‘No open debate’: Blue state judge removes controversial ballot initiative after backlash over parents’ rights

The controversial Equal Rights Amendment, which was on the ballot for the November elections in New York, has been tossed by a judge on procedural grounds.The ruling is a victory for Republicans and opponents of the bill who say it was written too broadly and could trample parents’ rights when it comes to decisions like children receiving gender-affirming procedures.The ERA was a rapid response by New York Democrats to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022. The amendment passed both houses of the New York legislature in a special session just one week after the Dobbs decision was rendered.The amendment, which advocates say is meant to enshrine women’s right to abortion in the Empire State, was passed so quickly that a judge in Livingston County determined the legislation was fatally flawed due to a procedural mistake.NY BALLOT INITIATIVE COULD BLOCK PARENTS FROM SAY IN CHILD’S TRANS SURGERY, CRITICS WARN IN FIERY CAMPAIGNBobbie Anne Cox, the attorney who sued the legislature to stop the referendum, said, “They put forth this amendment to the constitution. There was no open debate. There was no public hearings, there was nothing.””They referred it to the AG that day, but then they voted that same day. They didn’t even wait one day,” Cox continued.The New York constitution requires that a proposed amendment must be presented to the attorney general to ensure that the proposal is not in conflict with other provisions of the constitution. The AG has 20 days to respond.DOCTOR DEFENDS GIVING TRANSGENDER TREATMENTS TO 8- AND 10-YEAR-OLDS: ‘RESPECT KIDS AS INDIVIDUALS’Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Doyle declared the amendment “null and void” because the Democrats did not wait for the AG’s analysis.”For them to violate the constitution and to want to do that in order to change the constitution is not acceptable, in fact it’s dangerous for the people, for the citizens,” Cox said.Following the decision, Democrats have promised an appeal. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement, “Our decades-long fight to protect equality and reproductive freedom will not be thrown off track by one extremist judge and I look forward to casting my ballot for the Equal Rights Amendment in November.”GENDER DYSPHORIA GROWING AMONG YOUNGER ADULTS AMID ‘INCREASING ACCEPTANCE,’ STUDY FINDSOpponents of the amendment include former House Republican John Faso, who praised the decision to toss the referendum, calling the amendment “a cynical maneuver to try to boost [voter] turnout based on a false premise that abortion is at risk.”Faso pointed to the legislature’s adoption of abortion rights legislation in 1970. He said the ERA goes far beyond guaranteeing a right to abortion.”It would, for instance, give a minor a right to so-called gender-affirming care, puberty blockers even surgeries, without permission, without consent of their parents,” Faso said.”It would also, for instance, say that biological males could compete on girls sports teams,” he added.”Any decent lawyer will take one look at the Proposition One language and say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,” Greg Garvey, the executive director of the Coalition to Protect Kids – New York, a group “dedicated to defeating the Equal Rights Amendment,” said in a statement to Fox News Digital.”This ballot initiative is written so broadly and so poorly that it could cause irreparable harm to children and families,” he continued. “This is no soft-sounding equal rights amendment, it’s nothing less than the parent replacement act.”Democrat MaryJane Shimsky, a member of the New York State Assembly and advocate for the referendum, pushed back on opponents’ criticism, saying, “We need the ERA now precisely because of the extremists who would scapegoat children for political gain and the dangers their culture wars are creating in our communities.””New Yorkers know that we are stronger together and when we stand up for each other,” Shimsky continued. “Should the ERA proposition be restored to the ballot, I expect that it will pass with broad popular support.”New York Senate leadership did not respond to Fox Digital’s request for comment.
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DOJ’s Inspector General takes heat for allegedly ‘targeting political opponents’

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Justice Department is coming under fire after reports that some of its personnel have an apparent political bias against the targets of their investigations. The OIG says its mission is to “detect and deter fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct by conducting objective, independent, and impactful oversight of the Department, its programs, and the conduct of its personnel.” OIG personnel are non-political employees and do not shift with changes to the executive branch. Inspector General Michael Horowitz was confirmed by the Senate in 2012.However, recent reporting and documents reviewed by Fox News Digital reveal that some OIG personnel, including ones responsible for overseeing investigations into Trump administration political appointees, appear to have partisan bias.IRS WHISTLEBLOWER SHAPLEY SAID HE ‘COULD NO LONGER PURSUE’ HUNTER BIDEN SUGAR BROTHER KEVIN MORRIS DUE TO CIAAmerica First Legal (AFL) on Wednesday sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DOJ to investigate the “existence of politically motivated employees in positions that demand impartiality.” “The Department’s Office of Inspector General itself describes that ‘[i]n light of today’s wide-spread lack of trust and negative views of government, a key facet of the Department’s challenge of strengthening public trust is ensuring that DOJ personnel fulfill their duties without any actual or perceived political influence or partisan consideration,’” the FOIA request states. “Despite this unambiguous obligation to avoid the appearance of political or partisan considerations, there is evidence that the Office of the Inspector General is deeply infected with partisan actors,” it says.According to documents reviewed by Fox News Digital, one OIG attorney, Deborah Falk Zerwitz, has donated 35 times to Democrats or Democrat-linked entities since 2007, totaling $6,466.DOJ URGED TO ‘TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION’ TO PROSECUTE MICHAEL COHEN OVER STRING OF ALLEGED LIESZerwitz is currently overseeing OIG’s investigation into the department’s 2020 probe into deaths in state-run nursing homes in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania. On her X account, Zerwitz “liked” dozens of political posts including disparaging posts about then-Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump appointees, including one post saying all White House lawyers drafting executive orders should be “disbarred,” and one accusing Barr of promoting a “myth of unaccountable career prosecutor.” Another post she appeared to have “liked” said, “We need to send Donald Trump packing, but we can’t stop there. We need to boot his Republican enablers out of office — at every level of government.”She also “liked” posts that referenced “Trump and his racist homophobic cult members,” and one that read “Attention QANON, MAGAT Fascists,” and ended with, “SO F— OFF.”  She also liked a post that accused Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of “eroding our democracy.”Jennifer Ramella, another OIG lawyer investigating DOJ’s nursing home death probe, donated 33 times between 2020 and 2022 to the Democratic PAC ActBlue, totaling over $300.Another is Christina Monta, a former OIG counsel who led the investigation into the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania’s probe into reports of potential issues with a few mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections in 2020.Monta, according to FEC data, made several contributions to ActBlue and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign, totaling $1,014.50 between 2019 and 2020.OBAMA STATE DEPT BLOCKED FBI FROM ARRESTING SUPPORTERS OF IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM IN US: EMAILSMonta was counsel in one of the first cases DOJ litigated to allow biological males into women’s bathrooms in 2015. She also joined the DOJ’s challenge of Texas’ voter ID law around the same time.”It is imperative that Americans learn whether these views persist within the Department of Justice, certainly meeting the Department’s standard that a ‘matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity that affect public confidence,’ especially as we approach a Presidential election,” AFL’s FOIA request states. “It is vital for our democracy and trust in government that those in government with duties to be impartial do not wield their power by targeting political opponents,” they said. A spokesperson for the OIG told Fox News Digital, “Consistent with the First Amendment, Citizens United, and federal law, the OIG respects the constitutional rights of its employees, and of all citizens.””The OIG’s work is fact-based and objective, as evidenced by our reports on FISA abuses, Operation Fast and Furious, and decades of other oversight. Our ongoing work meets the same standards,” the spokesperson said. In 2019, the OIG released a report on FISA abuses in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and outlined their investigation process: “As part of the standard practice in our reviews, we provided a draft copy of this report to the Department and the FBI to conduct a factual accuracy review. Also consistent with our standard practice, we contacted individuals who were interviewed as part of the review and whose conduct is addressed in this report, and certain other witnesses, to provide them an opportunity to review the portions of the report that pertain to their testimony to the OIG. With limited exceptions, these witnesses availed themselves of this opportunity, and we provided those who did conduct such a review with the opportunity to provide oral or written comments directly to the OIG concerning the portions they reviewed, consistent with rules to protect classified information.”The Civil Service Reform Act also prohibits OIG from discriminating against employees based on their political affiliations. Gene Hamilton, AFL executive director, said in a statement that, “if the ‘watchdog’ is a mere partisan bulldog, it does not deserve to exist.”
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EPA shoots down Alabama coal ash regulation proposal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected Alabama’s proposal to take over coal ash regulation, saying the state plan does not do enough to protect people and waterways.The agency said the state’s proposal was “significantly less protective” than required by federal regulations, and that it “does not require that groundwater contamination be adequately addressed during the closure of these coal ash units.””EPA is laser focused on protecting people from exposure to pollution, like coal ash, that can cause cancer risks and other serious health issues,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a news release.PETROCHEMICAL COMPANY FINED MORE THAN $30 MILLION FOR 2019 EXPLOSIONS NEAR HOUSTONCoal ash is what remains when coal is burned to generate electricity. Coal ash contains contaminants such as mercury, chromium and arsenic associated with cancer and other health problems. States can assume oversight of coal ash disposal but must meet minimum federal requirements.Alabama Department of Environmental Management spokeswoman M. Lynn Battle wrote in an email that the agency was reviewing the 174-page document and would comment later on the decision.The EPA warned last year that it was poised to reject Alabama’s program, citing deficiencies in Alabama’s permits for closure requirements of unlined surface impoundments, groundwater monitoring and required corrective actions.The Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups praised the decision.”Today marks a significant victory for every Alabamian who values clean water,” Cade Kistler of Mobile Baykeeper said in a statement. “The EPA’s final denial underscores what our communities have said all along — that leaving toxic coal ash in unlined leaking pits by our rivers is unacceptable.”
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul calls Trump supporters ‘clowns’ in her own ‘basket of deplorables’ moment

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul appeared to call Trump supporters “clowns” on Thursday during a media appearance ahead of the former president’s New York City rally in the Bronx. “Well, I’ll tell you what won’t make a difference at all, Jake, and that’s for Donald Trump to be a ringleader and invite all his clowns to a place like the Bronx,” ochul told CNN’s Jake Tapper.She continued, “New York will never, ever support Donald Trump for president. We know him better than anyone and that means we understand what he’s all about. He’s just for himself. So, this state will go solidly behind Joe Biden for president as it has in the past. So, if he wants to spend his time doing these made-up, fake rallies and pretending there’s support here, be my guest, because while you’re doing that, Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s out there on the other side making sure he’s delivering for all Americans.” In response to Hochul’s comments, the Trump campaign told Fox News Digital: “Kathy Hocul is just upset that President Trump is pulling crowds in her state that she could only dream of; and Democrats are in disarray because Americans, including Hispanics and Blacks, are waking up to the fact that Joe Biden and the Democrat Party have been using them for votes and ripping them off for decades.”TRUMP VOWS TO ‘SAVE’ DEEP-BLUE NEW YORK CITY IN MASSIVE, HISTORIC BRONX RALLYTrump, who has been in the state recently for his hush money trial, has said he thinks he has a good chance of winning the state in November despite the fact that it hasn’t voted Republican since 1984. A recent Siena College poll showed President Biden with just a nine-point lead over Trump (47% to 38%) in the state. Biden won the state handily in 2020 with 60.8%. Two years ago, Hochul also raised the ire of Republicans when she told GOP candidates in the state to “get out of town” and “head to Florida” where they belong.”We’re here to say that the era of Trump and Zeldin and Molinaro — just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong. Get out of town,” Hochul said in 2022. “You don’t represent our values.”The comments reminded some of Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” comments from a New York fundraiser in 2016.”You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said at the time. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHochul’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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Hill aide interferes with Fox News camera crew during Tlaib interview

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal” on Thursday during fiery remarks that grew more contentious when a Capitol Hill staffer used an umbrella to obstruct a Fox News cameraman who was filming the exchange.The unidentified aide is seen in video of the encounter repeatedly opening and closing his umbrella. The action interferes with the camera shot and at one point the umbrella seemingly makes contact with the operator, who witnesses say was hit in the face and upper body.The interaction occurred as Chad Pergram, Fox News Channel’s senior congressional correspondent, was asking Tlaib about Netanyahu potentially being asked to address members of Congress. The prospects for such an invite have gained momentum in the wake of the recent decision by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu, who has overseen Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The move by the ICC has drawn bipartisan ire, though Tlaib has been a consistent critic of Netanyahu.”What happens if Netanyahu comes to speak?” Pergram asks Tlaib in the video as the staffer opens the umbrella, obstructing the camera’s view and forcing Pergram to move.’SQUAD’ MEMBER REP TLAIB CALLS FOR NETANYAHU’S ARREST; GOP SENATORS WARN ICC OF SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS”Ms. Tlaib, what happens if Netanyahu comes to speak? Is that a mistake by the speaker to extend this request?” Pergram continues.The staffer is then seen closing the umbrella as Pergram asks Tlaib: “Would you attend? Would you protest in any form?”Tlaib answers, slamming Netanyahu and those who would consider inviting him to speak to Congress.”I don’t know, inviting a war criminal to Congress is a sham,” Tlaib says. “It’s shameful.”As she responds, the staffer steps between the cameraman and Pergram, who is still questioning Tlaib, and opens the umbrella again. The camera then pans wildly as the umbrella makes contact with the operator.”He hit me with an umbrella,” the cameraman is heard saying in the video.”I did not hit you with an umbrella,” the staffer responds.”We have it on video, guys. He hit him with an umbrella,” Pergram tells Tlaib and the aide. “That’s assault.”Tlaib and the aide continue on, walking past Capitol police officers and up the stairs into the Capitol.Tlaib’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.Her refusal to answer Pergram’s questions comes after House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., drafted an invitation for Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress. Johnson told reporters Thursday that he gave Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., an ultimatum: either sign on to the drafted invitation or the House will extend the invitation on its own.ZOOM CALL REVEALS ‘SQUAD’ DEMOCRAT’S MESSAGE TO ANTI-JEWISH AGITATORS AT UNIVERSITY ENCAMPMENT”My office told Sen. Schumer’s office yesterday that he needed to sign the joint letter, and if not, we were going to proceed and invite Netanyahu just to the House, and I’ll send individual invitations to senators,” Johnson said.An outspoken critic of Israel’s war with Hamas, Tlaib called for the arrest of Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials this month for what she called violations of the Genocide Convention under international law.In a May 7 press release, Tlaib called out the government of Israel for its ground operation in Rafah and lambasted continued U.S. aid given to the Jewish State.”It’s no coincidence that immediately after our government sent the Israeli apartheid regime over $14 billion with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights, Netanyahu began a ground invasion of Rafah to continue the genocide of Palestinians — with ammunition and bombs paid for by our tax dollars,” she said at the time. “Over 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, including over 600,000 children, are trapped in Rafah, living in makeshift tents, without food, clean water, sanitation, medicine, or any form of shelter.”Tlaib accused Israeli forces of killing more than 35,000 Palestinians and displacing families in Rafah, exposing them to more “unimaginable human suffering.”She also warned her constituents in the release that many of her colleagues would express concern over the “crimes against humanity” in Rafah, even though the same colleagues voted in favor of giving Netanyahu the means to do so.”Do not be misled, they gave their consent for these atrocities, and our country is actively participating in genocide,” Tlaib said. “For months, Netanyahu made his intent to invade Rafah clear, yet the majority of my colleagues and President Biden sent more weapons to enable the massacre.”She said Netanyahu will only stay in power as long as fighting continues, adding that the U.S. must stop funding Israel.Fox News Digital has reached out to Capitol Police for comment.Fox News’ Greg Wehner contributed to this report.
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