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Opinion: If Taylor Swift wants revenge against her haters, here's a good bet

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Opinion: If Taylor Swift wants revenge against her haters, here's a good bet

The right wing’s unhealthy obsession with Taylor Swift has hit critical mass in the run-up to this weekend’s Super Bowl match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

We’ll set aside the strategic virtue of alienating a public figure who can single-handedly break the internet and focus instead on how Swift should seek revenge. And oh, by the way, if you don’t think she understands a thing or two about revenge, just take a listen to “Reputation” or ask Scooter Braun or David Mueller.

Taylor commands a social media army: 280 million followers on Instagram, 95.1 million on X, 23.9 million on TikTok, 80 million on Facebook and 56.3 million on YouTube. By comparison, Donald Trump has 23.7 million followers on the ‘gram, 87.4 million on X, 24.5 million on Facebook, and 2.8 million on YouTube.

The numbers speak for themselves. And there’s more. A survey conducted last year by the Morning Consult found that avid Swift fans skew suburban, Democratic and, not surprisingly, female. They’re mostly 18 to 39 years old. In the post-Dobbs political landscape, these are among the demographics President Biden most needs to turn out in order to pull off a November win.

So while the obvious response to the MAGA hysteria might be to endorse Biden — something the president’s team is hoping will happen — it’s not Swift’s best move. She endorsed Biden in 2020. Another endorsement isn’t going to move the needle.

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Instead, the single most effective thing Taylor Swift could do to influence the presidential election is use her celebrity, exposure and platforms to get her army of Swifties registered to vote.

A recent poll conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics revealed that after record turnout in the 2020 elections, only half of 18-to-29-year-olds who voted then are planning to participate in the 2024 election. A poll conducted by NBC News showed young voters souring on Biden. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll had Biden losing the youth vote to Trump.

If this election is going to be as close as the polls and prognosticators would have us believe, activating Swift’s army of fans could be a difference maker. Without openly endorsing a candidate, she could launch her own voter registration effort and send the right-wing MAGA-sphere into meltdown mode.

Imagine if Swift announced even a handful of relatively modest acoustic concerts in the swing states (Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin) where the price of admission was proof that you were registered to vote. Voter registration booths would be set up in front of the venue. The only problem would be dealing with the crowds.

In September, Swift’s voter registration superpower went on display. In an Instagram post, she pointed her followers toward the nonpartisan, nonprofit Vote.org website, which reported a 35,000 new-registration surge. In the run-up to the 2018 midterms, a post urging her followers to register to vote was linked to 100,000 new voter registrations in the 18-to-29 demographic. If this is the kind of engagement she generated from single posts, imagine the impact of a swing-state tour in support of voter registration.

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Trump’s MAGA army has made a critical mistake waging open warfare against Taylor Swift. She could very well choose to ignore them. To stay above the fray. To spend 2024 selling out stadiums worldwide via the Eras Tour. To let the conspiracy theorists continue to dissemble.

If I were Taylor Swift, I wouldn’t dignify the MAGA world with a response or reaction anytime soon. Instead, I’d let the campaigns unfold. Then, come fall, when it would matter most, when MAGA has moved on, when everyone has forgotten the insanity of the past few weeks, in a few strategic states that will decide the next election, maybe, just maybe, Swift should extract her revenge.

Kurt Bardella is a contributing writer to Opinion. @KurtBardella

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Special attorney hired by Fani Willis to help prosecute Trump donated big bucks to her campaign

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Special attorney hired by Fani Willis to help prosecute Trump donated big bucks to her campaign

An expert Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis retained to help prosecute former President Trump donated $4,300 to her campaign for public office, records show. 

John Floyd, a prominent Atlanta attorney and partner at Bondurant Mixson & Elmore, was retained by Willis in 2021 to help her prosecute the former president. Floyd is one of the leading experts in Georgia’s intricate and complex racketeering statutes at play in the sweeping case against the former president. 

One expert told Fox News Digital that while Floyd’s donations present no ethical, legal or conflict-of-interest problems, the previous campaign donations could add to the mounting “optics” problems for Willis. 

According to public records, Floyd donated to Willis’ campaign for district attorney twice — $2,800 on March 20, and $1,500 on June 25, 2020, for a total of $4,300.

BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS AFTER WILD 2-DAY HEARING ON FANI WILLIS AFFAIR: ‘WHAT’S DONE IS DONE’

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse Feb. 15, 2024, in Atlanta. (Alyssa Pointer)

“John Floyd’s donating to Willis’ campaign and then subsequently serving as her special RICO prosecutor present no ethical, legal or conflict-of-interest problems, regardless of his political leanings or affiliations,” said John Shu, a constitutional law expert who served in both the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations.  

5 EXPLOSIVE MOMENTS FROM FANI WILLIS’ HEATED TESTIMONY IN TRUMP FULTON COUNTY CASE: ‘IF THIS HAPPENS AGAIN …’

“Floyd is a well-known and well-respected litigator and RICO expert, and others from his law firm also donated to Willis’ campaign. Besides, there’s no way that any of them could have known in the spring and summer of 2020 that a Trump RICO case even would exist,” Shu added.

But, Shu said, “Willis created huge optics and conflict-of-interest problems for herself when she hired Nathan Wade, with whom she admitted to having a romantic relationship, regardless of when the relationship started,” Shu said. 

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“Wade apparently has no felony or RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] experience, and Willis is paying him $100/hour more than she is paying Floyd,” Shu said. 

nathan wade

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse Feb. 15, 2024, in Atlanta.  (Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images)

“She wasn’t required to disclose Floyd’s donations, and they’re a matter of public record anyway, but now they exacerbate the already-bad Wade situation. She would have been better off being as transparent as possible and disclosing everything from the beginning,” Shu noted.

Both Willis and Wade confirmed they had a relationship but denied allegations of wrongdoing. Both testified in court last week that Wills always paid Wade back for her share of their travel in cash and said no receipts exist for those reimbursements.

Their testimony about the start of their relationship contradicted one witness who said she had “no doubt” that Wills and Wade’s “romantic” involvement started in 2019, before Wade was hired in 2021. 

Floyd told Fox News Digital in an email his campaign contributions “were made long before the election and could not have been related to events that had not occurred and could not have been anticipated at that time.

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FULTON COUNTY DA FANI WILLIS ACCUSED OF LYING ABOUT TIMING OF AFFAIR WITH TRUMP PROSECUTOR

 “I contributed to Ms. Willis’ campaign because I knew from personal experience, including a seven-month trial as her co-counsel in 2014-15, that she would make a good district attorney. The voters reached the same conclusion, voting out a four-term incumbent,” Floyd said. 

Judge Scott McAfee

Judge Scott McAfee at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta Feb. 15. (Alyssa Pointer, Getty Images)

Floyd added that he had previously served as a special assistant district attorney under DAs affiliated with both political parties and under an attorney general who was elected as a Democrat but subsequently changed his affiliation to Republican. 

He then served under his successor, a Democrat. As a special assistant district attorney, Floyd said he helped prosecute a sheriff who was elected as a Democrat. 

“No one has questioned my objectivity in any of those matters. There is no reason to be concerned about it now,” Floyd said. 

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Public records also show that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the Trump case and will determine if Willis’ should be disqualified from prosecuting Trump and his co-defendants, also donated to her campaign. 

In 2020 — prior to his judicial appointment while he was an assistant U.S. attorney at the Justice Department — McAfee donated $150 to Willis’ campaign.

McAfee held a two-day hearing last week to review evidence for a motion to disqualify Willis from the case. 

A bombshell admission by the defense’s key witness, Terrence Bradley, the former law firm partner and divorce attorney for Wade, came after he avoided answering certain questions, citing attorney-client privilege. Judge McAfee said he would hold an “in-camera” meeting with Bradley to determine if his privilege assertions are accurate.

McAfee said Bradley’s admission reopens questions about what Bradley refused to answer about what he knew about Wade and Fani Willis’ romantic relationship and when he knew. Bradley refused to answer, citing attorney-client privilege.

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“Mr. Bradley previously testified that the reason he left the firm was totally and completely covered by privilege. When asked by the state, he went into a factual scenario that, to my mind, I don’t see how it relates to privilege at all. And so now I’m left wondering if Mr. Bradley has been properly interpreting privilege this entire time,” Judge McAfee said.

McAfee is expected to determine whether Bradley should take the witness stand again further evidentiary review.

Neither Willis nor McAfee returned Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

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Column: Alabama's highest court declared frozen embryos people. The U.S. Supreme Court is to blame

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Column: Alabama's highest court declared frozen embryos people. The U.S. Supreme Court is to blame

The Alabama Supreme Court’s breathtakingly arrogant, slapdash and pernicious opinion conferring personhood on newly formed embryos vividly illustrates the consequences of another reckless decision: the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade.

The Alabama court held last week that fertilized ova cryogenically preserved for couples having difficulty conceiving are legally and morally equivalent to newborn babies and, for that matter, 20-year-old adults. According to the court, all are human beings protected under Alabama law to precisely the same extent.

The decision clears the way for wrongful death lawsuits brought by couples whose embryos were destroyed by a patient who wandered into an in vitro fertilization clinic through an unsecured entrance, picked up several frozen fertilized eggs and, shocked by their cryogenic temperature, immediately dropped them on the floor. Reversing the trial court, the Alabama Supreme Court held that this conduct could be subject to a wrongful death claim, rendering it indistinguishable from, say, the death of a 2-year-old negligently left in a sweltering car.

Astonishingly, the sole focus of the court’s analysis was whether Alabama’s wrongful death law encompasses “extrauterine children — that is, unborn children who are located outside of a biological uterus at the time they are killed.” The court did not even attempt to wrestle with the distinction between a just-fertilized egg — what biologists call a blastocyst, a ball of up to a few hundred cells measuring a fraction of a millimeter in diameter — and a fully formed child born at term.

It’s customary to note the parade of horribles that could be occasioned by such an extreme decision. But here the parade has already begun.

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Alabama’s largest hospital announced Wednesday that it would no longer offer would-be parents in vitro fertilization procedures due to the substantial threat of criminal liability for mishandling fertilized eggs. Other providers followed suit Thursday. Medical personnel who try to help couples conceive have been suddenly recast by the courts as potential murderers.

The immediate consequences don’t end there. Women who use intrauterine devices or morning-after pills, which can affect fertilized eggs, are in the eyes of Alabama law rank baby killers.

The court’s supposed legal opinion in fact rests on the tenet that life begins at conception, a matter of religious faith to which only a small minority of the country subscribes.

Chief Justice Tom Parker’s concurring opinion employs quotations and teachings from Scripture as if they had the legal force of the Bill of Rights. Passages from Genesis and Exodus, various theological tracts, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards take their place alongside the writings of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Neil M. Gorsuch. All are marshaled in support of the view that “God made every person in his image… and human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.”

But apart from the wrath of God, there is no attempt to rationalize the legal equation of a frozen, formless collection of cells with a living person. The court simply assumes it away with the syllogistic reasoning that Alabama’s statutory law specifies that human life includes “unborn” life.

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Such ham-handedness undermines the entire opinion. The critical question for the state is not whether an embryo of any particular age can be said to be, in some sense, alive; it’s whether it is a human being deserving of the rights and protections accorded to all of us, which is a far broader and more complicated designation.

A stadium full of theologians, philosophers, ethicists and politicians couldn’t come up with an authoritative answer to that question. And in the absence of such an answer, how can the state impinge so deeply on the liberty of women and aspiring parents?

It’s in that sense that the Alabama Supreme Court’s opinion can be traced directly to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The idea of shoving this tendentious religious tract down Americans’ throats would have been a nonstarter under Roe vs. Wade, which asserted the constitutional liberty interests of women against an overreaching, moralistic state.

Post-Dobbs, those rights are featherweight. The outrage belongs with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ill reasoning and grotesque overreach.

Nor is Alabama the only state purporting to enshrine the fundamentally religious position that human life begins at conception in law. Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma issued similar proclamations in the wake of Dobbs.

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The Alabama Supreme Court takes this malign presumption to its logical end, stripping every American in its jurisdiction of the right to make their own decisions on a matter of the highest moral and practical import. That’s the antithesis of liberty.

Harry Litman is the host of the “Talking Feds” podcast. @harrylitman

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A 30-year-old North Carolina education funding argument is back in the state Supreme Court

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A 30-year-old North Carolina education funding argument is back in the state Supreme Court

Longstanding education funding litigation is returning to North Carolina’s highest court hardly a year after a majority of justices — all Democrats — agreed that taxpayer money could be moved to spend on addressing schooling inequities statewide without the express approval of legislators.

What’s apparently changed to permit Thursday’s scheduled oral arguments at the state Supreme Court is its composition. A few days after the court’s milestone 2022 ruling, registered Republicans won back a majority on the seven-member court after success in statewide elections for two seats.

With the partisan shift having taking effect, the five GOP justices agreed last fall to consider additional arguments sought by Republican legislative leaders opposed to the 2022 decision. Those lawmakers contend only the General Assembly can appropriate state funds.

NORTH CAROLINA BECOMES 9TH STATE TO PASS UNIVERSAL SCHOOL CHOICE, THE FIRST TO DO SO WITHOUT GOP TRIFECTA

The justices wrote that Thursday’s matter would be narrowed upon whether Superior Court Judge James Ammons, the latest to oversee the litigation originating almost 30 years ago, had authority last spring to enter an order declaring the state owed $678 million to fulfill two years of an eight-year plan.

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But legal briefs filed for Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore essentially seek to overturn the November 2022 decision by the then-Democratic-controlled court. Action by Ammons’ predecessor, the late Judge David Lee, who approved the initial $5.4 billion plan and ordered some taxpayer funds be moved, served as the focus of the 2022 ruling.

The legislators’ attorneys say there’s never been a legal determination that school districts beyond rural Hoke and Halifax counties had failed to live up to requirements, affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1997 and 2004, that the state constitution directs all children must receive the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.” And, the lawyers argue, school funding decisions are political questions that judicial branch must avoid.

The North Carolina State Capitol is seen in Raleigh. Education funding litigation regarding whether a trial judge can move taxpayer money to address schooling inequities statewide without the approval of legislators is returning to North Carolina’s Supreme Court. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A host of other legal parties, including several school districts, say Ammons’ statewide order must be upheld and implemented. They say it’s the judiciary’s job to fix statewide constitutional deficiencies in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade instruction that the executive and legislative branches failed to address.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is not a legal party in the case but supports carrying out the plan that his administration helped create.

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The attorneys supporting the plan — which in part includes funding to improve teacher recruitment and salaries, expand pre-K and help students with disabilities — argue that Moore and Berger are trying to relitigate the 2022 decision, but it’s well past time procedurally to rehear the matter.

The justices were unlikely to rule from the bench at the close of oral arguments. The court’s next opinion date is March 22. The new Republican majority has ruled favorably for GOP legislators by striking down previous redistricting decisions and upholding a photo voter identification mandate.

Education and civil rights advocates scheduled a rally outside the Supreme Court building while the case was heard.

The litigation began in 1994, when several school districts and families of children sued and accused the state of state law and constitutional violations. The matter often has been referred to as “Leandro” — for the last name of one of the students who sued.

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In requests repeating from the 2022 case, lawyers for the school districts asked that Associate Justice Phil Berger Jr. — son of the Senate leader — recuse himself from the case, while attorneys for the elder Berger and Moore asked that Associate Justice Anita Earls not participate. This year’s recusal motions were denied, as they were in 2022, and Earls, a registered Democrat, and the younger Berger, a Republican, both were expected to participate Thursday.

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