarding the program and an analysis outlining the authority of the USPIS to monitor, track and collect Americans’ social media posts. Judicial Watch will provide updates as the case evolves.
In the meantime, Judicial Watch is filing a FOIA request with the USPS for information on the devices used by the agency to hack cell phones. The news agency that exposed the alarming operation this week discovered its existence in the USPIS’s 2019 and 2020 annual reports. “Altogether, the records suggest that the USPIS has cracked hundreds of iPhones—generally thought to be one of the most secure commercial phones on the market—as well as other devices,” the article states. The hacking tools are known as Cellebrite and GrayKey and they were used by the agency to extract previously unattainable information from seized mobile devices. In fiscal year 2020, 331 devices were processed and 242 were unlocked and/or extracted, according to information obtained from the USPIS reports. The 2020 document discloses an increase in phone cracking from the previous year.
These clandestine operations within the nation’s postal service should create concern, especially for a troubled agency that has failed miserably to fulfill its mission. The USPS has long been a bastion of mismanagement and frivolous spending that has fleeced American taxpayers out of billions in the last few years alone. In 2021, the USPS reported a net loss of $4.9 billion and in 2020 a net loss of $9.2 billion. One federal audit slammed the USPS for blowing the opportunity to save nearly $22 million had it bothered to maintain its fleet of vehicles more efficiently.
A few years before that the USPS blew hundreds of thousands of dollars on professional sports tickets, booze and fancy meals while it claimed to be crippled by an $8.3 billion deficit. The items were purchased by USPS managers and employees with special charge cards issued to U.S. government agencies. The USPS’s top executives have also been found to receive illegally high salary and compensation packages that should outrage the public. Several years ago, a federal audit found that at least three USPS officers made more than the legal compensation limit for their respective work category while the agency was billions in the red.
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Kelly Meggs and other Oath Keepers could not do one of the major things federal prosecutors accuse them of – force their way into the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 6, 2021, through the famous Columbus Doors.
The two sets of historic doors that lead into the Rotunda were opened by someone on the inside, and not his client, says defense attorney Jonathon Moseley.
Department of Justice video widely circulated on Twitter this week shows a man trying to open the inner doors by leaning against them, before turning around as if listening to someone, then returning to the entrance and opening the left door for protesters.
“The outer doors cast from solid bronze would require a bazooka, an artillery shell or C4 military-grade explosives to breach,” Moseley wrote in a letter to federal prosecutors. “That of course did not happen. You would sooner break into a bank vault than to break the bronze outer Columbus Doors.”
The 20,000-pound Columbus Doors that lead into the Rotunda on the east side of the U.S. Capitol are secured by magnetic locks that can only be opened from the inside using a security code controlled by Capitol Police, Moseley wrote in an eight-page memo.
‘Impossible and Cannot Be Done’
“Imagine how the prosecution will prove at trial what cannot be proven because it is not true,” Moseley wrote to prosecutors Jeffrey S. Nestler and Kathryn Leigh Rakoczy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Who is going to testify that the defendants entered the Columbus Doors when the U.S. Capitol Police will begrudgingly testify that that is impossible and cannot be done?”
In a superseding indictment on Jan. 12, 2022, Meggs and 10 other members of the Oath Keepers were charged with seditious conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, tampering with documents, and other counts related to rioting on Jan. 6.
The indictment charges that Meggs led a “stack formation” up the Capitol steps to the entrance at the Columbus Doors. At 2:39 p.m., the doors were breached, and Stack One entered the Capitol with the mob, the indictment said.
Moseley said there’s one big problem with that accusation: it’s impossible to force entry from the outside. Only someone with the security code could release the locks—from the inside.
Video evidence submitted in the case showed the glass panes in the inner doors were cracked but intact, so no one accessed the building through the windows or by reaching for the inside door handles, he said.
“Therefore,” Moseley wrote. “Nobody opened the Rotunda doors from the outside. Someone opened the doors from the inside.”
Video shot by multimedia journalist Michael Nigro shows the outer bronze doors were partially retracted before a large crowd gathered outside the entrance.
The inner doors were closed and U.S. Capitol Police were stationed outside. Protesters sprayed police with pepper spray, threw items at them, and hit them with flagpoles.
A short time later, the inner doors were opened and hundreds of protesters streamed into the Rotunda, the video shows. A protester in the Rotunda is heard shouting, “Don’t vandalize the property!”
Capitol Tour Confirms Door Security
American sculptor Randolph Rogers designed the solid-bronze doors to depict scenes from the life of explorer Christopher Columbus. The doors were first installed in 1863, moved in 1871 to the central east entrance, and moved to the current location in 1961.
The doors are 17 feet high and weigh 20,000 pounds, according to the Architect of the Capitol. Once opened, the giant doors retract into pockets in the walls via built-in tracks.
Moseley asked federal prosecutors for “any and all specifications, details and operational information about the so-called Columbus Doors.”
Moseley said he and an assistant took a tour of the Capitol on Jan. 22, along with other attorneys and investigators. The U.S. Capitol Police officers on duty were emphatic, he said, that the doors could not be opened from the outside.
“These are facts that in the supposedly largest nationwide investigation in the history of the U.S. since the kidnapping of the Charles Lindbergh baby or the search for Al Capone could easily have been investigated, check(ed), and determined before the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented false information to the grand jury,” Moseley wrote.
“For these purposes, I don’t care who opened the Columbus Doors from the inside, or why, or who they worked for. History will reveal all of that,” Moseley wrote. “History will care very much. But all I care about is that it wasn’t my client or any of these defendants, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office knows that or should have discovered it upon reasonable investigation.”
The Epoch Times asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for comment on Moseley’s letter but received no reply.
The superseding indictment said Meggs and four other Oath Keepers became part of a mob that “aggressively advanced toward the Rotunda Doors, assaulted the law enforcement officers guarding the doors, threw objects, and sprayed chemicals toward the officers and the doors and pulled violently on the doors.”
The ‘mob’ breached the Rotunda entrance around 2:39 p.m., the indictment alleges.
Nigro’s video from outside the entrance shows a group of Oath Keepers near the Columbus Doors, which are clearly open at the time the men got near the threshold. By the time they entered the Capitol, dozens if not more than 100 people had flowed into the building, the video shows.
Moseley accused prosecutors of crafting a case against the Oath Keepers that is “false and reprehensible.”
“This baseless prosecution is the greatest threat to the Republic since 1812. This prosecution is not about an attack on our Republic. This prosecution IS the attack on our Republic,” Moseley wrote, “seeking to criminalize political dissent, free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of political association, and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.”
Moseley rapped federal authorities for “dishonestly trying to deceive the public” for eight months by concealing the fact that six demonstration permits had been issued for the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.Implicit in those permits is the permission for people to have ingress and egress across the grounds to reach each event, he said.
This baseless prosecution is the greatest threat to the Republic since 1812.
— Jonathon Moseley
Moseley proposed a stipulation that both sides in the case agree none of the demonstrators or the defendants opened the Columbus Doors on Jan. 6 and that the government strike three paragraphs of the indictment that refer to defendants entering the Capitol because they are “untrue and withdrawn.”
Prosecutors refused that proposal.
News of the Columbus Doors issue comes as more video was released from the protective court seal. It shows large groups of Jan. 6 protesters peacefully streaming into the U.S. Capitol through wide-open doors. Among them was Rabbi Mike Stepakoff, who spent about five minutes inside the Capitol, doing nothing more than looking around and taking photos.
On his way out, Stepakoff stopped to shake hands with a police officer, and told him “Thank you for your service, we love you, and God bless you,” according to his attorney, Marina Medvin.
Rabbi Stepakoff was charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, all misdemeanors.
Stepakoff pleaded guilty to the parading charge and received 12 months of probation. The other charges were dismissed. The government sought to punish him with a jail term “for events he did not partake in, for destruction and violence he did not witness, for severity he did not experience, and for an effect he did not cause nor could foresee,” Medvin said.
There is so much hyperbole in the indictment that the DOJ’s own video refutes it’s not funny –Phoenix.
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An elected judge was removed from the bench in Alabama by the state’s judicial oversight authority late last week over a series of unprofessional comments and other unbecoming actions.
Recently former judge Nakita Blocton of Jefferson County, Ala. was relieved of her duties and ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings that eventually ousted her from the court, according to a Dec. 10 special court order that resulted from a May complaint that was filed by the Yellowhammer State’s Judicial Inquiry Commission.
Noting a pattern and practice of “making inappropriate comments,” the nine judges on the panel highlighted instances in which Blocton referred to one judge as an “Uncle Tom,” called another judge a “fat bitch” and called an employee who worked for her a “heifer.”
Some of the former judge’s comments, the panel said, actually constituted “a pattern of abuse” directed towards her staff, attorneys who appeared before her and litigants in her courtroom. The “heifer” remark was cited again in this context, and the report says she also “belittled another employee” — without going into details.
And, when faced with the prospect of discipline over her behavior, Blocton apparently attempted to cover it up — albeit unsuccessfully.
“Judge Blocton also ordered employees to allow her to see their private cellphones so that information that might be relevant to the Commission’s investigation could be deleted and she instructed them to provide to her their private login information to their work computers,” the findings section of the order says.
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A federal judge will allow Texas to seek internal documents from social-media companies regarding how they moderate content, as the state defends a new law restricting when platforms can suspend users.
The ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin means Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is free to seek limited discovery from members of two prominent trade groups that sued to block the controversial statute, including Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Facebook Inc.
The ruling allows Paxton to seek documents and depose employees at members of NetChoice and Computer & Communications Industry Association — but only if they’ll be impacted by the law barring platforms from suspending users over their political views. The statute, which applies to social-media companies with more than 50 million monthly users, takes effect Dec. 2.
The trade groups argue the statute will force social-medial platforms to host extremist content in violation of their user policies, and that Paxton’s discovery request was designed to “further antagonize” the targets of the law.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other Republicans criticized social-media companies for banning former President Donald Trump from their platforms after a mob of his supporters raided the Capitol on Jan. 6. A similar law in Florida targeting social-media companies after the bans was put on hold by a judge in a suit brought by the same trade groups.
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