‘Free Britney’ Movement Sparks Demand for Conservatorship Reform From House Republicans
Pop music superstar Britney Spears’ ongoing legal battle over her conservatorship with her father, Jaime, has been on the forefront of entertainment news for quite some time. But in a surprising twist, two Republicans in the House of Representatives have tapped into the publicity surrounding the Grammy-winning performer’s plea for financial independence as a basis for conservatorship reform.
In a joint letter sent to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on Monday, Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Jim Jordan (R-OH), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee – arguably the last people on Earth whom one would expect to align themselves with the “Free Britney” movement – cited previous complaints made by the American Civil Liberties Union that court-ordered conservatorships deprive certain Americans of their constitutional rights.
Read the full letter below:
“The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears.” pic.twitter.com/tfE8KJAZ4s
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 9, 2021
“The most striking example” of the hostage-like nature of forced conservatorships “is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears. Since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship. The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears,” wrote Gaetz and Jordan.
“There are countless other Americans unjustly stripped of their freedoms by others with little recourse. For example, Long Island Resident Daniel Gross was forced against his will into a conservatorship after being hospitalized with cellulitis while visiting his daughter in Connecticut. In what the judge labeled as a ‘terrible miscarriage of justice,’ Mr. Gross was locked in a Connecticut nursing home for 10 months despite his pleas for release,” the lawmakers said.
“Given the constitutional freedom at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements, it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships,” they added.
The two GOP confederates also alluded to a 2010 report by the United States Government Accountability Office that contained “hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation by guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia between 1990 and 2010.”
Nadler has not indicated whether or not he intends to pursue Gaetz and Jordan’s petition, however, a Committee spokesperson told CBS News on Tuesday that Nadler “has received the request” and that Congress and the Committee “will work to advance critical legislation to protect and strengthen civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.”
Given their controversial track records, it must be asked if Gaetz and Jordan are really concerned about individual liberty or if this is merely a ploy to exploit Spears’ personal pain to hasten their own agenda.
They are, after all, active members of an extremely conservative caucus whose loyalty and legislative priorities are aligned with those of former President Donald Trump. This is the same cadre of right-wingers who want to deprive LGBTQ Americans of their right to marry. They also oppose access to abortion, often with no exceptions for rape or incest, and have voted against the latest COVID-19 financial relief bill.