A “queer feminist legal analyst” has sued President Donald Trump after she was blocked by the president from viewing his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.
Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza alleged that her career has suffered irreparable damage in the weeks after she was personally barred via Twitter’s “block” function from replying to or interacting in any way with Trump’s personal tweets or Twitter account.
Writing in Fortune magazine, Buckwalter-Poza said:
Gone now is my ability to participate in the timeliest and most robust conversations around law, policy, and politics on Twitter—those around the president’s tweets. Taking part in these exchanges was an ideal way to stay current on not just facts, but new ideas. These threads make up the marketplace of ideas in which my peers and potential employers, colleagues, and audience are present and participating. I’ve been forced out and have no meaningful way to rejoin them.
I didn’t think being blocked on Twitter was a big deal at first. It’s just a button you can click, a way to mute an ex or tune out trolls’ attacks. But it turns out that when the person who blocks you is the president of the United States, it can matter quite a bit. Every day I’m blocked I lose opportunities to advance my views and engage others’—literally the reason a reader follows a writer’s work, the substance a publication pays a writer for—in these conversations. I can’t fire off a 140-word tweet, create a thread, or share pieces I write to drive discussion within these very conversations. That quick click I thought was so inconsequential is constraining my career in ways I have yet to fully appreciate.
When Buckwalter-Poza boasted about the suit on Twitter, she was widely mocked:
I am dumber for having read this. Be warned, you’ll feel your IQ evaporate off your brain like water on a hot skillet. https://t.co/pdQ1LOXUPq
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 14, 2017
Some people lose jobs because of robots, or because the plant was moved to Mexico; others because a celebrity blocked them on the twitterz
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 14, 2017
of all the arguments in favor of using the courts to micromanage how trump uses his twitter account this hed is by far the least persuasive https://t.co/lmBBwqLjdO
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) July 14, 2017
Trump’s tweets are fully visible to anyone not logged into Twitter. Unless your purpose is to tweet him, this literally doesn’t affect you.
— neontaster (@neontaster) July 14, 2017
Snowflakes are so fragile. https://t.co/PjIJ4yQWX9
— David Starsky (@Dogtownz) July 14, 2017
— DEPLORABLE CHRIS (@DeplorableChri5) July 14, 2017
Being blocked by Trump isn’t hurting you at all. Log out and view.
Or perhaps, create another account like countless banned conservatives
— Aaron Lee Mathis (@aaronlmathis) July 14, 2017
Referring to yourself as a “public intellectual” is both hilarious and insufferably smug. How has the inability to tweet @ potus harmed you?
— Asher Ellsworth (@aeknipe) July 14, 2017
Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha https://t.co/HGoo7azfdv
— Scarborough’s Hair™ (@EF517_V2) July 14, 2017
One person even offered a bit of advice:
Someone help this poor woman, who can’t figure out how to set up a side account and screenshot Trump’s tweets. https://t.co/goI5jSRfXr
— Brooke Rogers (@bkerogers) July 14, 2017
Trump is being sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which advocates for free speech. White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump’s director of social media, Dan Scavino, are also named as defendants in the suit. The suit was filed in the Southern district of New York.
The plaintiffs allege that Trump’s personal Twitter account, which boasts nearly 34 million followers, is a public forum, and being blocked for their viewpoints is a violation of their First Amendment rights. Public forums are areas that typically receive the strongest First Amendment protects.
The plaintiffs seek to be unblocked from Trump’s personal Twitter account, in addition to Trump being barred from future banning over opposing viewpoints.
Posted in Donald Trump, Lawsuit, Politics, Twitter
Fox News host and talk radio star Sean Hannity appeared alarmed at a report from the New York Magazine that Fox News was heading towards a management “shakeup” at the network after the accusations that took down Bill O’Reilly. Hannity said it would be the “total end” of Fox News if the report was true.
“I pray this is NOT true because if it is, that’s the total end of the FNC as we know it,” he tweeted. “Done.”
Gäbe i pray this is NOT true because if it is, that’s the total end of the FNC as we know it. Done. Best Sean https://t.co/W3BJ2wjzRD
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 27, 2017
The scoop from Gabriel Sherman seemed to indicate that Fox News was close to firing the network’s co-president, Bill Shine. According to the report, Shine had asked the CEO and c0-chairman of the parent network company to make a public show of support for the co-president, but they refused.
Fox News’ CEO is James Murdock, and the co-chairman is Lachlan Murdock, sons of media mogul Rupert Murdock. They expanded their control over the network after Roger Ailes resigned over his own sexual harassment scandal.
Fox News has been fighting a plethora of sexual harassment lawsuits and a recent filing alleging racial harassment and discrimination from former and current network employees.
The sources said Shine made the request because of withering press coverage of Fox News in recent weeks. A source added that Shine has privately complained that Rupert “isn’t fighting for him” in the press, which is why he wanted explicit support from the sons.
The New York Magazine first reported other rumors from Fox News that later turned out to be true, and this adds heft to the current reporting.
Through a Fox News spokesperson, Shine denied personally going to James and Lachlan for a statement. A Murdoch spokesperson said Shine did not directly ask for a statement.
Shine had been Hannity’s producer before making his way up through the executive ranks of the network. He made a cryptic accusation about the machinations at the network which sparked much speculation about his meaning.
Somebody HIGH UP AND INSIDE FNC is trying to get an innocent person fired. And Gabe I KNOW WHO it is. Best Sean https://t.co/W3BJ2wjzRD
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 27, 2017
He followed up with a tweet of a hashtag “I stand with Bill,” and then another reading, “I stand with Shine.”
Hannity has been using his platform on his cable news show to blast accusations from a former guest who said he invited her to his hotel and then banned her from his show when she refused. This comes just one week after Bill O’Reilly resigned over sexual harassment allegations, and while “The Five” co-host Jesse Watters is criticized for an apparent sexual remark about Ivanka Trump.
Posted in Fox News, Lawsuit, Politics, Sean Hannity, sexual harassment
Dignity Health’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a private Catholic hospital in Sacramento, California, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought on by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after the hospital refused to perform a sex transition surgery.
According to the suit, Evan Michael Minton, a 35-year-old woman who wishes to be a man, wanted to have an elective surgery done on her that would have her vagina removed. The suit says that Minton was denied the hysterectomy because, as Minton claims, the hospital was discriminatory due to his lifestyle.
“We feel very clearly that they discriminated against me because I’m transgender, and that is against the law,” Minton said.
“It devastated me, and I don’t want it to affect my transgender brothers and sisters the way it affected me,” Minton told the Sacramento Bee. “No one should have to go through that.”
Sacramento defense attorney Johnny Griffin believes that Minton has a case against the hospital, which seeks $4000 in damages.
“It kind of goes back to the whole ‘separate but equal’ years ago, where it was OK to discriminate, but as long as you provide something that was equally balanced,” said Griffin. “So, this is why this is an area of the law that needs to be settled by the courts.”
“We have not been served with the complaint and cannot speak to the allegations until we have the opportunity to review them,” said Dignity Health Mercy San Juan officials in a statement. “What we can share is that at Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center, the services we provide are available to all members of the communities we serve without discrimination. We understand how important this surgery is for transgender individuals, and were happy to provide Mr. Minton and his surgeon the use of another Dignity Health hospital for his surgery within a few days.”
The hospital itself says that they could no perform the transition surgery ” in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) and the medical staff bylaws.”
This case should be similar to the Burwell v Hobby Lobby case, where it was ruled by the Supreme Court that a private business with religious beliefs cannot be forced to act against those beliefs by the government. The question for this lawsuit will be whether a private hospital with religious beliefs can refuse to perform procedures that would go against those beliefs.
Posted in ACLU, Catholic, Lawsuit, Lifestyle, Transgender
First lady Melania Trump filed a lawsuit against the Daily Mail for publishing “salacious and highly offensive statements about her,” according to CNBC’s Steve Kopack, who tweeted the news Monday.
She is seeking $150 million in compensatory and punitive damages from the news organization for causing “tremendous harm to Plaintiff’s personal and professional reputation.
The statement filed in the New York Supreme Court focuses on a story published by Mail Online on August 19, 2016.
JUST FILED: First Lady Melania Trump sues Daily Mail in NY Supreme Court over “salacious and highly offensive statements about her” pic.twitter.com/vwj0sDmgKc
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) February 6, 2017
An earlier lawsuit against the news corporation was dismissed from a Maryland when a judge ruled that the matter was outside of the jurisdiction of the court. The lawsuit was filed in August and cited a story that had been published the week previous and insinuated that she had worked as an escort.
…the Daily Mail published a story outlining the former supermodel’s “very racy” past, including Trump’s former romantic relationships, her career in modeling and her immigration story. Pulling details from a magazine in Trump’s native Slovenia, the Daily Mail article claims the modeling agency Trump used to work for was actually an escort service.
The Daily Mail retracted the story after the filing, but it appears that the first lady will continuing pursuing the lawsuit.
Trump posted apologies and retractions from The Inquisitr and the Bipartisan Report after the original lawsuit:
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) August 22, 2016
Apology to Melania Trump https://t.co/9sAqu8wJ5P
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) August 22, 2016
Posted in Donald Trump, Lawsuit, Melania Trump, Politics, President Trump
A man has been seriously injured by an electronic cigarette that exploded in his pants in New York’s Grand Central terminal on Wednesday.
The entire incident, at a wine store in the train station, was captured on video.
Otis Gooding, 31, was “seriously injured” by the explosion, his attorney said, according to CNN.
Gooding had been standing and talking to his coworkers when the e-cigarette, or vape, exploded.
CNN reported that he suffered third-degree burns and is expected to undergo surgery at the Weill Cornell Medical Center burn unit.
More from CNN:
John Lee, another employee of Central Cellars Wine and Spirits, in Grand Central Terminal, said he ran behind a pillar in the store once the sparks started flying.
“Unfortunately there was nothing we could do but call the police,” Lee told CNN. “Otis ran water on himself till the paramedics came. I was traumatized to see someone hurt that way,” Lee said.
Lee, a former e-cigarette smoker himself, said the device had been customized. “I’ve never seen one that has so much power, it’s aftermarket customized so you can change the voltage for high performances,” he said.
Gooding plans to take “appropriate legal action” against the manufacturer of the e-cigarette, his attorney said.
Posted in Business, Lawsuit, Technology, US
RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A man whose loose bull wandered onto a road and was hit by a car, killing the driver, is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge, prosecutor said, and farmers are worried about the harm a conviction could do to the state’s agriculture economy.
Farmers and friends packed a legal proceeding at a courthouse Monday in support of bull owner Craig Mosher, whose lawyer has called the car crash “a horrible accident.”
Some farmers fear Mosher’s prosecution could set a precedent that stands to hurt the state’s economy, whose staples include dairy farming, artisanal foods and forestry. They would like to see the charge, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison upon conviction, dropped.
“Animals don’t get out that often. When they do, there could have been 100 different reasons why that animal got out,” said Joseph Tisbert, president of the Vermont Farm Bureau.
Craig Mosher appears in court on Monday, June 6, 2016, in Rutland, Vt. (Anthony Edwards/The Rutland Herald via AP)
Mosher, who owns an excavation company, was indicted by a grand jury in April and has pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents:
On July 31, 2015, a milk truck driver nearly hit the bull in Killington, recognized the bull was Mosher’s and went to Mosher’s house to tell him about it.
The driver said he banged on Mosher’s door and blew his truck’s air horn to alert Mosher. The driver said Mosher opened an upstairs window and he told Mosher he had almost hit the bull. The milk truck driver said he didn’t see Mosher come outside after a few minutes so he called police.
Mosher later told a trooper he went to look for the bull on his property but couldn’t find it, went home and fell asleep.
The crash, which happened about 15 minutes after the milk truck driver called police, killed 62-year-old Jon Michael Bellis, of Woodbridge, Connecticut. His car hit the bull and then slammed into a tree. His wife was in the car but survived.
The bull was killed.
The indictment accuses Mosher of acting with criminal negligence after he learned the bull was loose and failed to contain it or warn others of the danger.
Tisbert said he and other farmers are worried landowners might be less willing to lease pastures.
“This could inadvertently affect the tourism industry of Vermont as farmers and landowners become more concerned about criminal and increased insurance liability,” he said.
A civil lawsuit had been settled in the case, but attorney Jerome O’Neill, who represents Bellis’ wife, said he couldn’t discuss details of it.
Rutland County state’s attorney Rose Kennedy said that police had responded to reports of Mosher’s bull in the roadway three times and out of its pasture once in June and July 2015.
Farmers’ concerns are misplaced, said O’Neill, who’s from Burlington. Mosher’s fencing wasn’t well maintained, and two bulls were getting out regularly, he said.
“No farmer wants to let his or her animals run out in the road,” he said. “It’s going to cause people serious injury or death, and they’re going to lose the animal.”
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal judge who’s hearing a Trump University lawsuit is “a hater of Donald Trump” and ought to be removed from the case. So says Donald Trump, in just one of the recent comments by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee that have legal experts worrying about his commitment to an independent judiciary and his views on presidential powers.
In the midst of a heated presidential campaign, Trump has expressed unusually personal criticism — focusing on the judge’s Mexican heritage — though his lawyers have never actually sought to have the judge removed.
His comments are bringing overwhelming disapproval from politicians and lawyers in his own Republican Party. On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said of the statements about the judge: “It’s reasoning I don’t relate to, I completely disagree with the thinking behind that.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump applauds during a rally Thursday in San Jose, Calif. (AP/Jae C. Hong)
And conservative legal scholars say Trump’s statements reinforce their worries that he seems to think he can do whatever he wants and disregard rules and conventions that constrain other political candidates.
“The concern is that he would act unbounded in the presidency, in a way that doesn’t follow the law,” said John McGinnis, a Northwestern University law professor.
Criticism of the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary has been a regular feature of recent Republican presidential campaigns, including proposals to strip federal judges of lifetime tenure and reduce the budgets of liberal-leaning courts.
Those ideas, though, did not single out judges or focus on race, ethnicity or religion.
“Here it’s just about Trump,” said Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler.
More troubling, Adler said, is that the recent comments seem to fit a pattern of intemperate remarks Trump has made during the campaign.
“He said he would give military officers unlawful orders and expect them to comply,” Adler said, referring to Trump’s claim that the military would follow his orders to torture suspected terrorists. Trump has since backed off on that.
“He has repeatedly given indications he has no appreciation for the rule of law,” Adler said.
Trump made his first reported comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in February, linking Curiel’s Mexican heritage with what Trump described as the judge’s “tremendous hostility” over Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border. Trump has variously referred to Curiel as Spanish, Mexican and Hispanic and has called the judge “a hater of Donald Trump.” He told The Wall Street Journal that Curiel has “an absolute conflict of interest” because of his heritage as well as “an inherent conflict of interest” because Trump wants to build the border wall.
Curiel is a native of Indiana whose parents emigrated from Mexico. He received undergraduate and law degrees from Indiana University and served as a federal prosecutor and a judge in the California state judicial system before being nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2011.
Trump University is the target of two lawsuits in San Diego and one in New York that accuse the business of fleecing students with unfulfilled promises to teach secrets of success in real estate. Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied.
The school emerged as an issue in a February Republican presidential debate, after which Trump made his first comments about Curiel.
The judge seemingly raised Trump’s ire anew last week when he ordered the release of documents that had been sealed. Trump’s campaign and private lawyers handling the lawsuits did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Trump’s contention that Curiel is biased against him because of Trump’s border plan is “ridiculous,” said Josh Blackman, a young conservative law professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston.
“If that’s the new standard for recusal, every judge in the federal judiciary who has some ethnicity or religion or race that affects a case has to recuse.” – Josh Blackman
American Bar Association president Paulette Brown said personal criticism of a judge undermines judicial independence.
“Anyone running for the highest office in the land should understand that the independence of the judiciary is essential for an effective and orderly government and justice system,” Brown said.
Federal judges have repeatedly rebuffed calls to step aside from cases over race, religion and ethnicity. U.S. District Judge Paul Borman, who is Jewish, turned down a request to withdraw from a case of a Palestinian immigrant accused of lying about her role in a fatal terrorist attack. “Like every one of my colleagues on the bench, I have a history and a heritage, but neither interferes with my ability to administer impartial justice,” Borman said.
He later did step aside from the case, after discovering his family had an investment in the Jerusalem supermarket the woman helped bomb in 1969. Financial interests often are involved when judges withdraw.
The prospect of a choice between Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton leaves some conservative scholars cold.
Former federal appeals court judge Michael McConnell, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said he is not encouraged by the behavior of the leading candidate of either party, citing Clinton’s troubles over the private email server she used when she was secretary of state.
“They both seem to think they’re above the law. Trump is much cruder and more personal and vitriolic and quotable, but the fundamental question is whether our leaders believe that the law applies to them,” said McConnell, who teaches constitutional law at Stanford Law School.
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A scuba diver is suing Florida Power and Light after he became the second person to be sucked into an intake pipe at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.
On July 12, 2015, scuba diver Christopher Le Cun survived an encounter with the nuclear power plant’s intake pipe system while exploring near Hutchinson Island, located off the coast of Martin and St. Lucie counties in Florida, according to WPTV-TV. Le Cun said that he and his best friend from high school, Robert Blake, were scuba diving with family and friends when the two men saw a yellow buoy and decided to investigate it. As it turns out, the buoy marked three massive submerged structures connected to the nuclear power plant. Blake and Le Cun claim that they had no idea what the structures were when they swam over to investigate and left their families behind on a boat.
Chrisopher and Brittany Le Cun (Image source: Christopher Le Cun’s Facebook page)
“Were there any warnings posted anywhere?” NewsChannel 5′s Jared Werksma asked Le Cun.
“Nowhere, there was no warnings whatsoever,” Le Cun responded, although FPL disputed his claim, stating that the buoy has always read, “stay back 100 feet.”
“I swam right up to this big structure and it looks like a building underwater. I felt a little bit of current. All of a sudden it got a little quicker and I said, ‘this ain’t right, this ain’t right,’” Le Cun told WPTV.
Before he fully could realize what was going on, Le Cun was pulled into the current.
“He got sucked in like a wet noodle. He just, poof, gone,” Blake told WPTV.”Instant death. I saw my friend die.”
Blake immediately began screaming as he returned to the boat and told Le Cun’s wife, Brittany, what had happened. Although she initially though Blake was joking, Brittany soon realized by the look on his face that he wasn’t.
“All I remember doing was grabbing my son, holding him, crying and praying out loud,” Brittany told WPTV.
Le Cun went on to explain to WPTV what he felt during those few minutes of sheer terror.
“I kind of felt like I got sucked over a waterfall and just instantly complete darkness. I was getting tumbled around and around. I’m trying to hold onto my mask and my regulator. I finally get ahold of my light and I’m trying to look around. As far as you can see, it’s just black,” Le Cun said. ”It’s about a 4-1/2 to 5 minute ride. You get to do a lot of thinking … I knew something was drawing all this water. All I could think about was these horror movies you know, this big turbine coming and I’m coming for it. You know, it’s going to chop me up and kill me.”
Le Cun admits that he though about committing suicide rather than face the possibility of a turbine.
“I contemplated, you know, do I just pull the regulator out of my mouth and just die?” Le Cun said, adding that “I started thinking about my family, you know, how are they going to survive without me?”
But Le Cun’s deliberations suddenly were cut short when his harrowing underwater journey came to a surprising conclusion.
“All of a sudden it looks like a match, out in the distance, just the littlest bit of what you’ve ever seen. When it gets a little bigger, then a little bigger. Then all of a sudden just, poof, daylight. Fish everywhere, crystal-clear water the sun is shining and I’m like, ‘is this heaven?’” Le Cun said.
Le Cun found himself released into a reservoir, where he soon found a nuclear plant employee and asked for a phone to call his wife.
“I’m yelling help, help and he says, ‘how did you get in here?’ And I said, ‘I came through the pipe’ and he says…’what?’” Le Cun recalled.
In response to Le Cun’s story, FPL issued this statement to WPTV: ”Nothing is more important safety at our St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plants, which is a reason that we have a protective over the intake piping. The diver intentionally swam into one of the intake pipes after bypassing a piece of equipment to minimize the entry of objects,” adding no further comments regarding the pending litigation claiming that the company exhibited shocking negligence and inadequate safety precautions.
The first pipe scare occurred in 1989, and Le Cun hopes that his suit will lead to more appropriate safety improvements to ensure that this situation will not occur a third time.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter
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President Barack Obama’s advisers want him to veto legislation that would make it more difficult for trial attorneys to add additional defendants to a lawsuit for the purposes of “forum shopping,” according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The OMB called the legislation “a solution in search of a problem.”
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
The Fraudulent Joinder Prevention Act, sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), is designed to prevent trial lawyers from dragging small-business owners into court to answer for claims they have no actual connection with. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee this month.
Supporters of the bill contend that when attorneys want to prevent a case against the primary defendant from being moved from a favorable state court jurisdiction to a potentially less favorable federal court, the plaintiff’s attorney names a secondary defendant in a state to keep the case in a favorable state court. This is known as a forum-shopping strategy.
If enacted, the bill would allow federal judges to have greater discretion to remove local defendants from lawsuits when it’s clear the plaintiff is suing such a businesses simply to keep the case in a state court, where the lawyers think they would have a better chance of getting a more favorable verdict.
But the White House contends a new law is not necessary.
“Existing federal law already provides federal courts with ample tools to address this problem, and the proponents of H.R. 3624 have offered no credible evidence that the Federal courts are failing to carry out their responsibility to prevent fraudulent joinder,” the OMB statement said. “The bill would therefore add needless complexity to civil litigation and potentially prevent plaintiffs from raising valid claims in State court.”
The statement continues, “If the President were presented with H.R. 3624, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.”
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