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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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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