Of the two sides, Twitter has so far been more aggressive in the discovery process for the case. The company has issued more than 84 subpoenas to uncover discussions that might prove that Mr. Musk soured on the acquisition because the economic downturn decreased his personal wealth. (Mr. Musk’s net worth still stands at $259 billion, according to Bloomberg.)

Twitter has sent subpoenas to Mr. Musk’s friends and associates, such as the former SpaceX board member Antonio Gracias and the entertainment executive Kristina Salen, to get insight into their group chats. The company has also summoned investors like Mr. Andreessen and Mr. Ellison, who agreed to pony up money so Mr. Musk could do the deal.

Mr. Musk himself has agreed to sift through every text he sent or received between Jan. 1 and July 8 for messages relevant to Twitter. His side’s subpoena total stands at more than 36 — including one to Mr. Dorsey — as Mr. Musk tries to show that Twitter lied about the number of inauthentic accounts on its platform, which he has cited as a reason to pull out of the deal.

Mr. Musk has demanded voluminous data from Twitter, including correspondence among its board members and years of account information. Last Thursday, the court granted Mr. Musk a limited set of 9,000 accounts that Twitter audited to determine how many bots were on the platform during a particular quarter. He has also subpoenaed the company’s bankers, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

But Mr. Musk has also shown his unhappiness over Twitter’s attempts to obtain his group chats. This month, his lawyers tried limiting the company’s inquiries, saying they did not plan to turn over messages from “friends and acquaintances with whom Mr. Musk may have had passing exchanges regarding Twitter.”

tweeted.

Mr. Sacks, another friend of Mr. Musk’s who worked with him at PayPal, responded to a subpoena from Twitter with a tweet that included an image of a Mad magazine cover featuring a giant middle finger.

In a court filing on Friday, Mr. Sacks’s lawyers, who filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, said he had produced 90 documents for Twitter so far. They accused the company of “harassing” Mr. Sacks and creating “significant” legal bills for him by subpoenaing him in California and Delaware.

A lawyer for Mr. Sacks did not respond to a request for comment.

Kathaleen McCormick, the judge overseeing the case, has largely waved off Mr. Musk’s objections about the subpoenas to his friends. Mr. Musk’s conduct in discovery “has been suboptimal,” and his requests for years of data were “absurdly broad” she wrote in rulings last week.

“Defendants cannot refuse to respond to a discovery request because they have unilaterally deemed the request irrelevant,” Ms. McCormick wrote. “Even assuming that Musk has many friends and family members, Defendants’ breadth, burden, and proportionality arguments ring hollow.”

Ed Zimmerman, a lawyer who represents start-ups and venture capitalists, said it wasn’t surprising that Silicon Valley techies appeared unwilling to be drawn into the case. The venture industry has long operated with little regulatory oversight. Investors have only begrudgingly become more accustomed to legal processes as their industry has fallen under more scrutiny, he said.

“Venture for so long has been very accustomed to being an outsider thing,” he said. “We didn’t have to focus on following all the rules, and there wasn’t that much litigation.”

For law firms, Mr. Musk’s battle with Twitter has become a bonanza — especially financially.

“I’m sure they’re all hiring fancy high-end law firms,” Mr. Melkonian said. “Those guys are going to charge thousands of dollars per hour for preparation.”

That’s if you can find a lawyer at all. Between Mr. Musk and Twitter, they have sewn up a passel of top law firms.

Twitter has hired five law firms with expertise in corporate disputes and Delaware law: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Potter Anderson & Corroon; Ballard Spahr; Kobre & Kim; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Mr. Musk has retained a team of four firms: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; Chipman Brown Cicero & Cole; and Sheppard Mullin.

Other leading tech law firms — including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Perkins Coie, Baker McKenzie, and Fenwick & West — declined to comment, citing conflicts in the case.

Lawyers sitting on the sidelines probably feel left out, Mr. Zimmerman said. “If I were a trial lawyer in San Francisco, with a specialty of dealing with venture funds and the growth companies they invest in, there ought to be that FOMO,” he said, referring to the shorthand for the “fear of missing out.”

For those who have been tapped, the next several months are likely to be chaotic.

“For people who do this work, this is what we live for,” said Karen Dunn, a litigator for tech companies who has represented Apple and Uber, and who is not involved in the Twitter case. “It moves incredibly fast, it is all consuming.”

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Kansas Recount Confirms Results In Favor Of Abortion Rights

An unexpected turnout of voters on Aug. 2 rejected a ballot measure that would have removed protections for abortion rights from Kansas Constitution.

A decisive statewide vote in favor of abortion rights in traditionally conservative Kansas was confirmed with a partial hand recount, with fewer than 100 votes changing after the last county reported results Sunday.

Nine of the state’s 105 counties recounted their votes at the request of Melissa Leavitt, who has pushed for tighter election laws. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Mark Gietzen, is covering most of the costs. Gietzen acknowledged in an interview that it was unlikely to change the outcome.

A no vote in the referendum signaled a desire to keep existing abortion protections and a yes vote was for allowing the Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortion. After the recounts, “no” votes lost 87 votes and “yes” gained 6 votes.

Eight of the counties reported their results by the state’s Saturday deadline, but Sedgwick County delayed releasing its final count until Sunday because spokeswoman Nicole Gibbs said some of the ballots weren’t separated into the correct precincts during the initial recount and had to be resorted Saturday. She said the number of votes cast overall didn’t change.

A larger than expected turnout of voters on Aug. 2 rejected a ballot measure that would have removed protections for abortion rights from the Kansas Constitution and given to the Legislature the right to further restrict or ban abortion. It failed by 18 percentage points, or 165,000 votes statewide.

The vote drew broad attention because it was the first state referendum on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Gietzen, of Wichita, and Leavitt, of Colby, in far northwestern Kansas, have both suggested there might have been problems without pointing to many examples.

Recounts increasingly are tools to encourage supporters of a candidate or cause to believe an election was stolen rather than lost. A wave of candidates who have echoed former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was rigged have called for recounts after losing their own Republican primaries.

Kansas law requires a recount if those who ask for it prove they can cover the counties’ costs. The counties pay only if the outcome changes.

Leavitt and Gietzen provided credit cards to pay for the nearly $120,000 cost, according to the secretary of state’s office. Leavitt has an online fundraising page. Gietzen also said he is getting donations from a network built over three decades in the anti-abortion movement.

Gietzen said Sunday he doesn’t accept the results of the Sedgwick County recount because of the discrepancy about the way the ballots were sorted and because some of the recount happened Saturday without outside observers present to watch.

“We still don’t know what happened in Sedgwick County. I won’t pay for Sedgwick County,” he said.

He said he’s also concerned about the results statewide because of a report out of Cherokee county in southeast Kansas about the results of one county election being transposed between two candidates when the results were transferred on a thumb drive from one voting machine to a tabulating machine.

Gietzen said he plans to file a lawsuit Monday seeking a full statewide recall.

Gietzen said he won’t publicly report the names of private donors helping him finance the recount, even though a state ethics official says it’s required. Gietzen, who leads a small GOP group, the Kansas Republican Assembly, argues that he’s not campaigning for the anti-abortion measure but is instead promoting election integrity.

Votes were recounted in Douglas County, home to the University of Kansas’ main campus; Johnson County, in suburban Kansas City; Sedgwick County, home to Wichita, Shawnee County, home to Topeka; and Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas counties. Abortion opponents lost all of those counties except Thomas.

In Jefferson County, the margin remained the same, with the pro- and anti-amendment totals declining by four votes each. Linda Buttron, the county clerk, blamed the change on things like ovals not being darkened and “the challenges of hand counting ballots.”

In Lyon County, the anti-amendment group lost a vote. County Clerk and Election Officer Tammy Vopat said she wasn’t sure the reason. But she noted: “You have to factor in human error.”

Johnson County, the most populous in Kansas, faced the biggest recounting challenge because it had the most ballots. It pulled in workers from different departments to help. The sorting process took so long that the actual counting didn’t begin until Thursday afternoon.

“This is almost like doing an Ironman triathlon and having to add on another marathon at the end,” said Fred Sherman, the county’s Election Commissioner. “So it is quite a gargantuan process.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Panel Rules DOJ Improperly Withheld Memo In Russia Probe

By Associated Press
August 19, 2022

The memo was prepared to evaluate whether evidence in Robert Mueller’s investigation could support an obstruction of justice prosecution of Trump.

The Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr improperly withheld portions of an internal memorandum Barr cited in publicly announcing that then-President Donald Trump had not committed obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation, a federal appeals panel said Friday.

The department had argued that the 2019 memo represented the private deliberations of its own lawyers before any decision had been formalized, and was therefore exempt from disclosure. A federal judge previously disagreed, ordering the Justice Department to provide it to a government transparency group that had sued for it, prompting an appeal last year by the Biden administration to a higher court.

Attorneys for the Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to an email message seeking comment on the ruling. The department can appeal the ruling to the full court.

At issue in the case is a March 24, 2019, memorandum from the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, or OLC, and another senior department official that was prepared for Barr to evaluate whether evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could support an obstruction of justice prosecution of the president.

Barr has said that he looked to that opinion in concluding that Trump did not illegally obstruct the Russia probe.

The Justice Department turned over other documents to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as part of the group’s lawsuit, but declined to give it the memo. Government lawyers said they were entitled under public records law to withhold the memo because it reflected internal deliberations among lawyers before any formal decision had been reached on what Mueller’s evidence showed.

But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said last year that those arguments were disingenuous because the memo was prepared for Barr at about the same time as a separate Justice Department letter informing Congress and the public that Barr and other senior department leaders concluded that Trump had not obstructed justice.

She said the memo could therefore not have been “predecisional” in nature if the Justice Department had already decided that there would be no obstruction case.

The government said it had indeed already concluded that there would be no obstruction prosecution since Justice Department legal opinions say a sitting president cannot be indicted. But it said the memo concerned a separate issue: whether the evidence Mueller had collected could support a conclusion that Trump had obstructed justice.

In its ruling Friday, the appellate panel wrote that, had Justice Department officials made clear to the court that the memo related to Barr’s decision on making a public statement about the report, rulings in the case may have been different.

“Because the Department did not tie the memorandum to deliberations about the relevant decision, the Department failed to justify its reliance on the deliberative-process privilege,” according to the ruling, by an unsigned panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Barr and other senior officials concluded that Trump’s actions didn’t amount to obstruction, and the attorney general shared that assessment with Congress soon after the memo was complete. Mueller’s team did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice.

Appellate judges also noted that their ruling was “narrow,” saying that it should not be interpreted to “call into question any of our precedents permitting agencies to withhold draft documents related to public messaging.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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How The Supreme Court Became What It Is Today

America’s approval of the highest court in the land is declining, and how was the U.S. Supreme Court created.

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. 

And its rulings have shaped the United States for over two centuries. 

Some recent decisions have put a spotlight on the high court. 

In June The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade prompted widespread responses. 

“The court is literally taking America back 150 years. It’s a sad day for the country in my view,” said President Joe Biden. 

“It’s not only a huge victory for innocent life. It is a historic triumph for the rule of law itself,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

The decision wiped away the 1973 ruling and handed jurisdiction over abortion back to individual states.  

From coast to coast, the reversal drew celebration from some, and protests from others.  

But it wasn’t the only blockbuster decision in the high court’s latest term. 

The nine justices struck down a New York concealed carry law that aimed to limit guns in public. 

It also decided the Environmental Protection Agency could not regulate carbon emissions from power plants.  

And it voted in favor of a former high school football coach and gave him the right to publicly pray on the field after games. 

All were sweeping decisions that cemented the court’s 6-3 conservative majority. 

It comes as polling has found public approval is at an all-time low.  

Only 25% of Americans have confidence in the Supreme Court, according to Gallup.  

That’s a dive of more than 10% compared to the same time last year.  

Precedent has played a crucial role in the Supreme Court since it took shape in 1789. 

Its first assembly happened a year later during President George Washington’s time in office. 

The Judiciary Act of 1789 established an early version of the three-tiered federal court system of district courts, circuit courts and the Supreme Court.  

And the court’s more than 230 year legacy largely remains in its original form, despite a few amendments. 

Six men made up the nation’s first Supreme Court. 

Five associate justices and the first Chief Justice, John Jay, whom President Washington picked for the job. 

The president nominates justices, but Congress decides how many justices are on the bench. 

That number changed a total of six times before lawmakers settled on the current nine justice makeup in 1869. 

Following the most recent term, several progressive Democrats want to expand the court to 13 justices. 

“We need to expand the Supreme Court and here’s why: for decades, the Republican party has been chipping away at the foundation of our democracy. They use broken rules like the filibuster and the Electoral College to control the White House and Congress,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren.  

But an NPR-Marist Poll in June found a majority of Americans oppose adding more justices to the bench. 

Only about one third backed an expansion. 

The Senate is responsible for confirming the president’s Supreme Court nominees. 

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee, became the first Black female woman on the bench in late June. 

When sworn in, justices are appointed for life. 

The Constitution says “to ensure an independent judiciary and to protect judges from partisan pressures, the Constitution provides that judges serve during “good behavior,” which generally means until justices retire or die.  

However, the Constitution does not specify qualifications for justices.   

The Supreme Court says they can be any age, have any education or profession. 

A justice doesn’t even have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate. 

But historically, all have been trained in the law. 

Unlike other court figures, the U.S. Supreme Court is the only judicial body in the country that does not have to follow an ethics code.  

But they aren’t really allowed to act unethically. If they do, that could result in impeachment.  

There is a statute that requires justices to recuse themselves from a case if there’s a conflict of interest. 

Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution gave the U.S. Supreme Court jurisdiction over all U.S. laws, especially in cases that involve a law’s constitutionality.  

It has the power to decide appeals on all cases brought in federal court or in state court if they deal with federal law.  

Of the 7,000 to 8,000 petitions, they get each session, they choose about 100 cases to review.  

The court’s term begins in October, and the justices will hear oral arguments for the next seven months. 

In those hearings, lawyers for each side lay out their legal case.  

The court will typically discuss the cases with their law clerks to identify different views and form an idea of how they’ll vote. 

The justices then hold private conferences to decide the case.  

Supreme Court protocol says all justices have an opportunity to share their views without interruptions.  

The justices speak in order of seniority, starting with current Chief Justice John Roberts.  

Once the votes are in, the most senior justice in the majority and minority decides who will write the court’s opinion.  

Those opinions don’t become final until the ruling is made available to the public. 

Justices have long held true to confidentiality and are not subject to the federal “Freedom of Information Act.” 

Oral arguments have never been televised.  

And it wasn’t until 2020 that the court began offering live audio from inside the courtroom. 

But despite any controversy around a case, the court pledges to uphold its ultimate responsibility, the one written above the court’s main entrance in Washington: “equal justice under law.”  

Source: newsy.com

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FDA Allows New Monkeypox Vaccination Method To Maximize Supply

The Jynneos vaccine can now be administered between layers of skin instead of underneath layers, allowing for a smaller dose.

The FDA is allowing a new vaccination method for monkeypox to stretch the vaccine supply.

“This will increase the total number of doses available for use by up to five fold,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said.

“It’s safe, it’s effective and it will significantly scale the volume of vaccine doses available for communities across the country,” said Bob Fenton, White House monkeypox response coordinator.

Now providers can inject vaccine in between layers of the skin instead of completely underneath the skin. By doing so, they can use just one-fifth the dose they use in the traditional method and get many more vaccinations out of a single vial. 

“For those who have delayed their second dose, we would encourage them, with now an increased supply, to go ahead and get it,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

In Los Angeles, health workers are setting up vaccination sites wherever they can, making more shots available to people who have already been waiting for one.

“We’re excited because we are bringing the vaccine to places where people live and work who might be at high risk for exposure, so making it easier for people to access the monkeypox vaccine if they need it,” said Andrea Kim, with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

It’s a welcome scene to those afraid of exposure, especially among men who have sex with men — a population disproportionately impacted by the virus.

“I would say the community right now is pretty scared, unnerved,” said Jack Dillon, a monkeypox vaccine recipient. “A lot of my friends are really like remaining celibate right now.”

Across the country, almost 9,500 people have confirmed cases of the virus, with most of them having a median age of 35 years old.

“Monkeypox is not an STD, although sex is a route of transmission, but it’s not the primary route,” said Arthur Caplan, NYU Grossman School of Medicine medical ethics director. “It’s really skin contact, prolonged skin contact or getting it from, like we’re saying, towels or sheets.”

Of the patients reporting sexual activity, 99% were men having sex with men.

“This isn’t a gay men’s disease,” Caplan said. “It’s in Africa. In many people who are heterosexual, we’ve seen transmission to kids. There are bisexual people out there who definitely could transmit it to others. It’s not necessarily just because they’re gay, but the disease affected that group first. It just got into that population first.”

With the FDA also authorizing vaccination for high-risk people under 18 years old, parents are questioning how concerned they should be about their kids getting sick.

“Having cases, or even exposures, in children is relatively rare,” Dr. Walensky said. “We investigate those. Should they be real exposures, we want to make sure that they have vaccine available to them.”

Changing how the shots are given is a critical step in maximizing that supply. 

Source: newsy.com

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Indiana Becomes 1st State To Approve Abortion Ban Since Roe Reversal

By Maura Sirianni
August 6, 2022

Under the bill, all abortion clinics would lose their licenses, and abortions will be performed only in hospitals.

Indiana has approved a near-total ban on abortions, that will take effect next month. Making the state the first in the nation to pass sweeping abortion restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced late Friday that he had signed Senate Bill 1, a measure that would ban abortions in the state, with few exceptions. The vote in Indiana Statehouse followed an emotional, and at times contentious, debate.

Much of the debate was over whether to remove language exempting rape and incest victims from forced childbirth. 

Lawmakers ultimately voted to keep some exceptions: Abortions would be permitted in cases of rape, incest, and for when the life of the pregnant person or fetus is at risk.

Politicians on both sides, noted the time crunch they were under to consider such a difficult topic.

“Indiana is one of the most dangerous states in the nation for pregnant women,” said Rep. Robin Shackleford.

“People who don’t want to accept what the Bible has to say … I want to defer to science because science clearly says that human life begins at conception,” said Rep. John Jacob.

“In this chamber, 73% of you will never know that aftermath of trauma or pregnancy or just the possibility of pregnancy after a rape; and yet we’re all voting,” said Rep. Ann Vermilion.

Particular attention has been placed on Indiana, after the story of a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who traveled to a hospital in Indianapolis to receive abortion care and created a political firestorm.

Earlier this week, the doctor who performed the child’s abortion took to Twitter, blasting the bill as it made its way through the general assembly. She said, in part:

“I am deeply disturbed by the bill being considered by the Indiana legislature. I’ve practiced medicine for 12 years and follow a code of ethics, so I know medicine is not about exceptions. Every person deserves to have equal access to the best medical care.”

On Saturday, the Biden administration expressed sharp disapproval of Indiana’s bill. President Joe Biden signed an executive order supporting individuals traveling out of state for an abortion, on Tuesday.

Leading up to the decision in Indiana, several thousand people lined the sidewalks outside Indiana Statehouse corridors.

Some angered…

“I’m a nurse, and abortion is health care, abortion saves lives, and we need to continue to health care as women,” said Cami Keltch, a pro-abortion protester.

Others praising lawmakers who were in favor of passing the harsh new legislation.

“First and foremost, I’m a Christian. And so, I see a lot of people that don’t have hope and I’m praying for them,” said Emily Wamsley, an anti-abortion rights protester.

Indiana’s Senate Bill 1 replaces the state’s current 22-week abortion ban. The new near-total abortion ban is set to take effect September 15.

Source: newsy.com

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Sunak And Truss Face Runoff To Become U.K.’s Next Prime Minister

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
July 20, 2022

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the two finalists campaigning to replace current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who resigned after months of scandals.

Britain’s Conservative Party chose former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss — a fiscal moderate and a low-tax crusader — as the two finalists in an election to replace departing Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The result came on the day the divisive, unrepentant Johnson ended his final appearance in Parliament as prime minister with the words “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Sunak and Truss came first and second respectively in a secret vote by Conservative lawmakers. Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt came in third and was eliminated.

The race, which has already produced bitter Conservative infighting, pits Sunak, who steered Britain’s economy through the pandemic before quitting Johnson’s government this month, against Truss, who has led the U.K.’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two contenders will spend the next few weeks campaigning for the votes of about 180,000 Conservative Party members around the country, who will vote by postal or online ballot. The winner of the party leadership vote will be announced Sept. 5 and will automatically become Britain’s next prime minister.

Sunak won all four rounds of elimination votes by lawmakers, but is less popular with the party’s grassroots, partly because of his previous job as Britain’s chief taxman.

Truss, who has taken a tough line against Russian President Vladimir Putin — and with the European Union — is a favorite of the Conservatives’ right-wing.

Truss said if she becomes prime minister “I would hit the ground running from day one, unite the party and govern in line with Conservative values.”

Sunak’s campaign said “the choice for members is very simple: who is the best person to beat Labour at the next election? The evidence shows that’s Rishi.”

The winner of the Tory contest will not have to face Britain’s general electorate until 2024, unless they choose to call an early general election.

The campaign has already exposed deep divisions in the Conservative Party at the end of Johnson’s scandal-tarnished three-year reign. Truss has branded Sunak a “socialist” for raising taxes in response to the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Sunak has hit back, saying that rivals including Truss were peddling economic “fairy tales” to British voters as the country faces soaring inflation and economic turbulence.

Johnson allies have been accused of lobbying against Sunak, whose resignation helped bring the prime minister down, and in favor of Truss, who remained loyal. That impression was cemented Wednesday when Johnson said his advice to his successor would be not always to listen to the Treasury.

All the contenders —- there were 11 to start — sought to distance themselves from Johnson, whose term in office began boldly in 2019 with a vow to “get Brexit done” and a resounding election victory, but is now ending in disgrace.

Johnson quit July 7 after months of ethics scandals but remains caretaker leader until the party elects his successor.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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The Effect Of Transgender Athlete Bans On Youth Sports

The criticism of transgender women participating in and winning sports competition can have an effect on the mental health of all ages of athletes.

As much of the nation prepares to go back to school, new laws banning transgender athletes from women’s and girls’ sports teams are moving from debates at the statehouse to taking effect on the field in states like Tennessee, Indiana, South Dakota and Utah.

This is a sensitive subject, and this story includes discussions about mental illness and suicide, as well as transphobic concepts and misgendering of transgender people.

These new state-level bans fit into a broader trend that has been at just about all levels of athletics — from state legislatures to international sports governing bodies, where new laws and rules have been written to exclude transgender people from sports that line up with their gender.

So now that these laws are actually taking effect, what will the impact be for the athletes and the sports they play?

Starting with international sports, although the International Olympic Committee has allowed transgender athletes to compete in the Olympics since 2004, it took until last year’s Tokyo Olympics for there to even be any openly transgender athletes competing in any sport at the Olympics.

Although one transgender athlete assigned female at birth won a gold medal with Canada’s women’s soccer team, no transgender athlete has medaled in an individual competition.

If you’re an athlete, transitioning can take a toll on your body — something that transgender athlete performance researcher and distance runner Joanna Harper saw both in her research and firsthand. 

“One of the most important things in my development was the change in speed that I experienced after I started hormone therapy in August of 2004,” Harper said. “Within nine months of starting hormone therapy, I was running 12% slower, and that’s the difference between serious male distance runners and serious female distance runners.”

But as transgender women participate and win sports competitions, it’s gotten some people upset and claiming they have an unfair advantage. 

There isn’t much evidence out there yet that quantifies how much of an advantage transgender women athletes may have, but she told us that regardless of gender at the highest levels of competition, there’s nuance and a middle ground here that can vary depending on the sport.

“The fact that we don’t know the magnitude of that advantage, which is also extremely important because we allow advantages in sport, what we don’t allow is overwhelming advantage,” Harper said. “For instance, we let left-handed baseball players play against right handed baseball players, even though they have numerous advantages, but we don’t let heavyweight boxers get into the ring with with flyweight boxers.”

Policies have often varied sport to sport to ensure transgender athletes can compete but without the potentially overwhelming advantage of naturally higher testosterone, which can allow some transgender athletes to compete but exclude others, including intersex women who actually aren’t transgender. 

Many sports governing bodies or leagues have required testosterone levels to be below certain levels or requiring a certain amount of time to pass after transitioning, and transgender athletes themselves have proposed middle ground options. After Brazilian volleyball player Tifanny Abreu started to play on a women’s team after her transition, she suggested quotas limiting the number of transgender women per team.

But even though the IOC put out a call earlier this year for sports governing bodies to make transgender athlete policies with inclusion in mind, most of the recent sporting rule changes have headed more toward exclusion.

Lia Thomas, the transgender female swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania set records at the Ivy League women’s swimming competitions and won the NCAA Division I championship in the 500-yard freestyle. Swimming’s international governing body FINA issued new, stricter rules in June banning transgender women who transitioned after the age of 12 from competing, just a few months after Thomas’ success led to outcry from some swimmers and media voices. Other sports are expected to follow FINA’s lead and exclude most Transgender women.

Thomas has still faced hate and vitriol online, even as she’s now banned from swimming at NCAA or international women’s swimming competitions. But while Thomas won one major competition, she wasn’t dominating and was still trailed behind the best cisgender swimmers.

The NCAA record in the women’s 500-yard freestyle was set by multi-time Olympic gold medal winner Katie Ledecky, who swam it in 4 minutes and 24.06 seconds in 2017.

Meanwhile, Thomas’ championship winning time in 2022 was more than nine seconds slower, at 4 minutes and 33.24 seconds.

It’s not just swimming where transgender athletes, especially those who win in women’s sports, face attacks.

Veronica Ivy is a competitive track cyclist and a transgender woman. She earned a PhD in philosophy and has done years of research on the ethics around transgender inclusion in sports.

She also received hateful messages after winning an age group championship in 2019, but she sees sports as her outlet.

“Facetiously, one of my favorite mugs says, ‘I ride to burn off the crazy,'” Ivy said. “It is a way that I manage things like depression and anxiety and the PTSD I get from people harassing me and sending me death threats.”

That contention over trans inclusion can seep down to lower levels of sports, and that can have an effect on younger athletes.

“Sports are absolutely vital for kids to feel included, to feel a sense of community, to develop critical life skills like leadership, like ability to communicate with folks who are different from you,” said Anne Lieberman, director of policy and programs at Athlete Ally. “There are so many very clear benefits of sports participation for youth that are in hundreds of studies.”

Lieberman is a three-time national champion muay thai fighter. They had personal childhood experience with inclusion in sports making a difference.

“Sports was one of the only places where I felt like myself, where the bullying stopped, where everything just fell away for a moment and I could be in my body,” Lieberman said. “I could be connected with my peers and feel like I was just like any other kid.”

That inclusion can make all the difference for transgender youth, who report higher rates of anxiety, depression and mental health issues. A 2022 study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence found that 86% of transgender youth surveyed reported being suicidal, and more than half, 56%, reported they previously tried committing suicide.

But even as youth sports come with lower stakes, Republican legislators see transgender athletes as a threat.

“This is fundamentally about fairness,” State Rep. Ryan Dotson, (R) Kentucky, said. “It ensures that both biological females and biological males have a level playing field. We don’t want to deprive any of the females of these opportunities.”

Kentucky passed legislation banning transgender girls from competing in youth sports over the Democratic governor’s veto. Since the ban took effect, at least one female athlete hasn’t been able to compete.

As of July, 18 states, including Kentucky, have passed similar bills. Republican governors in Indiana and Utah also saw legislators override them.

But in Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox issued a statement along with his veto pointing out that out of 75,000 kids playing high school sports in Utah, four are transgender, and only one transgender student played in girls’ sports.

In Kansas, Republican legislators were blocked from implementing a ban on transgender athletes. Stephanie Byers, a Democratic state representative in Kansas who is the first Native American transgender state legislator, voted and testified against the bill. She told Newsy that in Kansas, where the same commission governs both athletic and non-athletic school competitions, the only person seeking recognition as a transgender girl, wasn’t even looking to compete in a sport.

“So in the state of Kansas, it’s estimated there are 37,000 girls in athletics and the high school level here in the state,” Byers said. “The number of people that had applied to the Kansas State High School Activities Association for a variance on gender — this year we’re seven, six for trans guys. One was a trans girl, and that one trans girl that applied for the variance. I know it wasn’t because of athletics, it was because of other activities that are sponsored by the Kent State as collective association.”

This all fits into a broader context. Transgender people aren’t just being targeted by laws about sports. 27 states considered laws limiting transgender people’s access to healthcare in 2020 and 2021, including Arkansas and Alabama, which enacted their bans into law.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state to investigate parents who help their transgender children get health care as potential child abusers.

In Florida, the Parents Rights in Education bill often labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, took effect this July and leads to school districts facing the risk of lawsuits if transgender identities are discussed in the classroom before fourth grade. 

Transgender athletes and advocates say laws like this or athlete bans can dehumanize transgender people and that so many of these laws or efforts to debate transgender inclusion can be addressed by remembering the human effects.

“To take that away from fragile children is so unbelievably cruel, in my view,” Ivy said. “I do believe that these people passing these laws, the cruelty is the point. They don’t care about protecting women’s sport; they just want to be cruel to trans kids.”

These laws can affect transgender people off the field too. 

“Even that kid has no want whatsoever to ever be in athletics,” Byers said. “They still feel these things because it’s still attacking somebody like them, so that trans girl that nobody knows about, who’s not even had the courage to sit down and talk with their parents or they live in a household, that that there’s no support going to be there no matter what. They’re the ones that feel this to.”

Source: newsy.com

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Factbox: The many scandals of Boris Johnson’s premiership

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses parliament on the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, G7 and NATO summits, at the House of Commons in London, Britain July 4, 2022. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

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LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Boris Johnson will announce his resignation as British Prime Minister on Thursday, a government source said, after he was abandoned by ministers and his Conservative Party’s lawmakers who said he was no longer fit to govern.

After days of battling for his job, Johnson had been abandoned by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him. read more

Below are some of the scandals that have hurt Johnson politically:

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THE PINCHER AFFAIR

Mass resignations from the government this week followed accusations by a senior former civil servant that Johnson’s office gave false information about past sexual harassment allegations against lawmaker Christopher Pincher.

In February, Johnson appointed Pincher deputy chief whip, giving him responsibility for the wellbeing of other Conservative lawmakers. Last week, Pincher was suspended from the party after acknowledging he had made other people uncomfortable during a drunken night out. It subsequently emerged that Pincher had been the subject of past sexual harassment allegations.

Johnson’s office initially said the prime minister had been unaware of specific past allegations against Pincher. However, on Monday, senior former civil servant Simon McDonald wrote a letter saying he had investigated the allegations in 2019 and had upheld the complaints.

“PARTYGATE”

The term “Partygate” was coined to refer to a scandal over parties held in government, including in Johnson’s own Downing Street office, which were found to have violated strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.

Johnson himself was fined by police for attending a birthday party, and was forced to apologise to Queen Elizabeth after it emerged staff had partied in Downing Street on the eve of her husband Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021. She had been seated alone at the funeral because mixing indoors was banned.

A report by a senior civil servant gave a damning account on a series of illegal lockdown parties, detailing instances of staff’s excessive alcohol consumption and vomiting.

Parliament is still investigating whether Johnson misled lawmakers on repeated occasions when he denied being aware of illegal parties. Johnson says he sincerely believed at the time that gatherings did not break the law, but accepts now that he was mistaken.

OTHER SEX SCANDALS

Johnson’s Conservatives have been hit by other scandals of lawmakers accused of sexual improprieties, including two that led to lawmakers resigning. In both cases, the Conservatives lost special elections held last month to replace them.

Conservative lawmaker Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being found guilty of having sexually abused a 15-year-old boy. Neil Parish, another Conservative lawmaker, resigned after admitting he watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons twice, in “a moment of madness”. read more

Another Conservative lawmaker has been arrested on suspicion of rape, sexual assault and other offences. The lawmaker was bailed in May and has not been identified in the media to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

OWEN PATERSON AFFAIR

Last year, parliament’s standards committee recommended suspending Conservative lawmaker and former minister Owen Paterson for 30 days after finding he had committed an “egregious case of paid advocacy” by lobbying on behalf of companies that paid him. read more

The Conservatives initially voted in parliament to halt Paterson’s suspension and overhaul the process of investigating lawmakers. After damaging headlines, Paterson resigned and the government abandoned the proposed changes. The Conservatives lost the election to fill Paterson’s seat.

PROBE ON REFURBISHMENT

After a refurbishment of Johnson’s Downing Street flat – led by a celebrity designer and including gold wallpaper – Britain’s electoral commission fined the Conservatives 17,800 pounds for failing to accurately report a donation to pay for it.

Johnson’s ethics adviser later criticised the prime minister for failing to disclose some messages exchanged with the donor. However, he concluded that Johnson had not intentionally lied about the messages. read more

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Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Alistair Smout and Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Peter Graff and Catherine Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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