HHS Could Be Breaking the Law
The Trump administration’s Dept. of Health and Human Services is blocking the public from viewing over 10,500 comments submitted in response to its proposed “faith-based” rule that would affect healthcare access for transgender patients, and access to abortion services. Under President Trump, HHS is trying to provide religious or “faith-based” organizations with special rights, a religious exemption, to allow them to discriminate based on a claim of religious belief.Â
By law, federal agencies are required to have a public comments period and are required to view those comments and make them public when considering a rule change. TheÂ Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 helps ensure appropriate checks on federal agencies.
But according to Politico, HHS “has instead posted 80 comments â€” less than 1 percent of all submissions â€” that overwhemingly back the administrationâ€™s anti-abortion policies or attack regulations advanced by the Obama administration, such as a rule forcing health care providers that accept federal funding to provide services to transgender patients.”
The Hill explains the HHS proposal “would remove regulations for religious groups ‘in order for these institutions to participate in HHS-funded or regulated programs.'” It’s one more brazen attempt by the Trump administration to remove the wall separating church and state.
The Trump administration has moved to remove regulations on religious groups. Trump officialsÂ rolled backÂ the ObamaCare contraception mandate earlier this year, but a federal judgeÂ blockedÂ the repeal last week.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State’sÂ Alison Tanner tells Politico that if HHS doesn’t do an about face and make all 10,729Â comments accessible to the public, “there may be grounds” for anÂ Administrative Procedure Act “challenge for whatever rule comes out of the process.”
In other words, Americans United, which has already filed a Freedom of Information Act request, may take HHS to court, and could win a block on the new HHS rule.
“What HHS is really asking for, is how the agency needs to change its rules to allow religiously affiliated organizations to discriminate with government funds, against who they hire and serve and in what services they provide,”Â AmericansÂ United said in a blog post last month.
The HHS “faith-based” proposal, Politico notes, “represents a top priority of religious groups that have chafed under regulations such as the 2016 Obama administration directive on serving transgender patients. HHS chose to repeatedly highlight comments that attacked that regulation.”
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‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion
It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.
“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.
“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”
“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”
Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”
“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”
University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”
Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case
Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.
Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.
The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”
The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.
“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims
President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.
Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”
President Biden on whether he plans to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) when he goes to Florida:
“I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.” pic.twitter.com/nJvW9kKH7T
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.
President Biden says he’s had good conversations with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) about Hurricane Ian aid:
“He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had, he told me how much he appreciated it … This is not about … our disagreements politically.” pic.twitter.com/SymBlqG75X
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.
President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.
But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”
“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”
Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.
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