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#FreeBritney: Lawmakers request House Judiciary hearing on conservatorship, Britney Spears

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On Monday, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) requesting that the committee hold a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships, specifically mentioning the ongoing controversy surrounding pop star Britney Spears’s father holding conservatorship over her.

In the letter, GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), explaining the Spears situation, stated their concerns regarding “constitutional freedoms” in the case.

“The ACLU is concerned that individuals are being ‘stripped of virtually all of their civil rights through guardianships and conservatorships’ and has called for the exploration of reforms to ensure that unnecessary conservatorships can be terminated so these individuals may ‘direct their own lives,'” the letter began. “The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears.”

“Since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship,” the letter added. “The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears.”

“In court appearances in August and November of 2020, Ms. Spears’ attorney represented to the court that that Ms. Spears ‘strongly opposed’ having her father as a conservator, that she was afraid of her father, and that she would not again perform publicly so long as this arrangement persisted,” the letter continued. “Despite these pleas, Mr. Spears remains a conservator of her estate. Despite Mr. Spears’s claiming to want nothing more than to see Ms. Spears ‘not need a conservatorship,’ his attorney admitted in a recent documentary, ‘Of the cases I’ve been involved in, I have not seen a conservatee who has successfully terminated a conservatorship.'”

“Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements,” the letter concluded, “it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”

Over the past couple of years, many fans of the world-famous pop star have been speculating that Spears was essentially being held captive by her father and that she needed to be rescued, with many of her fans calling for her emancipation have been using #FreeBritney hashtag.

However, the #FreeBritney movement picked up a ton of momentum last month, when The New York Times released a documentary on Netflix titled “The Framing of Britney Spears”, which the letter to Nadler referenced, that chronicled Spears’s successes and struggles and set the internet aflame.

The documentary prompted celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler to call for Spears’s emancipation. Justin Timberlake, Spears’s former boyfriend, also put out an apology for allowing the media to engage in misogyny against her after their tumultuous breakup two decades ago.

Subsequently on February 11, one week after the documentary’s release, the Los Angeles Superior Court placed the financial company Bessemer Trust in an equal partnership with Spears’s father, as the pop star had requested.

For a more detailed explanation and breakdown of the #FreeBritney situation, read Vox’s explainer piece here.

Gaetz retweeted the letter Tuesday afternoon, saying, “Congress can #FreeBritney and @RepJerryNadler has the power to convene a needed hearing on conservatorship due process.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Healthcare

State officials, CDC investigating monkeypox case in Florida

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Florida state health officials, are investigating what is believed to be a case of monkeypox. A statement from the Florida Department of Health in Broward County stated the “case is related to international travel, and the person remains isolated.”

Late Friday a New York City resident also tested positive for the virus that causes monkeypox, and is the state’s first confirmed case. On Sunday, President Joe Biden made his first public statements about the outbreaks, saying the recent spread of monkeypox in at least 12 countries are “something that everybody should be concerned about.”

Axios reports a person was confirmed positive with the virus in Massachusetts, New York and “roughly a half dozen other cases” are “being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

 

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