This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Two court-approved consent decrees have ended a years-long court fight over a program in Philadelphia where authorities would act as their own judges and confiscate properties – like vehicles and homes – from residents.

The case has been handled by the Institute for Justice, which revealed that the end meant victims were paid compensation, the program is disassembled, and the money left over was given to local charities.

It took nearly a decade, but the IJ said a lawsuit originally launched by a Philadelphia family trying to save the family home has concluded with the city dismantling its "abusive forfeiture program."

"At the beginning of 2021, the Institute for Justice (IJ) secured final approval of two consent decrees to end a class action lawsuit on behalf of people who had homes, cash, and cars wrongfully seized. While one decree established reforms to prevent abuse in the future, the other created a $3 million fund to compensate forfeiture victims," the legal team explained.

Some 2,400 people got cash awards that averaged more than $1,400 and then the IJ chose various charities in Philadelphia to take the approximately $282,000 that was left unclaimed.

"For years, Philadelphia seized and forfeited millions of dollars from individuals through a cruel and unjust legal process. It took a major federal class action lawsuit to bring the mistreatment to an end," explained IJ Senior Attorney Rob Frommer. "The funds which could not be given back to individuals will be going to help those communities in Philadelphia most harmed by these practices."

It all got its start when Chris Sourovelis and his family nearly lost their home to Philadelphia’s forfeiture machine.

"Like many others, they found themselves trapped in a process where prosecutors ran 'hearings' out of a courtroom at city hall and acted as judges to take homes, cash, and cars. The proceeds then went into a fund controlled by police and prosecutors, pulling in up to $6 million a year. The Sourovelis family, along with several other Philadelphians, filed their lawsuit in 2014," IJ said. After a failed city attempt to dismiss the suit and the certification of a class of more than 20,000 property owners, the city agreed to dismantle its forfeiture machine and compensate victims.

Among the changes that are being made is more limits on when Philadelphia police can seize money and other property for forfeiture, better notices to owners, ensuring that judges control the proceedings, and the creation of a hearing where property owners can demand the immediate return of their property.

"Philadelphia was one of the worst examples of how civil forfeiture turns American justice on its head to enrich police and prosecutors," said Scott Bullock. chief counsel for IJ. "This was an important case that not only shut down the machine law enforcement created to enrich itself but also secured compensation for victims. Unfortunately, civil forfeiture destroys lives and even a successful lawsuit can never give the victims full justice."

The IJ also is fighting against abusive forfeiture practices in Texas, Nevada, Indiana, and at various airports.

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The Supreme Court's investigation of a leaker who delivered a copy of the then-unreleased Dobbs opinion that overturned the faulty 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision to the media failed to identify the offending person.

And that's "unsatisfactory," according to Alan Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter professor of law emeritus at Harvard, who wrote a column at the Gatestone Institute, where he is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation fellow.

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Just last year the Supreme Court overturned the faulty Roe v. Wade abortion decision from 1973 and said since the Constitution does not contain that "right," voters in the states could regulate it.

Now another stunning decision has been released.

This time, a state court has held that "someone who kills an unborn baby capable of living outside of the mother's body can be charged with homicide since that child is considered a person under state law."

That's essentially the "personhood" theme that pro-lifers have been supporting for years already: the determination that the unborn is a "person" and therefore protected by the Constitution.

The ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court limits that designation to those babies capable of living outside the mother, at this time.

Liberty Counsel explained, "In Commonwealth v. Ronchi, the highest state court in Massachusetts recently upheld two first-degree murder convictions of a man who stabbed his girlfriend to death which caused the death of their nine-month unborn child from loss of blood circulation from the mother.

"The defendant argued that since he had not actually stabbed the baby, he should not be held responsible for its death. However, the court rejected this argument and held that 'infliction of prenatal injuries resulting in the death of a viable fetus, before or after it is born, is homicide.'"

The defendant had been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the crime.

The high court affirmed instructions to the jury that included, "Killing is not murder unless a human being has been killed. A viable fetus is a human being under the law of homicide. A fetus is viable when there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the womb, with or without artificial support."

The decision affirmed an earlier precedent in the state when in 1984 a driver was convicted of motor vehicle homicide when his vehicle struck a woman who was eight and a half months pregnant, and her child died.

Liberty Counsel reported, "The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court often used the word 'child' to refer to the unborn baby in last week’s ruling in Commonwealth v. Ronchi. Yet in a tragic irony, in the 1981 decision in Moe v. Secretary of Administration and Finance, the same court recognized a 'fundamental right of choice' when it comes to abortion, and that the state constitution 'affords a greater degree of protection to the right' than previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions of the time."

That state now allows abortion through 24 weeks and after that under limited circumstances.

Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, "Abortion has distorted the law. It makes perfect sense to charge a person with murder who kills an unborn child. It makes no sense to call this 'choice' when the mother does the killing. Homicide can only be committed against a person – a human being. Homicide cannot be committed against property or a non-person. Plain and simple - abortion is homicide because the act of killing the child is the same whether it is done by a violent actor or a doctor in a white lab coat."

There are legitimate questions about President Joe Biden's cognitive capabilities and mental health, and those were only bolstered by his recent remarks about his administration's response to the Feb. 3 toxic train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio.

Biden scoffed dismissively at criticism from the East Palestine mayor and said that he "can't recall" if he'd talked to him -- even as he insisted that he'd personally spoken with "everyone there is to talk to," according to Breitbart.

The president and his administration have been sharply criticized for what has been perceived by some to be a lackluster and uncaring response to the derailment that resulted in the leakage and burning of carcinogenic toxic chemicals and prompted real health concerns for residents in the surrounding area.

"He doesn’t care about us"

On Monday, as President Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine while in Eastern Europe, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway appeared on Fox News and said, "That was the biggest slap in the face. That tells you right now he doesn’t care about us."

"He can send every agency he wants to, but I found out this morning that he was in Ukraine giving millions of dollars away to people over there and not to us … on President's Day in our country, so I'm furious," the mayor added.

On Friday, following his return from Europe, Biden sat for an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir about how his administration had responded to the toxic train derailment incident and some of the criticism that had followed.

"It’s been three weeks now since the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, as you know," Muir said. "The mayor says he saw you in Ukraine and he says, it tells you 'he doesn’t care about us.' They’re asking, is the President coming to Ohio? Do you have any plan to travel to Ohio, and have you talked with the mayor yet?"

Arrogant and dismissive

According to Mediaite, President Biden "scoffed" dismissively and smirked as Muir recounted what the mayor had said and then dodged the question about meeting or speaking with the mayor as he attempted to explain how his administration had, in fact, responded appropriately to the derailment and resultant environmental disaster.

"Let’s put this in perspective, within two hours of that derailment, the EPA was in there, within two hours. Every major agency in the United States government that’s had anything to do with rail and/or cleanup was there and is there," Biden said.

He added, "In addition to that, I’ve spoken at length to the congresspersons, the governors, the senators from both states of Pennsylvania and Ohio. And I’ve made it clear to them, anything they need is available or we’ll make it available to them."

"I can't recall"

Muir reiterated his initial question about whether Biden had any plans to travel to East Palestine and if he had spoken with the mayor yet.

"I can’t recall whether I’ve -- I don’t think I’ve talked to the mayor," the president replied. "I’ve talked to everyone else there, multiple times. I’ve talked to both the senators, both governors, I’ve talked to everyone there is to talk to, and we’ve made it clear that everything is available.

Biden says he “can’t recall” if he spoke to the mayor of East Palestine, Ohio, within the past three weeks.

— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 25, 2023

Also on Friday, when asked by reporters at the White House if he was planning to visit East Palestine, Biden remarked, "At this time, I'm not."

The wife of Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who asked to be hospitalized last week for clinical depression, said in a series of tweets that she fled the country to Canada with the couple's two children in the aftermath, the Western Journal reported.

“1 week ago today when the news dropped, the kids were off from school and media trucks circled our home. I did the first thing I could think of … pack them in the car and drive,” Giselle Fetterman tweeted about the ordeal on Friday.

She then said she and her three children ended up in Canada and Buffalo, New York, apparently having had their passports along for whatever reason.

"We talked about lots of hard things and how we will all have to face hard things. About the need to be gentle … with all and with ourselves," she said.

Joy and fun

She said that they went ziplining over Niagra Falls as part of the trip. One of the children got stuck, and she talked to them about an open mind and flexibility.

"We also talked about how joy and fun can and must still exist, even when someone we love is in pain. And tomorrow? Who knows. Will try all over again."

It was unclear whether the family was still across the border or whether they had returned home to Pennsylvania.

Both of the state's Democrat senators are currently not on Capitol Hill, with Sen. Bob Casey Jr. having just had surgery for prostate cancer last week.

Fetterman election a mistake

Obviously, it was a mistake to elect Fetterman, who has already been hospitalized twice and needs a teleprompter just to speak on the Senate floor.

Fetterman had reportedly been struggling to adjust to his new job, and privately worried that continuing to campaign after his stroke in May might have hindered his recovery and caused permanent damage.

It's a sad situation, and one that many blame Giselle for, saying she should have pulled him out of the campaign rather than facilitate him continuing in the race.


The Democrat powers-that-be covered up as much of Fetterman's mental condition as they could, and then tried to shame voters into voting for him by championing his disability and insisting he could do his job.

Those tactics, combined with a GOP split over their candidate, TV personality Dr. Oz, pushed Fetterman over the finish line in the swing state.

Governor Josh Shapiro (D) said he will not ask Fetterman to resign because of the hospitalizations and that he thinks Fetterman will "come back stronger than ever" after treatment.

The Daily Caller reports that White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates just unwittingly posted a message that contained the words, "Joe Biden showered with his daughter." 

Bates's boss, President Joe Biden, can't be too happy about this. So far, though, it appears that Bates still has his job.


On Thursday, Bates, on his official government Twitter account, retweeted several videos of White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre coming to the aid of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at a recently-held press briefing.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, Buttigieg has been receiving a lot of criticism for his handling of the train derailment that recently took place in Ohio.

Jean-Pierre, at the press briefing, responded to the criticism by claiming that it is in "bad faith," and she implied that the criticism was discriminatory in nature.

Journalist Greg Price tweeted the following clip of Jean-Pierre's response.

"There's been a lot of bad faith attacks on Secretary Buttigieg.

"If you remember Elaine Chao, she was the head of the Department of Transportation and when there were these types of chemical spills. Nobody was calling for her to be fired."

— Andrew Bates (@AndrewJBates46) February 23, 2023

Bates's retweet

Bates decided to retweet Price's tweet, and that is what got him into trouble. That's because, at the time, Price had changed his name to "Joe Biden Showered With His Daughter."

Take a look:

Ok, @AndrewJBates46, you gotta admit this is pretty funny...

+1 @greg_price11

— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) February 23, 2023

Snopes reports:

In late 2022, social media users were sharing a quote meme that claimed Ashley Biden, the daughter of U.S. President Joe Biden, once wrote of her father in a diary, "I [am] so afraid of him coming in the shower with me that I've waited until late at night to take a shower." According to the quote meme, the sentence appeared on pages 67 and 68 of the aforementioned diary.

According to Snopes, the claim is "unfounded." The "fact-checker," claims, "We have so far been unable to find any evidence whatsoever that shows this is an actual quote from Biden's daughter."

It's gone, but not forgotten

Bates has been unable to delete the tweet because it is on his official government account. But, Price has since changed his name back to "Greg Price." And so, one can no longer see "Joe Biden Showered With His Daughter" on Bates's retweet.

Still, it has to have been a fairly embarrassing situation for the Biden administration to have one of its top officials tweet out something like that. Then again, it's par for the course for the Biden administration.

New details about the death of Mark Middleton have just been released that, according to the Daily Mail, contradict previous reports. 

Middleton has links to both Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein. In the 1990s, he was a special advisor to Clinton, and, in that role, he signed Epstein into the White House on seven of the 17 visits that Epstein made there. Additionally, it has been reported that Middleton flew on Epstein's infamous jet, the "Lolita Express."

Middleton died in May 2022, and his death has been ruled a suicide. It has been reported by his family that he was suffering from depression.

There has, however, been some skepticism about this ruling of Middleton's death as a suicide, and new details are only fueling the skepticism.

The original report

Middleton's family has fought to keep the details of Middleton's passing from the public. They have succeeded on some level. But, recently, the sheriff's report of the incident has been released.

The report details Perry County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Lawson's findings after he arrived at the ranch where Middleton's body was found. It was found there by ranch worker Samantha McElroy.

Lawson, in the report, writes:

Almost immediately after stepping around the corner of the cottage she started yelling. Upon reaching the back of the cottage she pointed towards the rear of the property and asked if that was a person. I could see what at first appeared to be a man sitting near a tree, as my eyes focused better, I could see a rope of some type going from the tree limb to the male.

Lawson continues, "I could see that he had a gunshot wound to the chest and that he had a knot tied in an extension cord that was around his neck and it was attached to the limb directly above him."

Lawson, however, goes on to state that, although he found plenty of ammunition, he did not find a weapon at the scene. This was one of the key details that increased skepticism about the ruling of Middleton's death as a suicide.

The new, contradictory report

Now, more papers have been released. And, according to the Daily Mail, these new papers say that the weapon - a Stoeger 12-gauge coach gun - was found at the scene - 30 feet from Middleton's body.

In this new document, Sergeant Keenan Carter explains his belief that Middleton went to great lengths to ensure that his suicide would be successful.

Carter writes:

He stood on top of the bench and tied one end of the extension cord to a large limb of the tree and the other end around his neck. It is believed that Mr. Middleton then took the firearm and placed the barrels against his chest and then reached out with his left hand and placed his first finger on the first trigger. It is then believed that Mr. Middleton pulled the trigger on the firearm casing (sic) it to discharge and strike him in the chest and then he fell from the bench causing the extension cord to become tight cutting off his breathing.

As for how the weapon ended up 30 feet from Middleton's body, it is said that it was a result of the weapon's recoil after Middleton pulled the trigger. It is unclear whether this explanation will be enough to silence skeptics. Time will tell.

A note that Middleton sent to his wife before his death has also been released. The note reads:

Going to rest for a while. You are a great Mom and wife babe. Please be happy today and get some sun. It will make you feel better. I love you.

Former President Donald Trump's Democratic haters have become increasingly desperate in their zeal to ensure that he never returns to the U.S. Capitol, whether as an elected leader or otherwise.

In fact, a House resolution was filed last week that calls for Trump and several of his current and former associates to be completely banned from entering the Capitol building, the Conservative Brief reported.

The measure, introduced by Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), is co-sponsored by one of the former president's loudest and most outspoken critics on Capitol Hill, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

"Shall take such actions as may be necessary ..."

Known as House Concurrent Resolution 19, the purpose of the legislation is to prohibit "President Donald Trump and certain other individuals who attempted to undermine and overturn the 2020 presidential election from entering the United States Capitol."

It was introduced by Rep. Williams on Feb. 17 and referred for consideration to the House Committee on House Administration, and thus far has only one co-sponsor -- Rep. Swalwell.

The bulk of the resolution references some of the alleged findings of the prior House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 and assigned blame for the unrest, and made criminal referrals in that regard, against former President Trump and a number of his close associates.

It resolves that "The Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate, and the United States Capitol Police shall take such actions as may be necessary to prohibit President Donald John Trump, Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, Peter Navarro, Jeffrey Clark, John Eastman, Kenneth Cheseboro, and Rudy Giuliani from entering the United States Capitol."

Why would these people be banned?

Fox News reported on the resolution co-sponsored by Rep. Swalwell and provided some additional context for some of the other specifically named individuals linked to former President Trump who would be banned from the Capitol building if the resolution were to be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

That includes former strategist Steven Bannon, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, and former senior assistant Peter Navarro -- all of whom are alleged to have been involved in some form or fashion with inciting and/or planning the protest-turned-riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

It also includes former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark and former Trump attorneys John Eastman, Kenneth Cheseboro, and Rudy Giuliani, who were all alleged to be involved to some extent in the calls for investigations of alleged voter fraud and legal challenges against the 2020 election results.

Swalwell vs. Trump

In response to that Fox News article, Rep. Swalwell tweeted, "How far will Fox go to attack me? This isn’t even my bill -- it’s a brilliant bill written by @RepNikema. Which, of course I support! And by the way, when the village nearly burns down, we don’t invite the arsonist back to visit. Duh."

Former President Trump also responded to the news with a pair of posts to his Truth Social account, and wrote, "Little respected Representative Eric Swalwell was just kicked off the Intelligence Committee for reasons of “Integrity and lack of Intelligence” and, for having the poor judgment of dating and falling desperately in love with a Chinese Spy, Fang Fang, whose honey net has gotten massive amounts of information for her beloved China."

"This idiot is now calling (for publicity purposes only!) for some Great American Patriots, including me, to be banned from the Capitol ...," he continued.

Trump added, "Fortunately, people understand that Swalwell is a 'low life,' not respected by anybody, and merely used for entertainment reasons by the Fake News Media to continue their assault on President Donald J. Trump, and America!"

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