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BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Sides With Transgender Teen, Upholds Protections in Historic Ruling

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Ruling Could Impact North Carolina’s HB2

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that federal civil rights laws include transgender people in cases involving education discrimination. The 2-1 ruling is in a Title IX case involving a Virginia transgender boy suing for the right to use the boys’ restrooms at his school. It affirms the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX, that discrimination against transgender people is sex discrimination, and reverses an earlier dismissal of the student’s claim, as Equality Case Files notes in this excerpt:

The ruling allows the Virginia teen’s case to move forward, the Washington Post reports.

The Department of Education’s “interpretation resolves ambiguity by providing that in the case of a transgender individual using a sex-segregated facility, the individual’s sex as male or female is to be generally determined by reference to the student’s gender identity,” Judge Henry Floyd wrote.

It is a major ruling, and as ThinkProgress’  notes, “North Carolina is in the Fourth Circuit,” which means today’s ruling is a huge blow to anti-LGBT law HB2.

Researcher Dr. Gary Gates tweeted that the ruling “likely means” HB2 “is on the way out.”

Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed notes that today the “court did not, however, grant the preliminary injunction the student, Gavin Grimm, sought, instead sending the case back to the district court to reconsider his request. The appeals court also declined to reassign the case to another judge at this time.”

Last fall the Obama administration offered historic support for the transgender student in the case, referred to as “G.G.” in court documents, filing an amicus brief supporting his right to use the boys’ restroom.

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

DOJ Unveils Proposal That Would Make It Harder for Twitter and Facebook to Block Trump’s Dangerous Posts

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice has released a draft of its proposal to change federal law, making it harder – and possibly illegal – for tech companies and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to remove, delete, or otherwise block or interfere with content it deems dangerous or objectionable.

President Donald Trump for years has falsely claimed tech giants are censoring conservatives and giving preferential treatment to liberals. Recently, Twitter and even Facebook have appended warning or information labels to some of his more dangerous posts, and in rare cases removed them – as they have done for years to other users.

Attorney General Barr has been working to alter Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites and their owners from liability over content they host – such as readers’ comments – and allows them to make decisions as to what they remove or block based on what those sites and platforms consider objectionable.

Calling Barr’s draft “a rare, legislative proposal,” The Washington Post reports were it to become law, it would allow the federal government to “police” website owners and tech companies’ actions.

“For years, President Trump and other top Republicans have attacked tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter for censoring conservatives online, something the U.S. government now may have the ability to police if the Justice Department’s proposal were to become law.”

For example, yesterday nine of the top 10 posts on Facebook were from Republicans or far right conservatives.

“The White House,” the Washington Post continues, “has offered little proof for its claims, and tech companies strongly deny them — while Democratic lawmakers contend the administration should focus instead on hate speech, extremism and election disinformation that spreads virally on the Internet.”

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Barr to Be Honored for ‘Christlike Behavior’ Today With Award From Right Wing Catholic Group With Strong Ties to Trump

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Attorney General Bill Barr will be honored for his “Christlike behavior” at Wednesday’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, according to Roman Catholic Sister, author, and anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean.

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast says Barr will be presented with its Christifideles Laici Award during today’s 16th annual prayer event.

“In Honor and Gratitude for Fidelity to the Church, Exemplary Selfless and Steadfast Service in the Lord’s Vineyard,” are the words inscribed on the award.

The event is being sponsored by several groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

President Donald Trump is expected to address the group today during its virtual ceremony.

Among the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast’s founders are Pat Cipollone, President Trump’s White House Counsel; former Republican Senator Rick Santorum; and Joseph Cella, President Trump’s Ambassador to Fiji, and a former Trump transition team member who co-founded the right wing activist group Catholic Vote.

Another founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is Austin Ruse, the president of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM).

Perhaps the most notable founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is the group’s president, conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo.

Leo also serves as co-chairman of the Federalist Society, the far right group responsible for promoting the illegitimate belief that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted by judges according to how the nation’s founders thought.

President Trump, for the first time in history, has effectively farmed out the approval process for federal court judges and even Supreme Court justices he nominates, to the Federalist Society.

The award to Barr is being condemned by notable Catholics, including Sister Prejean, and Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large at America magazine.

 

 

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POLITICIZING A PANDEMIC

Trump Calls on FDA to Fast-Track Coronavirus Vaccine Approvals

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly called on the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approvals of coronavirus vaccines after a fourth American drug company’s COVID-19 vaccine entered the final clinical trials stage. The call came just one day after the U.S. saw its 200,000 coronavirus death.

Big news,” Trump tweeted. “Numerous great companies are seeing fantastic results. @FDA must move quickly!”

Trump then retweeted other tweets praising the Johnson & Johnson drug trial.

Many see Trump’s actions as inappropriate pressure on what is supposed to be an independent, non-partisan federal agency, and some see them as dangerous.

A Washington Post reporter noted the FDA on Tuesday said it was raising the bar on coronavirus vaccine approvals.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday issued a draconian order hamstringing the FDA and requiring all moves to be approved by him.

Here’s former Obama Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel, issuing a warning:

 

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