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Ken Paxton, Lawyers for Parents of Trans Kids Disagree on Whether Child Abuse Investigations Can Continue

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Ken Paxton, lawyers for parents of trans kids disagree on whether child abuse investigations can continue” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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For LGBTQ mental health support, call the Trevor Project’s 24/7 toll-free support line at 866-488-7386. You can also reach a trained crisis counselor through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 800-273-8255 or texting 741741.

When a judge ruled Friday that Texas could not investigate parents for child abuse simply for providing gender-affirming care, it was immediately clear that the legal fight was far from over.

That same night, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal and then announced on Twitter that the “Democrat judge’s order permitting child abuse is frozen.”

He said that “[m]uch-needed investigations [will] proceed as they should,” and noted that his “fight will continue up to the Supreme Court.”

Lawyers representing the families of transgender children said they don’t believe the appeal should affect the injunction.

Legal experts say this case falls into a complicated corner of the law until the appeals court weighs in.

This case stemmed from a nonbinding legal opinion that Paxton issued last month, arguing that certain gender-affirming health care can constitute child abuse. Gov. Greg Abbott followed that with an order directing the state’s child welfare agency to investigate parents who provide this health care to their transgender children.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of one such family. On Friday, District Judge Amy Clark Meachum blocked the Department of Family and Protective Services from investigating families solely on the basis of providing this health care to their children.

Two lawyers representing families under investigation told The Texas Tribune that they are proceeding as if the injunction is still in effect and, as a result, have directed their clients to no longer participate in the investigations.

In a statement, a spokesperson for DFPS said that the agency’s “posture on these investigations is that we are continuing to follow the law.” The spokesperson declined to elaborate about whether the investigations are ongoing or are halted as a result of the injunction.

Paxton’s office did not respond to a request for comment, but the appeal he filed relies on an argument that would allow for an automatic stay in all trial court proceedings.

“It’s up to the court of appeals to decide whether to reinstate the impact of the injunction,” said South Texas College of Law Houston professor Rocky Rhodes. “It’s not automatic, but I think that [the ACLU and Lambda Legal] will have a very strong case to have it reinstated.”

But lawyers have challenged these automatic stays before, claiming the state should not be able to overturn an injunction simply by filing an appeal. Attorney Chad Dunn represented the Texas Democratic Party in a case on mail-in voting in which Paxton made a similar argument.

“That would be an extraordinary rule,” Dunn said. “That is not the rule in federal court or other states that I’m familiar with, that you get an injunction against the state and they can just effectively ignore it until there’s been an appeal completed.”

Dunn said he has seen this argument appear only in recent years, and neither the state’s courts appeals courts or the Texas Supreme Court has definitively affirmed that the state has a right to overturn these injunctions.

“In the cases I’m familiar with, the Court of Appeals has either just glossed over this question or they just say … we’re empowered to issue injunctions, so we’re going to issue the same injunction and keep it in place until such time as we decide the appeal,” he said.

If the Court of Appeals grants similar relief, Rhodes said, that will remain in effect even if the case is appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, as Paxton has said it will be.

The Third Court of Appeals likely will issue an order soon.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/03/14/transgender-child-abuse-paxton-appeal/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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Fox News Chief Lachlan Murdoch to Be Deposed in $1.6 Billion Dominion Defamation Case

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Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman and CEO of Fox News‘ parent company, Fox Corporation, is set to be deposed next week in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. Dominion Voting Systems, which manufactures voting machines, claims the eldest Murdoch son and his father, Rupert Murdoch, have responsibility in Fox News promoting pro-Trump false election fraud claims it says has caused its company harm.

Murdoch is “scheduled to face questions from Dominion’s lawyers on Monday in Los Angeles, according to multiple reports, and will be the highest-ranking official at Fox to be deposed by Dominion,” The Hill reports.

Fox News propagandists Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have already faced Dominion’s attorneys.

READ MORE: Tucker Carlson’s ‘Nakedly Fascist Propaganda’ Leads to Resignations, Internal Outrage, Public Fury – and a Silent Murdoch

After a federal judge in June ruled the case could move forward, Law & Crime explained, “Dominion’s lawsuit contends that Rupert and his son Lachlan Murdoch personally caused Fox News to broadcast false claims about their role in the 2020 election, even though the Murdochs knew former President Donald Trump’s election fraud narrative was false.”

Rupert Murdoch reportedly spoke with Donald Trump just days after the 2020 presidential election to tell him he had lost.

Judge Eric M. Davis ruled there is “a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion.”

READ MORE: Fox News Corporate Chief Shrugs Off Complaints of Network’s White Nationalism: ‘Comes With the Territory’

“Dominion has successfully brought home actual malice to the individuals at Fox Corporation who it claims to be responsible for the broadcasts,” Judge Davis added, Law & Crime reported.

A federal judge has rejected Fox News’ First Amendment defense. The case is expected to be argued before a jury early next year.

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82-Year-Old Black Woman Arrested and Handcuffed by Alabama Police Over $77 Unpaid Trash Bill

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Martha Menefield, an 82-year-old Black woman in Valley, Alabama, had police officers show up to her home on Sunday and arrest her for failing to pay a $77 trash bill, CBS42 reports.

Menefield told CBS42 that she thought the bill had already been paid, “but they said it hadn’t.”

“And the cuffs,” she said, her eyes swelling with tears. “They’re so heavy.”

When the officer told her not to cry, Menefield asked him, “How would you feel if they came and arrested your grandmama?”

IN OTHER NEWS: Pennsylvania Republicans change their tune on mail-in voting after getting pasted twice in a row

“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” Menefield said, her voice shaking. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed. And it’s been bothering me.”

In a post on the city’s social media account, Valley’s police chief defended the arrest.

“City of Valley Code Enforcement Officers issued Ms. Menefield a citation in August of 2022 for non-payment for trash services for the months of June, July, and August,” Chief Mike Reynolds’ statement said. “Prior to issuing the citation, Code Enforcement tried to call Ms. Menefield several times and attempted to contact her in person at her residence. When contact could not be made, a door hanger was left at her residence. The hanger contained information on the reason for the visit and a name and contact phone number for her to call. The citation advised Ms. Menefield that she was to appear in court on September 7, 2022, in reference to this case. A warrant for Failure to Pay-Trash was issued when she did not appear in court.”

Since the arrest, Menefield has been thinking about the role of God in her life.

“I’ve been questioning God a little bit,” she said. “I guess cause I’ve been so upset. I had a daycare here for eight years, and I’ve been asking the Lord. I say ‘Why did this happen to me as much as I’ve done for people, Lord? I’ve paid my tithes every Sunday. I ushered at church. I was just questioning. Something’s just not right.”

Read the full report over at CBS42.

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Right Wing Social Media Platform Parler Announces Kanye West Will No Longer Buy It in ‘Interest of Both Parties’

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After Kanye West‘s antisemitic and racist remarks last month, which led to him being deplatformed by Twitter and Instagram, the extremist artist and rapper announced he was purchasing the right wing “free speech” social media platform Parler, which performs little content moderation.

On Thursday, hours after West went on far right extremist and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show and praised Adolf Hitler, Parler issued a statement saying by mutual agreement West would not be purchasing the platform.

But the Parler statement, which came from its parent company, also claimed the decision had been made weeks ago.

“In response to numerous media inquiries, Parlement Technologies would like to confirm that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” Parler said on Twitter. “This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.”

READ MORE: ‘This Is Nazism’: Americans Outraged After Kanye West Praises Hitler – ‘This Is Not a Clown Show. It’s Dangerous’

On Thursday, stunning many, West told Alex Jones, “I see good things about Hitler,” as Consequence reported. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.” 

When West had agreed to purchase Parler, he stated, “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”

CNBC reported last month that “Parler, which initially launched in 2018, was swept up in controversy last year over the role it played in the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol building. That led a slew of tech companies, including Google and Amazon, to blacklist the service, rendering its app and website inaccessible.”

READ MORE: Matt Gaetz ‘Wingman’ Joel Greenberg Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison – Attorney ‘Disappointed’ Others Not Prosecute

Parler’s CEO is George Farmer, who is married to far right commentator Candace Owens. Owens several years ago had her own Hitler-praising scandal.

Owens, promoting nationalism, told young supporters in London, “Whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler.”

“But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalise. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism.”

Hitler was responsible for the slaughter of up to 17 million people.

 

Image via Tinseltown / Shutterstock

 

 

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