Judge to rule on lawsuit seeking refund of St. Louis earnings taxes paid by remote workers during pandemic

A St. Louis circuit court judge is deciding if taxpayers living outside the city and working remotely due to the pandemic can file a lawsuit to reclaim city earnings taxes.

Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh on Wednesday heard arguments by attorneys for St. Louis Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly. They cited Missouri tax law stating taxpayers must file individual lawsuits to seek any refund. Attorneys representing taxpayers argued the city changed its earnings tax refund forms to exclude teleworkers without any legislative approval.

“They changed the law without a change in the law,” Mark Milton, a lawyer for the taxpayers, told KMOX radio. “The executive branch changed the law without a change by the legislature.”

Milton and attorney Bevis Schock created stlrefund.com , a website to help workers who didn’t live in the city in 2020 but whose employers withheld the city’s 1% earnings tax. They seek refunds based on the days spent teleworking from locations outside the city, not including business travel days.

Prior to the pandemic, if a non-resident worked some days outside the city – whether teleworking from home or traveling for business – the employee could apply for a refund for the amount based on days worked outside St. Louis. But in tax year 2020, the city changed its policy and forms to only allow earnings tax refunds for travel and not allow for refunds for days spent teleworking or working outside the city.

“In short, without any change to the authorizing state statute and/or the earnings tax ordinance,” Schock and Milton’s website states, “the city now refuses to issue refunds for days spent working from locations outside the city of St. Louis, that is, teleworking – even though the work was performed or the services were rendered outside the city.”

David Luce, an attorney for the collector of revenue, said the pandemic forced changes in tax collection.

“The virtual world is not the world that’s surrounding your chair at your office,” Luce told KMOX. “It’s the virtual world that you’re entering into.”

The earnings tax provides about 36% of the city’s general revenue. Earnings tax collections dropped from $184 million in 2019 to $176 million in 2020, according to documents in the city’s fiscal year 2022 budget. Budget documents show a revised estimate of $187 million for 2021 and $178 million for 2022.

“And because people who live outside the city but work for an employer based here also pay the earnings tax, it helps distribute the cost of providing services they use as well as city residents,” St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green wrote on the department’s website as the earnings tax was being renewed by city voters. The Missouri legislature passed a law in 2010 requiring earnings taxes to be renewed by a vote every five years. The tax was renewed in April with 79% of the vote. It also was renewed in 2011 and 2016.

Kansas City is the other Missouri city with a 1% earnings tax. It was renewed in April with 77% of the vote. Media outlets reported Kansas City was processing earnings tax refunds for non-residents working remotely for businesses located in the city.

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Judge bars Biden from using COVID-19 as excuse to deport illegal immigrants

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the Biden administration can no longer cite COVID-19 to rapidly deport migrant families — despite record numbers of largely unvaccinated migrants seeking to enter the US as coronavirus patients clog hospitals and deaths mount.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that US officials can no longer cite the CDC’s Title 42 health order to deport families after the rule allowed for the swift deportation of nearly 1 million people.

The judge wrote that “in view of the wide availability of testing, vaccines, and other minimization measures, the Court is not convinced that the transmission of COVID-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated.”

Sullivan added: “Indeed, the government has successfully implemented mitigation measures with regard to processing unaccompanied minors in order to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

Pro-immigration advocates cheered the ruling. Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told CNN, “President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy long ago, and the court was correct to reject it today.”

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan said government officials can’t use Title 42 to deport immigrants.
John Moore/Getty Images

The Title 42 policy was first adopted by the Trump administration last year, but was continued by Biden administration officials as illegal crossings surged this year. President Biden made an exception for the large number of unaccompanied children coming from Central America.

The order doesn’t prohibit the Biden administration from citing Title 42 to expel single adults.

Sullivan is best-known for refusing the Justice Department’s request last year to stop the prosecution of former national security advisor Mike Flynn after the DOJ said FBI agent Peter Strzok had no valid basis to interview Flynn about calls with Russia’s ambassador. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying about those calls, but later sought to withdraw his plea, saying he did not intentionally lie.

Then-President Trump pardoned Flynn while Sullivan resisted dropping the case.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott seated next to Carlos J. Cardenas M.D. during the announcement of DHR Health's Level 1 Trauma Center designation and ceremonially signed Senate Bill 827 into law in Edinburg, Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott is looking to close paths of entries for migrants as thousands have surged toward the border this year.
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP

Republicans have urged the Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place and administration attorneys defended the policy in court.

The ruling was announced shortly after Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday said he will attempt to close entry points at the Mexican border so the state won’t be overrun — as a crowd of more than 8,200 people, including many fleeing Haiti, amassed under a bridge ​in Del Rio, Texas, waiting to be arrested by Border Patrol agents.

Data released Thursday indicate that for two straight months – July and August – border detentions surpassed 200,000, despite Biden’s insistent that a Spring surge in illegal crossings reflected a seasonal bump.

Republicans argue that Biden administration policies are to blame for the surge in migration — a stance also taken by Guatemala’s president as well as Mexico’s president.

Biden was vice president to President Barack Obama — called the “Deporter in Chief” by immigration advocates — but campaigned on welcoming asylum seekers. Biden has called on Congress to legalize most illegal immigrants and stopped construction of Trump’s US-Mexico border wall.

Migrants who are part of a caravan heading north, cheer after passing a checkpoint along the Huehuetan highway.
Migrants who are part of a caravan heading north, cheer after passing a checkpoint along the Huehuetan highway.
Marco Ugarte/AP

The Biden administration already eased up on quickly deporting family units. In August, more than 70,000 migrant families were allowed into the US and about 16,000 were expelled, according to US Customs and Border Protection data cited by CNN.

Although the new ruling forbids the use of the COVID-19 policy to deport families, a different federal court ruling may mute its effect. The Supreme Court last month ruled that the Biden administration improperly scrapped Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy that required most asylum seekers to remain in Mexico and wait for US courts to review their claims of persecution.

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Judge Ruling Prevents Abbott From Closing Planned Entry Points Along Southern Border

A ruling from a federal judge on Thursday led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to abandon his plan to close six entry points on the southern border amid a surge of migrants,  the El Paso Times reported.

The U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia blocked President Joe Biden from turning away migrant families with children under 18, citing a health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the El Paso Times reported. The order will take effect in 14 days.

Abbott announced Thursday he had directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to close six entry points along the southern border in a statement obtained by Fox News.

“The sheer negligence of the Biden Administration to do their job and secure the border is appalling,” Abbott said in the statement. “I have directed the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to surge personnel and vehicles to shut down six points of entry along the southern border to stop these caravans from overrunning our state.”

“The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos,” he added. “Unlike President Biden, the State of Texas remains committed to securing our border and protecting Americans.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Victor Escalon said earlier on Thursday that all Del Rio, Texas entry points would be shut down due to the massive amounts of migrants there, CNN reported.

“Six, seven days ago, Del Rio saw 400 migrants sitting, underneath the bridge, the (point of entry) in downtown Del Rio … there’s about 6,000 sitting there right now and more are coming,” Escalon said, CNN reported.

Abbott released a statement reversing his decision hours later, blaming the Biden administration for having “flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border.”

“I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings,” he added.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told the Texas Tribune on Thursday it has no plans to shut down any of the ports. (RELATED: Rescue Crews Struggle Emotionally And Physically To Retrieve Migrant Remains In West Texas)

“The Border Patrol is increasing its manpower in the Del Rio Sector and coordinating efforts within [the Department of Homeland Security] and other relevant federal, state and local partners to immediately address the current level of migrant encounters and to facilitate a safe, humane and orderly process,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to the Tribune.

“To prevent injuries from heat-related illness, the shaded area underneath Del Rio International Bridge is serving as a temporary staging site while migrants wait to be taken into USBP custody,” he added.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Judge Blocks Expelling Migrants COVID Health Order

A member of the Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue Unit speaks with migrants from Central America who were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents after crossing into the United States from Mexico in Sunland Park, N.M., July 15, 2021. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that the Biden administration may not expel migrants under a Title 42 public health order.

Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the ruling, which will not take effect for another 14 days. Under the Title 42 policy implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, border agents were authorized to immediately expel migrants back into Mexico in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“In view of the wide availability of testing, vaccines, and other minimization measures, the Court is not convinced that the transmission of COVID-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated,” Sullivan wrote in his ruling. “Indeed, the government has successfully implemented mitigation measures with regard to processing unaccompanied minors in order to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

The Title 42 policy was initially instituted under the Trump administration at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and continued during the Biden administration. Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March that the administration would exempt young children from expulsion under the order.

Border patrol agents recorded 208,887 migrant encounters at the southern border in August. Agents apprehended 212,672 migrants in July, marking the first time in 21 years that the monthly number of migrant encounters rose above 200,000.

Roughly one million migrants have crossed the southern border illegally since January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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DHS must stop using pandemic to expel border migrants, judge rules

A federal judge issued an injunction Thursday blocking the government’s use of pandemic powers to immediately expel illegal immigrants who jump the border, dealing a severe blow to President Biden’s hopes of stemming the border surge.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued a 14-day stay of his ruling, giving the administration a chance to seek intervention by a higher court, though that move would be fraught with political consequences.

The judge said the expulsion powers — known as Title 42— go beyond what Congress intended. He said the challengers, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are likely to succeed in a full proceeding, so an injunction is appropriate now.

“Here, the Title 42 Process deprives Plaintiffs and the proposed class members of an opportunity to seek humanitarian protections under the asylum and withholding of removal statutes,” the judge ruled.

Title 42 is a public health order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which says that unauthorized border crossers heighten the risk of spread of COVID-19, and can be blocked from being “introduced” into the country.

The Trump administration triggered Title 42 at the start of the pandemic and the Biden team, despite intense pressure from immigrant-rights activists, has kept it in place. 

Those activists argued that people who were entitled to protection in the U.S., such as asylum-seekers, were blocked from even making their claims.

“President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy long ago, and the court was correct to reject it today,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s immigrant rights project.

If the ruling stands, it would put a major dent in the administration’s efforts. More than 46% of all border jumpers in August were expelled under the Title 42 powers. Of those that weren’t expelled, about half were caught and released into communities.

During the Trump administration, more than 90% of border crossers during the pandemic were expelled using Title 42.

Judge Sullivan rejected the government’s argument that canceling Title 42 would be a “pull factor,” enticing more people to make the journey.

He pointed to the administration’s own data suggesting that even though the Border Patrol was making more apprehensions, an increasing number were repeats.

Customs and Border Protection, data released this week about August border operations, said that while agents and officers recorded 208,887 unauthorized entries, that comprised just 156,641 unique people.

The Biden administration had reportedly been looking to end Title 42 powers earlier this year, but an unprecedented surge of illegal immigration put that idea on ice as the administration struggled for other answers.

Instead it has shifted toward a get-tough policy, announcing an expansion of speedy deportation powers and flights to send illegal immigrants deeper into Mexico to prevent them immediately trying again.

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Federal Judge Sides With DeSantis on Mask Mandate Ban

On Sept. 15, a Miami federal judge handed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a victory when he ruled against the parents of students with disabilities in a lawsuit over public school mask mandates.

Twelve parents from eight Florida school districts whose children have special needs sued the governor and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) over a DeSantis executive order (pdf) that allows parents to opt-out of student face coverings. The school boards of the Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Miami-Dade, and Volusia school districts were also named in the suit for implementing the governor’s order. The federal suit argued that their children were at elevated risk of becoming ill or dying from COVID-19 if other children came to school without facial coverings.

In Judge K. Michael Moore’s decision, he denied the parents’ request for a preliminary injunction against the July-issued executive order, which was the catalyst for the Florida Department of Health to issue a rule (pdf) requiring school districts to allow parents to opt-out of any student mask mandates. Thus far, 13 school districts have defied the governor’s order. Two counties, Broward and Alachua, have been fined for non-compliance, while others are under investigation by FDOE.

Moore found that the parents hadn’t exhausted all “remedies” at their respective schools to accommodate their children’s needs before bringing a lawsuit.

One of the attorneys for the parents, Matthew Dietz, said he isn’t sure if an appeal will be filed and hoped that the Biden administration would step in and bring forth some sort of remedy instead.

“We are disappointed in the decision of the court and are evaluating our options at this point,” Dietz said in an emailed statement. “We would hope and expect federal education officials and the U.S. Department of Justice will weigh in on the rights of children with disabilities to be safely integrated into their local schools.”

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced a grant program that provides funding for school districts in Florida (and elsewhere) that lose money for issuing “anti-coronavirus practices,” such as mask mandates. State officials were warned by the federal agency that they would be investigating whether the state’s ban on mask mandates violates federal civil rights laws that protect students with disabilities.

In the past, DeSantis has insisted that the new Parents Bill of Rights law gives parents the authority to decide whether their children should wear face coverings to school.

The offices of the governor and the FDOE didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time.

Jannis Falkenstern is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Florida.

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Ilhan Omar bashes judge block of vote to get rid of Minneapolis PD

Anti-police Rep. Ilhan Omar railed against a Minneapolis judge’s decision to block a local ballot measure that would have pushed for removing the city police department — replacing it with a department of public safety. 

On Tuesday, Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson blocked Question 2 on the city’s ballot for the November election that asked voters if they wanted the city’s charter to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety, “which could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary.”

In striking down the measure, Anderson called its wording “unreasonable and misleading,” according to Fox News.

Following the decision, Omar (D-Minn.) slammed local leaders during an in-person town hall meeting, saying their actions will not go unnoticed.

“The leaders who are opposed to progress in this city are not nameless or faceless,” the Democratic congresswoman and far-left “Squad” member said. “Using your network to obstruct the kind of progress so many people in this city want and were looking forward to is not something that should go unnoticed.

The ballot measure supported by Rep. Ilhan Omar would have pushed for removing the city police department and replacing it with a department of public safety. 
Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

“We have people pouring in so much money to make us unslaved to a charter that the majority of us [oppose],” she added, saying she was “pretty upset” the measure was not on the ballot. 

Omar’s slamming of the decision comes days after it was revealed that she and other progressive members of Congress spent thousands of dollars this year on personal security as they continue to support measures in defunding the police. 

According to FEC records, Omar spent approximately $2,800 on personal security in the second quarter. However, her spending was overshadowed by Missouri’s Cori Bush, who spent nearly $70,000 of her campaign funds on personal security, in the two months between April 15 and June 28.

Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
The measure had also been endorsed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (right), who called Minneapolis’ current model for law enforcement and safety “outdated.” 
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Still, she scolded, “This is the opposite of what democracy should produce. The people had a vision for what they wanted, and there’s a judge, there’s a mayor, there is a police chief, and their monied friends who are telling us we can’t have a city that is flexible to our needs and to our demands. How else are we supposed to make progress if we can’t do that?”

Omar has continuously pushed for this and other anti-cop moves, and in an Aug. 31 op-ed said it was necessary to scrap the police department in order to end police brutality, adding that the city needs a “public safety system that is actually rooted in people’s basic human needs.” 

The measure had also been endorsed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who invoked the murder of George Floyd when calling for “the possibility for reform & accountability.” Ellison also called the city’s current model for law enforcement and safety “outdated.” 

Rep. Ilhan Omar.
“The leaders who are opposed to progress in this city are not nameless or faceless,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said after the ballot measure was blocked.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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DOJ files emergency motion demanding federal judge block Texas abortion law: ‘Clear violation’ of Constitution

The Justice Department took action late Tuesday against the controversial Texas abortion law, asking a federal court to immediately stop enforcement of the law while the legality of the law remains in limbo.

What is the background?

The law, known as S.B. 8, bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected in an unborn baby, which happens around six weeks into pregnancy. What is unique about the law is that it relies on civil, not criminal, enforcement.

The Supreme Court declined to block the law earlier this month in a 5-4 decision; Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal minority. The court, however, did not make a determination about the constitutionality of the law.

The constitutionality of abortion will be either reaffirmed or rolled back after the Supreme Court decides Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sometime next year.

What did the DOJ say?

In an emergency motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to temporarily or preliminarily prevent the enforcement of S.B. 8.

The scope of the DOJ’s argument is that S.B. 8 violates the Constitution — specifically the 14th Amendment and Supremacy Clause — and that the federal government “has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot insulate itself from judicial review for its constitutional violations and to protect the important federal interests that S.B. 8 impairs.”

In a nutshell, the DOJ argued:

S.B. 8 deprives women in Texas of their constitutional rights while presently preventing them from vindicating those rights in court, in clear violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause.

The Act harms the United States’ interest in ensuring that States do not evade their obligations under the Constitution and then try to insulate their actions from judicial review, as well as its interest in protecting the constitutional rights of women in its care and custody.

To allow States to circumvent the Federal Constitution in this manner would offend the basic federal nature of the Union. Thus, the unconstitutionality of S.B. 8 alone suffices to establish irreparable harm.

The Justice Department’s motion is an escalation of the Biden administration’s challenge to the Texas law. Last week, the agency sued Texas. At the time, Attorney General Merrick Garland called the Texas law “clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent.”

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has promised a “whole-of-government” response to protect abortion access in Texas.

What was the reaction?

Planned Parenthood, of course, praised the Justice Department’s action.

“This is another welcome step forward in the fight for abortion access in Texas,” Helene Krasnoff, a vice president at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“We are grateful that the Department of Justice is bringing its full might to restoring Texans’ ability to exercise their constitutional right to abortion,” Krasnoff added. “For two weeks now, Texans have been forced to either cross state lines for care or carry a pregnancy against their will. They need relief now.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office referred media to a statement that his office released last week in response to the initial DOJ lawsuit, the Washington Post reported.

“The most precious freedom is life itself. Texas passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared from the ravages of abortion. Unfortunately, President Biden and his Administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn. We are confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life,” that statement said.

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Mayor tells school board members to resign or ‘be charged’ after saying judge confirmed ‘child pornography’ was part of high school’s college-credit course

Mayor Craig Shubert of Hudson, Ohio, sat in front of a microphone and issued a brief but pointed public statement to the members of the city’s board of education earlier this week.

“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom,” Shubert said during Monday night’s meeting. “I’ve spoken to a judge this evening. She’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: Either you choose to resign from this board of education, or you will be charged. Thank you.”

The mayor’s jaw-dropping ultimatum to the board members of Hudson City Schools drew quite a bit of applause and cheers from those gathered in the room.

What’s the background?

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, numerous parents complained about writing prompts in the “642 Things to Write About” book that’s part of a college-credit course — Writing in the Liberal Arts II — at Hudson High School.

More from the paper:

Parents said there was a prompt that asked students to “write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom,” and another which said “rewrite the sex scene from above into one that you’d let your mom read.”

Another prompt asked students to drink a beer and describe how it tastes. Parents said they felt these writing prompts and others were not appropriate for high school students.

Shubert said he wants all five board members to resign by the end of September, the Beacon Journal noted.

However, the paper added that it’s unclear whether board members can be held criminally liable for classroom material.

“We’ve never heard of criminal charges [filed against a school board] for curriculum,” Ralph Lusher, staff attorney with the Ohio School Boards Association, told the Beacon Journal.

Lusher added to the paper that he can’t determine if the material “would cross a line or not” since he hasn’t yet seen it.

But some individuals who have viewed the material were decidedly outraged by it. One person said he was “appalled” by the content and asked for video cameras in the classroom so parents can monitor what’s being taught to their children, the Beacon Journal said, adding that another speaker said it’s “disgusting” and amounted to “grooming.”

What did the school district have to say?

Superintendent Phil Herman said in a statement that the “inappropriate and offensive writing prompts” were part of a supplemental resource used in the high school senior-level College Credit Plus writing sections, the paper reported.

“The district immediately determined this writing resource should not be in the hands of our students, and on Monday, collected the books from the students enrolled in the course,” Herman added, according to the Beacon Journal. “It is important to note that at no time were any of these inappropriate writing prompts assigned as part of the class.”

More from the paper:

High school principal Brian Wilch said the class is offered in association with Hiram College but is taught at the high school. He also said the “642 Things” book has been used in the past.

Wilch told the board Monday that he and his administrative team apologized to the students’ parents. The school is searching for replacement material that is suitable for high school students, he said.

“We did not exercise due diligence when we reviewed this resource and as a result, we overlooked several writing prompts among the 642 that are not appropriate for our high school audience,” Wilch added, according to the Beacon Journal. “… We feel terrible. At no time were any of these inappropriate prompts selected or discussed, but still they were there and they were viewable, and you can’t unsee them.”

Herman also told the paper that an independent investigation is under way “to determine how these supplemental materials were reviewed and approved, and if any additional action should be taken.”

“It is clear that as a district we did not properly review this resource, and for that, we sincerely apologize,” the superintendent also said, according to the Beacon Journal. “We take great pride in the instructional experience of our students and take very seriously anything that negatively impacts our mission to provide an educational program that provides for the development of each child in a safe, nurturing environment. Again, we are reviewing our approval processes to make sure that nothing similar happens in the future.”

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DOJ asks federal judge to halt Texas fetal heartbeat law – HotAir

Late Tuesday, the DOJ filed an emergency request with a federal judge asking that the Texas fetal heartbeat law be temporarily halted. The temporary restraining order would prevent Texas from enacting the new law. It is the latest action in what is a battle between the federal government and Texas. It is, simply put, a power struggle between states’ rights and the scope of the power of the federal government. The law is already in effect, as of September 1.

DOJ filed a lawsuit last week against Texas. It argues that the law, known as S.B. 8, denies women their constitutional right to an abortion. The law disallows abortion at the time of detection of a fetal heartbeat, usually around six weeks. That, and the provision that allows private citizens to provide law enforcement with information of those who perform an abortion after that time and those who help a pregnant woman obtain the abortion for a cash reward are two controversial elements of the new law. It can be argued that the law sets up an opportunity for vigilante justice yet the reason this is a provision in the law is to protect it against court challenges. Other states have attempted to enact fetal heartbeat laws but they have been struck down in court. The reason for that is states are sued, not individual people, by pro-abortion opposition. Texas legislators took a different approach or a different path to deter abortions.

In Tuesday’s emergency filing, the department argued that even though the Supreme Court has ruled that “a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,” Texas has banned abortions months before viability — at a time before many women even know they are pregnant.

The brief said Texas had devised “an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court. This attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand.”

The Texas law took effect Sept. 1, effectively ending most abortions in the nation’s second-most-populous state, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Federal judges have ruled in favor of abortion providers in past lawsuit challenges, citing Roe v Wade. The Supreme Court ruled that women have a right to abort their babies before viability and it stops states from placing undue burdens on the decisions they make. DOJ and pro-abortion opponents of the Texas law claim it is the beginning of the end of Roe v Wade.

Legal action is already being taken in Travis County (Austin). On Monday, attorneys for Texas Right to Life and for Planned Parenthood clinics agreed to a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life filing lawsuits against Planned Parenthood clinics.

The TRO signed Monday by Travis County District Judge Karin Crump bars Texas Right to Life, the group’s legislative director and multiple unnamed defendants from filing civil lawsuits against Planned Parenthood clinics. The abortion provider filed its petition earlier this month seeking protection from anticipated legal challenges.

The law does not give abortion providers the ability to recover attorney fees if they are successful in a case brought against them. Abortion rights advocates have argued that the purpose of the bill is to scare abortion providers with the threat of extensive litigation, likening its method of enforcement to placing bounties on the heads of abortion providers and private individuals.

After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue an emergency stay, the controversial abortion law took effect Sept. 1. Planned Parenthood filed its petition the following day.

The clinics argue the law has drastically harmed them already and will do more harm if it is not enjoined. They claim Texas Right to Life and those involved in the organization have already announced their plans to bring litigation against them, prompting the clinics to prempetively petition for injunctive relief against such suits.

In her brief order Monday, Crump wrote that the “plaintiffs will be imminently and irreparably harmed in the interim absent a temporary injunction.”

Planned Parenthood praised the decision.

Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s vice president for public policy litigation and law, said in a statement the group is pleased with the court’s decision to temporarily protect providers and clinic staff from litigation.

“We are relieved that the Travis County District Court has entered a temporary injunction against Texas Right to Life and anyone working with them… our providers and health care workers will now have some protection from frivolous suits as litigation against this blatantly unconstitutional law continues,” Krasnoff said.

In the meantime, abortions are not being performed in Texas after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A trial is scheduled for Planned Parenthood’s case against Texas Right to Life in April 2022.

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