Reps. Jordan, Gaetz Endorse ‘FreeBritney’ Movement, Demand Hearings On Conservatorships
A pair of House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are demanding Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York hold hearings on unlawful conservatorships after celebrity pop star Britney Spears has remained trapped in an arrangement for more than a decade.
A conservatorship is a legal arrangement preserved for those who suffer debilitating conditions, which include severe mental issues or old age. A judge may grant full control of one’s daily life, living arrangements, health decisions, and finances to an appointed conservator if the court deems it necessary.
“In recent years, there has been growing public concern about the use of conservatorships to effectively deprive individuals of personal freedoms at the behest of others through the manipulation of the courts,” Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Matt Gaetz of Florida wrote. “Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union recently voiced that ‘conservatorships should be viewed with skepticism and used as a last resort’ but that in ‘most cases, it’s done routinely and without substantive engagement.'”
A project sponsored by the Department of Justice, Gaetz and Jordan wrote, found that “financial exploitation by conservators often go unchecked by courts” and concluded there is “dire need for guardianship/conservatorship reform.”
“The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears,” the House Republicans added, where Spears has been under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears, since 2008 in a temporary arrangement made permanent by a California judge.
In the 13 years since being placed under a conservatorship reserved for those incapacitated, the pop star singer with a Forbes’ estimated networth of $60 million has maintained a prolific career. Britney Spears released four albums, went on three world tours, completed a four-year residency in Las Vegas, starred as a host on the “X Factor,” and made cameo appearances on “Glee” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
Britney however, had made clear her objections to the legal prison restraining her under her father’s lucrative command and has stopped performing while in his custody. Spears has fought the conservatorship in court which became the subject of a recent New York Times documentary released in February chronicling the fan-based movement “FreeBritney” to liberate the princess of pop.
“Despite Mr. Spears’s claiming to want nothing more than to see Ms. Spears ‘not need a conservatorship,’ his attorney admitted in a recent documentary, ‘Of the cases I’ve been involved in, I have not seen a conservatee who has successfully terminated a conservatorship,'” House lawmakers wrote to Nadler demanding a hearing. “Ms. Spears is not alone. There are countless other Americans unjustly stripped of their freedoms by others with little recourse.”