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Federal Judge Uses Hobby Lobby to Support ‘Religious Beliefs’ Rights Against Transgender Employee

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Judge Rules Funeral Home Which Operates as a ‘Ministry’ Was Legally Entitled to Fire Transgender Employee

A federal judge has ruled a Michigan funeral home did not break the law when it fired a transgender woman two weeks after she told them in a letter she intended to transition. The funeral home operates as a “ministry,” and claimed retaining the employee would have violated its “sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

In his ruling U.S. District Judge Sean Cox (photo) stated point-blank: “Significantly, neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes under Title VII,” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Cox based his decision on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby case, which ruled some small businesses that are privately owned to violate federal nondiscrimination laws when citing their “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” Judge Cox ruled against the employee and the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in favor of RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes Inc.

The funeral home “said it had a religious right to fire Stephens and that she was also biologically male and violated a dress code requiring men to wear suits,” the AP reports, adding that Judge “Cox agreed on Thursday with Harris on both points. The company’s owner, Thomas Rost, is a devout Christian whose life’s work stems from his religious beliefs, including that shunning one’s biological sex is an affront to God, the judge wrote.”

The owner of Harris Funeral Homes “admits that he fired” employee Amiee Stephens because she “intended to ‘dress as a woman’ while at work,” Cox’s ruling reads. Judge Cox added, as The Detroit Free Press reports “that forcing the funeral home owner to do otherwise ‘would impose a substantial burden on its ability to conduct business in accordance with its sincerely-held religious beliefs.'”

“Rost operates the funeral home as a ministry to serve grieving families while they endure some of the most difficult and trying times in their lives,” Cox sympathtically ruled.

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund executive director Jillian Weiss warned that under Cox’s ruling, “People could be forced to conform to outmoded masculine and feminine stereotypes in order to keep their jobs.” The funeral home was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.

Judge Cox, a member of the right-wing Federalist Society was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2004 but was not confirmed for nearly to years due to objections of both of Michigan’s Democratic U.S. Senators.

 

Image: Screenshot via YouTube

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Bill Barr Has Talked to Jan. 6 Committee Says Chairman

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Bill Barr, the former Attorney General who served as then-President Donald Trump’s top protector, has spoken with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), asked by CBS News about a bombshell draft executive order directing the Secretary of Defense to seize voting machines after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, said: “We’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals.”

“We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false,” Thompson said Sunday morning on “Face the Nation.”

“So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know. We’ve never had that before.”

The draft memo was never formalized or enacted, and it is unknown who wrote it, but it was part of a massive, hard-fought document collection given to the Jan. 6 Committee by the National Archives after the Supreme Court refused to block its release. Trump tried for months to keep his official White House records from being released.

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News

Trump Instructed Michael Cohen to Make Sure Don Jr. Went to Jail Instead of Ivanka

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According to a report from Business Insider, Michael Cohen admitted on Saturday that Donald Trump instructed him in 2012 to make sure that Don Trump Jr. be the one to take the fall instead of Ivanka Trump during an investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney into lying about property sales.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Cohen recalled that the former president was concerned about Ivanka’s well-being if she was sentenced to jail and that Don Jr. would handle it better.

According to the report, Cohen told the MSNBC host, “You may recall that there was the district attorney’s case here for Trump Soho where it was either Don or Ivanka was in very big trouble as a result of lying about the number of units that had been sold.”

RELATED: ’She took that West Wing office!’: Ivanka Trump blasted for trying to ‘blow off’ Jan. 6 probe

“And Donald said it to me – I mean I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t said directly to me – he goes ‘if one or the other has to go to prison, make sure that it’s Don because Don would be able to handle it, ” he continued.

Cohen later said that he doesn’t expect Ivanka to willingly appear before the House committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection and claimed the first daughter would likely plead the 5th before explaining, “Ivanka is only interested in Ivanka.”

You can read more here.

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CRIME

Trumps Could ‘Turn on One Another’ as Investigations ‘Go Up the Food Chain’: MSNBC Analyst

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Former president Donald Trump and his family are facing “existential” threats from ongoing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, according to MSNBC political analyst and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.

“I think you’re going to start to see this vice squeeze in,” O’Brien said Saturday. “The Trumps will happily throw underlings under the bus as this gets hotter. I think the question is whether or not the family members will turn on one another as it goes up the food chain.”

“The Manhattan DA’s case has existential consequences to it,” O’Brien added. “Donald Trump and perhaps his children could end up in orange jumpsuits if that case goes the full route. That’s not going to be the case with (New York AG) Letitia James’ prosecution, that’s a civil case. I also think the Georgia case has an existential threat. Donald Trump acting like a 19th-century ward heeler, called up the secretary of state and said find me some votes, and there’s proof of that, there’s evidence.”

Watch the full interview below.

 

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