Texas Top Court Has Horrific Judgment Over Failed Reproductive Surgery – The New Republic

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The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that an El Paso woman who gave birth despite supposedly receiving a tubal ligation can’t sue her medical provider because “society views a healthy child’s arrival as a net boon and a gift.”

The nine-member court, whose members are all Republican, ruled unanimously that Grissel Velasco could not seek damages from Dr. Michiel Noe and his medical practice, Sun City Women’s Health Care, for medical expenses, physical and mental harms, and the costs of raising her now eight-year-old girl.

“Texas law does not regard a healthy child as an injury for which a parent must be compensated but, rather, as a life with inherent dignity and profound, immeasurable value,” wrote Justice Rebeca Huddle.

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Under Texas law, a parent could only recover damages, such as medical expenses, from during the pregnancy, delivery, and afterwards—nothing more, Huddle said.

Huddle cited the fact that Noe had reimbursed Velasco $400 for the cost of the tubal ligation, a sterilization procedure in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are cut and tied to prevent pregnancy, and that her pregnancy was covered by the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Velasco’s lawyer, Jose Lopez, said in a statement that the ruling had “taken away a patient’s voice and choice and has immunized the negligent doctor from civil liability.”

The ruling fits right along with Texas’s extreme laws on abortion, which include a near-total ban passed in 2021. Last summer, a group of women sued the state over the law, and one woman vomited while telling the story of how she was forced to give birth to a baby that died shortly after delivery.

Anti-abortion activists in the state want to execute women and minors who seek abortions or in-vitro fertilization. And the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, has threatened to prosecute doctors and hospitals for carrying out abortions, even if a court orders one out of health concerns. All of this seems to indicate a forced birth-or-else policy in the state.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is no longer welcome in 16 percent of her home state.

The MAGA Republican has been banned from the territories of five of the nine Sioux tribes in her state for derogatory comments she made at a town hall in March, accusing the community of failing their children.

“Because they live with 80 percent to 90 percent unemployment,” Noem said at the time. “Their kids don’t have any hope. They don’t have parents who show up and help them. They have a tribal council or a president who focuses on a political agenda more than they care about actually helping somebody’s life look better.”

On Tuesday, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe became the fifth tribe to pass a resolution barring Noem. They join similar actions taken by the Oglala, Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, and Rosebud Sioux tribes, which have so far banned the state’s executive leader from 13,000 square miles of land—approximately 90 percent of the state’s indigenous-owned territory.

“As tribal leaders, it is our duty to honor the voice or the wishes of our people, and that’s who we work on the behalf of,” Sisseton Tribal Chairman J. Garrett Renville told local station KELO. “The people at this time would like that in place until there was a formal apology.”

Native tribes have had a strained relationship with Noem since she took office in 2019. Since then, Noem and South Dakota’s Indigenous population have disagreed over the construction of the XL Keystone pipeline and the removal of Native American histories from South Dakota’s education standards. Noem also violated the tribes’ sovereignty during the Covid-19 pandemic, undermining tribal efforts to enact lockdowns and quarantine zones while the state’s infection count skyrocketed.

“Governor Noem claims she wants to establish meaningful relationships with Tribes to provide solutions for systemic problems. However, her actions as Governor blatantly show otherwise,” the Rosebud Sioux Tribe said in a news release in April after issuing their own ban.

Noem doesn’t seem to have a lot of backers in her corner anymore. The South Dakota governor alienated millions of Americans when she revealed in her latest book, No Going Back, that she shot and killed her puppy. Some of the people disgusted with the canine execution included some of her strongest allies, including Donald Trump, who has reportedly removed Noem from his shortlist of candidates to become his vice president over the anecdote.

If Trump wins the 2024 presidential election, Republicans and conservatives want criminals to die—literally. 

Project 2025, a coalition of conservatives and Republicans, released a document last year laying out their policy wish list for all of the government, Hidden deep within the playbook on page 554 is a plan to execute every inmate on federal death row—and add more criminals to it with the help of the Supreme Court, HuffPost reported Friday. 

Right now, there’s a federal moratorium on executions that was restored shortly after Biden’s election. The Trump administration had ended it in 2019 with the first federal execution in nearly 13 years and the tacit approval of the Supreme Court. The federal government would execute 13 inmates before Trump’s term ended, the most in a single year since 1896. Now, it seems the rest of the GOP plans to pick up where the Trump administration left off. 

The next administration should “do everything possible to obtain finality” for every prisoner on federal death row, which currently includes 40 people, says the plan, written by Gene Hamilton,  a former official in Trump’s Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.

“It should also pursue the death penalty for applicable crimes—particularly heinous crimes involving violence and sexual abuse of children—until Congress says otherwise through legislation,” Hamilton continues, writing in a footnote that this could require a new Supreme Court ruling, “but the [Justice Department] should place a priority on doing so.”

It’s unclear if Trump will strictly abide by this conservative playbook. The fact that he has trouble articulating his plans coherently suggests that it’ll be up to the people he surrounds himself with. If he appoints cabinet members who are longtime Republican operatives, or even hard-right advisors such as Stephen Miller, it seems likely. 

Donald Trump is—once again—trying to backpedal on his opinions about TikTok.

The presumed GOP presidential nominee is trying to argue that it wasn’t conservatives who originally pushed to ban the popular social media platform, but rather President Joe Biden.

“Just so everyone knows, especially the young people, Crooked Joe Biden is responsible for banning TikTok,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, before cooking up a novel conspiracy that Biden is removing American access to the platform in a bid to help one of its social media rivals, Facebook.

“He is the one pushing it to close, and doing it to help his friends over at Facebook become richer and more dominant, and able to continue to fight, perhaps illegally, the Republican Party. It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE,” Trump said.

It’s at least the third instance in which Trump has conveniently forgotten how hard he fought during his own administration to ban the Chinese-owned app. Long before Biden signed the effective ban—which is purportedly about national security—into law, Trump attempted to eradicate TikTok via an executive order before he left office in 2020. He claimed that the video-sharing platform “[threatened] the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

And the flipped script comes at an opportune moment for the presidential candidate. Major Republican donor Jeff Yass, whom Trump appears to be courting, reportedly owns a 15 percent stake in TikTok. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is reportedly trying to rejoin Trump’s team, has new business ties to the Chinese media industry.

Another of Trump’s allies, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, revealed his own plans to acquire the social media company via an investor group just a day after the ban passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House.

“I think the legislation should pass, and I think it should be sold,” Mnuchin told CNBC in March. “It’s a great business, and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.”

ByteDance announced shortly after Biden signed the ban—which gave TikTok an ultimatum to either sell its IP to an American owner or stop operating within the U.S.—that the company doesn’t “have any plans to sell.”

After removing Confederate names from two of its public schools during the summer of 2020, a rural Virginia county has become the first school district in the country to reverse such a change.

Shenandoah County’s school board voted early Friday morning to reinstate the names of three Confederate officers on two schools, after a meeting that lasted for hours prompted by years of pushback, The New York Times reported. According to the Times, school board meetings were filled with local residents who said the name changes were secretive and rushed through, and said they resented cultural shifts being forced upon them.

Four years ago, during protests against racial injustice across the country, the board voted 5-1 in a virtual meeting to change the names of Ashby-Lee Elementary and Stonewall Jackson High. The schools were renamed the next year as Honey Run and Mountain View. But backlash in the county, which is 90 percent white, led to a re-vote in 2022 that resulted in a tie.

“When you read about [Stonewall Jackson]—who he was, what he stood for, his character, his loyalty, his leadership, how Godly a man he was—those standards that he had were much higher than any leadership of the school system in 2020,” Tom Streett, one of the board members, said Friday before he and the rest of the board voted 5-1 to restore the names.

The protests across the United States during the summer of 2020 against racial injustice resulted in changes ranging from new school curricula about the country’s racial history to name changes such as those in Shenandoah County. In the years since, though, the right wing has pushed back on any changes to the pre-2020 status quo, from denying that systematic racism exists to inventing the specter of “critical race theory” to prevent any mention of racism in schools or school policy, even winning school board elections on the premise. The result has been a decimation of public education in America.

Donald Trump is suddenly in the odd situation of having to defend against his own words.

An old tweet of his was admitted into evidence in his hush-money trial Friday, and the post appears to challenge what Trump’s legal defense has tried to claim since opening statements.

In May 2018, Trump admitted on Twitter (now called X) that his former fixer Michael Cohen actually did receive a “monthly retainer”—even though Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue that Cohen was not paid back for the $130,000 hush-money payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Instead, Trump’s lawyers claim Cohen was paid as an employee.

“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between these two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA,” Trump wrote at the time.

Prosecutors have argued that the retainer fee was simply a guise to pay Cohen back.

The timestamp on the tweet also provides further evidence that Trump was aware of multiple $35,000 checks to Cohen inked by his two sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., as well as Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, made via a revocable trust.

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Donald Trump’s former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson could leave the Republican Party behind and vote for Joe Biden in November.

Hutchinson made the comment during an event at Colorado Mesa University on Tuesday. Video posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday shows Hutchinson addressing the crowd.

“I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life, but I would absolutely consider voting for Joe Biden this upcoming November because he will not seek to destroy our nation. He will not seek to destroy our Constitution,” she said.

Hutchinson’s statement does not come lightly. She had a harrowing time while working in Trump’s White House, describing a hostile environment where Trump threw dishes, wanted to allow armed supporters at his January 6 rally, and tried to strangle a Secret Service agent. In her book, Enough, Hutchinson accused former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of groping her just before Trump’s speech on January 6. She also had to put up with aggressive advances from Representative Matt Gaetz, a Trump acolyte who even falsely claimed that two dated, she said. She would become a star witness for the House January 6 investigative committee.

During House Republicans’ failed attempt to impeach Biden, one of their witnesses, Tony Bobulinski, tried to paint Hutchinson as an “absolute liar and a fraud” because she described an “out of sight” meeting between him and Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, at a 2020 campaign rally in Rome, Georgia. Hutchinson shut him down with photographic evidence of the meeting.

Hutchinson is not the first Trump White House aide to signal support for Biden. Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews told MSNBC late last month that she’d be voting for the president’s reelection, stating that “when we have a candidate on the ballot who will not uphold the Constitution, then I feel like I have to put policy aside, and I want to support the person who is best suited to defeat Donald Trump.”

Georgia’s former Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan has also endorsed Biden, saying he plans on “voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass.”

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia rejected Steve Bannon’s appeal case Friday, upholding a criminal court’s ruling that the former adviser to Donald Trump must serve jail time.

Bannon was convicted by a jury in 2022 on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to respond or comply with a subpoena request issued by the January 6 House Select Committee. He was sentenced that year to four months in jail but has remained free while he appealed the decision. If he begins the sentence soon, he could be in prison during the election in November.

“Because we have no basis to depart from that binding precedent, and because none of Bannon’s other challenges to his convictions have merit, we affirm [the conviction],” the panel wrote in a 20-page opinion, noting that a contrary ruling on Bannon’s crime would “hamstring Congress’s investigatory authority.”

Bannon claimed he could not comply with the Congressional subpoena on the basis of assumed executive privilege, arguing that—although he was a private citizen at the time—his discussions with Trump were confidential.

Bannon will likely attempt to appeal the case again, either to the 11-member bench of the appeals court or to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, he is likely headed to prison.

Another of Trump’s former advisors—Peter Navarro—faced a similar fate in January, when he was sentenced to four months in prison after spending years dodging a Congressional subpoena. All of his attempts to overturn his sentence have failed.

This story has been updated.

Porn star Stormy Daniels is goading Doanld Trump to take the stand following her testimony—though actually doing so may not turn out so well for the presumed GOP presidential nominee.

“Real men respond to testimony by being sworn in and taking the stand in court. Oh…wait.  Nevermind,” Daniels wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday. She had completed her explosive testimony earlier that day.

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Trump had already had a difficult time keeping his mouth shut about Daniels’s testimony early Tuesday, flaming the adult film star in a Truth Social post that was quickly removed, likely for fear of violating the gag order. So, instead of attacking Daniels directly, Trump wrote up another post condemning the trial in its entirety.

“THIS CROOKED JOE BIDEN INSPIRED TRIAL IS AN ATTACK ON HIS POLITICAL OPPONENT, AND ON AMERICA ITSELF. THE CORRUPT AND HIGHLY CONFLICTED JUDGE, JUAN MERCHAN, IS PRESIDING OVER THE DEATH OF THE NEW YORK CITY AND STATE SYSTEM OF JUSTICE,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Thursday. “THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!”

Trump is on thin ice after having violated his gag order 10 times. Under its restrictions, Trump can’t speak publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, jurors, witnesses, or any of their family members. That includes attacking them on social media. Future violations could earn him more financial penalties and the possibility of jail time.

But legal experts predict that Trump’s bombastic behavior—and his penchant for outright denying any accusations against him—would only land him in more hot water if he decided to take the stand.

“I wouldn’t hold my breath on Trump ever testifying in this trial. It would be enormously self-destructive,” tweeted Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel for the Department of Justice, on Wednesday. “It may require unusual self-control on Trump’s part.”

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham is upset that an insult against Donald Trump, “orange turd,” has been repeatedly mentioned in trial coverage, despite the fact that Trump’s own legal team entered the phrase into evidence during his hush-money trial.

“You notice that Anderson Cooper really seemed to relish saying orange turd?” Ingraham said Thursday night, referring to the CNN anchor. “How many times did he say it? Well, we didn’t have the drinking game going but we might as well have. Again, humiliation of Trump, the only goal here.”

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels used the term in a tweet from 2022, which Trump lawyer Susan Necheles entered into evidence Tuesday as an attempt to weaken Daniels’s credibility. Trump is accused of paying off Daniels through his former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen to cover up their affair before the 2016 election.

“Orange turd” came up in court again Thursday, when Necheles brought up another Daniels tweet, this time from late March, where Daniels posted that she was “the best person to flush the orange turd down.”

With repeated mentions of the insult in court, it can hardly be a surprise to Ingraham and the rest of Fox News that media outlets such as CNN would report on it. It’s a newsworthy item, and wouldn’t even be part of the trial if Trump’s own legal team didn’t introduce it in court, as MeidasTouch editor-in-chief Ron Filipkowski noted on X (formerly Twitter).

If Fox News hosts are upset now, they better hope that Trump’s legal team doesn’t introduce Cohen’s old tweets into evidence when he is called to the witness stand, as he has referred to the former president as “Von ShitzInPantz” and a “racist jackass who referred to African nations as ‘shithole countries.’”

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime in the hush-money trial. He has pleaded not guilty.

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