Pennsylvania federal judge rules transgender students can use bathroom of choice

Pennsylvania federal judge rules transgender students can use bathroom of choice

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday in favor of three transgender students at Pine-Richland High School [official website] and ordered the school district to allow students to use the bathroom of their choice. Judge Mark Hornak granted a preliminary injunction to the students as they sought to stop the school district’s new policy that was adopted in September to provide sex-specific bathrooms or single-user bathrooms. The complaint [text, PDF] alleged a violation of the students’ civil rights. Hornak ruled that the students had a reasonable claim under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment but not on a Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 claim at this time.

Anti-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a controversial issue in recent months. North Carolina has been of particular focus due to their so-called “bathroom bill” (HB2) [text, PDF] that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms according to the sex listed on their birth certificate. Earlier this week North Carolina lawmakers filed [JURIST report] a bipartisan bill aimed at breaking the impasse over the bill. Also this week, the US Supreme Court asked [JURIST report] both sides of the Gloucester County School Board case to submit letters discussing how the case should proceed in light of the Trump administration’s revocation of the Obama-era guidance on school transgender bathroom policies.

Federal appeals court allows immigration order appeal to proceed

Federal appeals court allows immigration order appeal to proceed

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday denied [order, PDF] a request to stay the appeal regarding President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration executive order [text]. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] requested [JURIST report] a hold on the court proceedings until Trump issues a new order on immigration. Minnesota and Washington opposed the request, claiming that the Trump administration has stated that the standing executive order will not be rescinded, and that the government plans to defend the order in court. The court sided with the states, denying the DOJ’s request without explanation or opinion. The court did extend the briefing schedule in the appeals case, giving until the end of March for mandatory briefs to be filed.

Earlier this month the appeals court upheld [JURIST report] a lower court decision issuing a stay on the executive orders pending proceedings. Trump’s executive order has faced numerous legal challenges across the country. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued [JURIST report] Trump over the immigration order in late January. Days later, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] accusing the Trump administration of violating the religious freedom of nationals from the seven nations named in the order. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals received two separate filings [JURIST report] from officials in the public and private sectors who oppose the executive order.

gun rights advocates can publish lawmakers’ information

Federal judge: gun rights advocates can publish lawmakers’ information

[JURIST] Gun rights advocates are allowed to publish personal information, such as addresses and telephone numbers, of legislators who voted in favor of California’s recent gun control laws, a federal judge ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday. Chief Judge Lawrence O’Neill of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California [official website] issued a preliminary injunction against California Government Code § 6254.21(c) [text, PDF], which is being challenged by the Firearms Policy Coalition [advocacy website]. The statute allows public officials to make a written demand that their personal information not be displayed if they are being threatened or fear for the safety. The court found that the factors necessary to grant a preliminary injunction were present: “For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that § 6254.21(c) violates the First Amendment as applied to them, and also violates the dormant Commerce Clause as applied to Hoskins. The Court further finds that the remaining preliminary injunction factors weigh in Plaintiffs’ favor.”

Gun control remains a divisive issue [JURIST op-ed], according to Allen Rostron [official profile] of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law [official website]. In February the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that Maryland’s assault weapons ban is constitutional. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh District earlier this month overturned Florida’s 2011 Firearms Owners’ Privacy Act (FOPA), also referred to as the “Docs vs. Glocks” law. Also in February the US Senate voted [JURIST report] to reverse an Obama-era gun regulation that required mental health information to be shared with the national gun background check system. The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved [JURIST report] a bill [SB 12 text] that would repeal the law prohibiting state citizens from carrying concealed firearms without a permit.

Bangladesh passes law allowing some child marriages

Bangladesh passes law allowing some child marriages

[JURIST] The Bangladesh Parliament [official website] on Monday passed revisions to the Child Marriage Restraint Act [materials], allowing girls under the age of 18 to be married under “special circumstances.” The revisions do not change [Malay Mail Online report] the minimum marriage age requirements set in 1929. Instead, they designate a committee of local officials to review individual cases of underage marriage and determine whether they may be approved by the court. According to officials, the new law gives pregnant girls a legal escape from social ridicule. Rights groups have argued, however, that the law may further enable [NYT report] families to arrange child marriages. According to reported studies, marriages have rarely been arranged as a result of pregnancies. Advocacy groups such as Plan International [official website] have claimed that the law already properly discouraged arranged marriages and did not require revision. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has previously stressed that such changes send a dangerous message the government permits child marriages. According to some critics the revisions were intended to appeal to the Islamist conservative electorate. Islamist groups have thus far praised the law, claiming that it aligns with religious traditions. Amidst these legal changes, Bangladesh still has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world.

In recent years the practice of child marriage has been criticized internationally. Last July officials in Gambia and Tanzania banned the practice of child marriage [JURIST report]. In November the Guatemalan Congress approved legislation [JURIST report] to raise to legal age for marriage to 18. In April of last year Malawi raised the minimum marriage age to 18 [JURIST report] for both boys and girls. The move came after HRW called on Malawi to end the practice [JURIST report], detailing how child marriage exposes girls to domestic and sexual violence. In 2014 Bangladeshi officials approved [JURIST report] the Child Marriage Prevention Act of 2014, requiring a two-year jail term for any person who marries a girl under the age of 18.

VA Hospital Abuse Images Go Viral: ‘He Was in so Much Pain’

VA Hospital Abuse Images Go Viral: ‘He Was in so Much Pain’


Few federal garbage fires burn as brightly as Veterans Affairs hospitals. The throughly dysfunctional way medical care is provided to U.S. veterans has been one of the few points of agreement among Democrats and Republicans in recent years. Fixing the broken system was one of President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises.

The problem came into stark relief with a photo from a Veterans Affairs hospital in Durham, North Carolina that was shared on Facebook by Hanna McMenamin. Since it was posted Saturday, the image, and accompanying description, have been shared more than 110,000 times.

Also on Mediaite Here’s The Stephen A. Smith General Hospital Cameo The World Totally Needs Right Now

Yesterday (2/24/17) while at the Durham, NC VA Hospital, my husband Stephen McMenamin and I witnessed some very disturbing events. The man in the wheelchair on the left, were waiting in that waiting room at least 3 hours. The man bent over grabbing the chair, was yelling in pain and was borderline convulsing and almost falling out of his chair he was in so much pain. No one paid him any attention until I approached a nurse to please check on him. This gentleman sat in the waiting room in extreme pain for hours upon hours with very little attention paid to him.

McMenamin accused staff of being callous and unresponsive to the man’s concerns.

See below to read the lengthy Facebook post:

McMenamin was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but in an update to her original post, said that the Department of Veterans Affairs had reached out to her and demanded she remove the post.

For their part, the VA reaffirmed their commitment to veterans.

“It is an honor to serve America’s heroes and actions that do not align with our core values will not be tolerated,” DeAnne Seekins, the director of the medical center said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care to the Veterans we serve and being responsive to our patient’s needs. Veterans deserve nothing less.”

Trump signed off on plan to check White House staffers’ cell phones

Report: Trump signed off on plan to check White House staffers’ cell phones

U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly attempting to find out how information is being leaked from inside the White House and has signed off on a plan to check the cell phones of White House aides. However, the White House press secretary claimed that Trump was not involved in the decision.

Feb 28, 2017, 9:15AM Becca Noy

image description Trump Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

U.S. President Donald Trump decided late last night (Monday) to sign off on White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s plan to check the cell phones of aides in the White House in order to make sure that they are not leaking information to journalists, multiple sources told CNN. The decision is reportedly supposed to send a clear message that Trump is furious at leaks from within the White House.

According to the decision, the phones of White House staffers will be checked in order to determine whether the aides have been communicating with journalists. The sources added that Trump also signed off on Spicer’s decision to prevent reporters from certain news agencies from entering a press conference on Friday.

Spicer rejected the reports about Trump’s involvement in the decisions. “[Trump] did not sign off or even know what I did,” Spicer said. “That is not accurate.”

“I don’t believe he even knew there was a gaggle and in no way was it discussed with him or any other staffer,” he added.