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    • A Federal Appeals Court Just Took A Big Swing At Planned Parenthood

      By Kevin Daley - The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction forbidding Texas from stripping Planned Parenthood of Medicaid Funds. The decision is also significant for its harsh criticism of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.  The case will now return to a federal trial court, where Planned Parenthood will have another chance to secure an injunction against Texas.  The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction forbidding Texas from stripping Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funds Thursday, while stridently criticizing the abortion-provider for its rhetoric and medical practices. “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement after Thursday’s ruling. The case arose after a pro-life group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood violating medical and ethical standards codified in federal law and state regulations. Texas terminated its Medicaid provider agreement with Planned Parenthood shortly thereafter, citing infractions documented in the videos. In turn, Planned Parenthood asked a federal court to restore its Medicaid funding. Thursday’s ruling — which related to a jurisdictional issue in that case — is especially striking for its numerous rebukes of Planned Parenthood. Judge Edith Jones, a Ronald Reagan appointee, delivered the opinion. Perhaps the most noteworthy of the decision’s reprimands is a graphic depiction of post-abortion fetal remains taken from a CMP video on the fourth page of the opinion. A small arm is visible in the picture. Texas cited the manner in which Planned Parenthood disposes of fetal remains as one reason for terminating their Medicaid eligibility. In another instance, the decision all but accuses Planned Parenthood of breaking federal law banning partial birth abortions. The ruling highlights a CMP video in which an administrator called Dr. Tram Nguyen said doctors at one facility could evacuate an intact fetus — thereby breaking federal law — provided they sign a form that they did not “intend” to do so. Such procedures allow researchers to recover organs like the thymus or the liver. Later in the opinion, the panel chides Planned Parenthood for failing to engage with Nguyen’s comments in court filings. “The plaintiffs’ briefing with regard to the substance of the discussions contained in the videos is curiously silent,” the decision reads. Planned Parenthood has denied that they intentionally alter abortion procedures for such purposes. The panel also dismissed Planned Parenthood’s claim that the CMP videos were “deceptively edited,” a soundbite that redounded across the press after the tapes first appeared. “The record reflects that [the Texas Office of Inspector General] had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited,” a footnote in the decision reads. “And [Planned Parenthood] did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage.” Finally the panel accused the judiciary of politicking on abortion cases. Ordinarily, providers like Planned Parenthood must challenge Medicaid termination decisions in an administrative forum and state court before seeking a federal court’s intervention. By allowing Planned Parenthood to skip directly to federal court — as the trial court did here — the 5th Circuit said that judges are engaging in ideological favoritism. “Had [Texas] terminated the Medicaid provider agreements of any other type of health care provider, the incongruity of allowing that provider to use patient litigation proxies to avoid administrative review and [reach] federal court would be obvious and unacceptable,” the ruling reads. The decision comes as pro-life activists gather in Washington in advance of Friday’s March for Life. The question before the 5th Circuit did not relate to abortion directly: after Texas disqualified Planned Parenthood from Medicaid eligibility, the abortion-provider sued, claiming the federal Medicaid statute allowed them to do so. A federal district judge agreed, allowed the lawsuit to proceed. The 5th Circuit had to decide whether that decision was correct. The federal appeals courts are divided over the answer to that question. Though the Supreme Court generally intervenes when the circuits disagree over the same question of law, the justices denied review in a related controversy from Kansas in December 2018, drawing a vigorous dissent from Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch which accused the Court of playing politics. In that instance, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the Court’s liberal bloc, effectively preserving a pro-Planned Parenthood decision in the lower court. The 5th Circuit’s Thursday decision concluded that they are bound by precedent to find that Planned Parenthood can proceed with its lawsuit in federal court under the Medicaid statute, though Jones wrote a concurrence to her own majority opinion urging the full 5th Circuit to revisit that question. However, the 5th Circuit gave Texas a partial victory, finding that the trial court assessed Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction under the wrong standard. The panel lifted the injunction, and ordered the lower court judge to reconsider Planned Parenthood’s request under a different standard which is more accommodating of Texas. As such, the state has a much better chance of prevailing when the matter returns to the trial court for further proceedings. Texas awards approximately $3.4 million to Planned Parenthood affiliates through Medicaid annually. The decision notes this is a “smidgen” of the revenue Planned Parenthood’s Texas affiliates generate each year, which runs over $57 million. 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 [email protected] A Federal Appeals Court Just Took A Big Swing At Planned Parenthood is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • Democrats Attack Trump’s Plan To Bring Back Thousands Of Federal Workers

      By Tim Pearce - House Democrats are questioning the legality of a Department of the Interior (DOI) decision to call back thousands of furloughed employees to work on offshore drilling permits. A trio of Democrats sent a letter to the acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt Wednesday, alleging that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) broke federal law by allowing some federal employees to begin working again. “This is an outrageous step, and the justifications provided in the BOEM contingency plan … are farcical and make it clear that the administration cares only about the impacts on its favorite industry and not about workers, their families, and ordinary families,” the letter said. Democratic Reps. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Betty McCollum of Minnesota, and Alan Lowenthal of California joined Grijalva in signing the letter. Grijalva chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, which oversees the DOI. BOEM changed its shutdown plan Jan. 8 to bring back employees to work on seismic permits and offshore lease sales because leaving the agency understaffed threatened to “negatively impact the Treasury and negatively impact investment in the U.S. Offshore Gulf of Mexico,” BOEM said according to the letter. The Democrats demanded BOEM reverse course. If not, Bernhardt would likely be called in front of the House Natural Resources Committee, to defend the legality of BOEM’s actions, which “appear to be in violation of the Antideficiency Act,” according to the letter. Thousands of other federal workers were called back to work Tuesday as agencies expand their definitions of “essential” personnel. “We are recalling inspectors and engineers to perform duties to ensure continuous operational safety of the entire national airspace,” a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson told Politico. “We proactively conduct risk assessment, and we have determined that after three weeks it is appropriate to recall inspectors and engineers.” Aviation, food, drug and medical inspectors were some of the 50,000 federal employees called off of furlough and back to their positions. If the government shutdown stretches to Jan. 28, about 46,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees return to their jobs for tax-filing season. 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 [email protected] Democrats Attack Trump’s Plan To Bring Back Thousands Of Federal Workers is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • Report: Economic Toll Of Government Shutdown Almost As Bad As Economic Toll Of Having A Bloated Federal Government In The First Place

      U.S.—The economic toll of the government shutdown is growing by the day, and experts now believe the cost of having the government partially closed down is nearly as bad as the economic toll of a functioning government interfering in our economy, businesses, and private decisions in the first place. The post Report: Economic Toll Of Government Shutdown Almost As Bad As Economic Toll Of Having A Bloated Federal Government In The First Place appeared first on The Babylon Bee. View the original full article

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    • Trump invites members of both parties to discuss border funding impasse – not everyone showed up

      By R. Mitchell - President Donald Trump invited Democrats and Republicans to lunch Tuesday to negotiate a compromise that would secure the southern border and re-open the federal government, but, according to the White House, it was a one-sided affair. “As Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi refuse to negotiate, President Donald J. Trump and his team are working hard to find solutions to solve the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border and reopen the government,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Today, the President offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch at the White House. Unfortunately, no Democrats will attend.” The White House released the names of those who showed up to work on re-opening the government, and it’s as lopsided as Sanders said: Trump has a compromise ready for congressional consideration, but he needs at least 6 Democrats to put America’s security, the safety of our border agents and the financial well-being of furloughed government workers ahead of their ‘stop Trump at all costs’ agenda. “The President has a proposal on the table that includes additional technology at ports of entry, allows minors from Central America to seek asylum in their home country, and physical barriers between ports of entry made of steel instead of concrete,” Sanders said. “The President looks forward to having a working lunch with House Republicans to solve the border crisis and reopen the government. It’s time for the Democrats to come to the table and make a deal.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have cast aside the pleas of border patrol agents and leadership to fund the border barriers they say they desperately need to do their work safely and effectively. By not even bothering to show up to a good faith negotiation, Chuck, Nancy and the Democrats have proven that this isn’t a common sense approach to national security – it’s just politics. Content created by Conservative Daily News is available for re-publication without charge under the Creative Commons license. Visit our syndication page for details. Trump invites members of both parties to discuss border funding impasse – not everyone showed up is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • Federal Judge Orders Removal Of Citizenship Question From 2020 Census

      By Kevin Daley - A federal judge in New York barred the Trump administration from including a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire. The decision appears to have significant implications for a related matter the Supreme Court is poised to decide in the spring. “The attempts by the Trump administration to mandate a question about citizenship were not rooted in a desire to strengthen the census process and would only undermine our immigrant communities,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Inciting fear in our residents is not only immoral, but also ill-conceived.” The Constitution mandates a census every ten years to apportion seats in the House of Representatives among the states. Population is also used as a basis for rewarding federal aid. A coalition of Democratic cities, states, and interest groups challenged the addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire in April 2018, warning it would discourage minority participation. An incomplete survey of minority populations, the plaintiffs feared, would result in diminished federal funds and congressional representation for urban areas. The plaintiffs charged that the addition of the citizenship question violated the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a federal law establishing protocols for the issuance of regulations. In his Tuesday decision, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman accepted the plaintiffs’ APA claims while rejecting their constitutional arguments. “[Ross] failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices — a veritable smorgasbord of classic, clear-cut APA violations,” Furman wrote. Elsewhere in the decision, Furman said Ross was not truthful about his motives for adding a citizenship question. Though the secretary initially said publicly that the question was added at the request of the Department of Justice, subsequent evidence showed Ross discussed the matter with White House aides far earlier than initially understood. “Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, the evidence is clear that Secretary Ross’s rationale was pretextual — that is, that the real reason for his decision was something other than the sole reason he put forward in his memorandum,” Furman wrote. Former President Barack Obama elevated Furman to the federal bench in 2012. The plaintiffs sought a deposition from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a previous phase of the litigation. The Department of Commerce oversees the Census Bureau, and Ross himself authorized the addition of the citizenship question. Though Furman authorized the Ross deposition, the Supreme Court intervened to stop it in October 2018. Shortly thereafter in November 2018, the high court agreed to decide what evidence Furman could rely upon when making his decision. When plaintiffs challenge agency action in court, the agency itself generally turns over the body of documents and evidence it relied upon to make its decision. Those writings are called the administrative record. In most cases of this nature, the court will make its decision based only on the administrative record. However, Furman allowed the plaintiffs to gather evidence beyond the administrative record to challenge the citizenship question. The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether that decision was correct. The Justice Department may appeal Furman’s decision. 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 [email protected] Federal Judge Orders Removal Of Citizenship Question From 2020 Census is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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