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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Supreme Court Fails Americans on Clinton Emails

More Shocking Details of FDA Purchases of Fetal Tissue — Agency Wanted “Fresh, Shipped on Wet Ice” Fetal Organs
Supreme Court Drops the Ball on Clinton Email Testimony
Judicial Watch at the Supreme Court: Fighting for Clean Elections
Released Illegal Aliens Commit Home Invasions, Robberies, Store Burglaries
Happy Easter!

More Shocking Details of FDA Purchases of Fetal Tissue — Agency Wanted “Fresh, Shipped on Wet Ice” Fetal Organs 

The sale of body parts harvested during abortions is not generally understood, certainly not the gruesome details of the transactions.

More grotesque details emerge in 575 pages of records we received from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showing the agency spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to buy human fetal tissue from California-based Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). The tissue was used in creating “humanized mice” to test “biologic drug products.”

This is the third set of records from our March 2019 lawsuit. We released other sets, which also include records obtained from the National Institutes of Health, in February 2020 and June 2020.

ABR, a nonprofit, human fetal tissue “procurement” firm, has been the subject of criminal referrals from both U.S. House and Senate committees investigating human fetal tissue trafficking and whether Planned Parenthood or any other entity was illegally profiting from transfers of organs harvested from aborted human fetuses. Federal law regulates the purchase and acceptance of human fetal tissue for research. It is unlawful to “acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.”

The records include the following communications between ABR procurement manager Perrin Larton and FDA research veterinary medical official Dr. Kristina Howard between January 2011 and April 2018:

Howard’s May 10, 2012, email to Larton bearing the subject line “Tissue Delivery” details, “Just wanted to follow up with you regarding the tissue deliveries. We have three batches of mice that still need to be humanized, so please keep us on the schedule every week until we manage to receive three sets of tissue.”

Howard’s October 17, 2012 email to Larton about the gender of an aborted fetus from which an organ was harvested: “I wanted to check with your records on the sex of the tissue we received today. It was Liver #4505.” Larton responded, “The techs were not able to identify the gender. We only check external genitalia and if it’s not there … due to the nature of the termination procedure… we have no way of telling.” Howard replied, “Thank you for explaining that to me. I have some leftover cells to sex it.”

A May 9, 2013 email exchange in which Howard complained to Larton about Fedex x-raying the packages in which fetal organs had been shipped. Howard wrote, “Our package was x-rayed and the tissues could not be used.” Larton responded, “DAMN … they were wonderful tissues. I procured them! I’m training a new tech in Minneapolis and I told her how important it is to put the DO NOT X-RAY stickers on the package. Of course if you have an IMBECILE on the Fedex side … but then, now it’s a moot point.” Howard replied, “Yes, we were absolutely heartbroken. They were beautiful tissues and to lose them like that was awful.”

An August 26, 2015 email exchange in which the FDA’s Howard wrote, “As always, we are requesting liver and thymus for each date.” ABR’s Larton responds, “I’ll put you on the schedule for your requested tissue delivery dates.” Howard replies, “Thanks Perrin! Btw, are you planning to attend the humanized mouse workshop in Zurich in January?” Larton then writes, “Yes. Linda and I will both be attending. Will we see you there?” Howard replies, “Assuming the gov’t allows me to go, I will be there. I have lots of data!”

A June 9, 2016 email exchange in which Howard tells Larton, “We have a very important and timing-wise challenging, surgery the week of June 20th. We will be making dual humanized BLT mice (human liver and the BLT surgery) at the same time.” Larton replies, “Does the tissue HAVE to come from a male fetus? It really helps when we can send either, especially since this is an important and time sensitive surgery.” Howard replied, “It is strongly preferred to have a male fetus if at all possible. However, after we dose the mice, we have to proceed with the surgery, so at that point undetermined sex or female is better than no tissue. I know in some cases it is impossible to tell what the sex is, however, I don’t know what proportion of your tissues are in that category.”

A July 22, 2016 email in which Howard asked Larton if she knew “about tissue for tomorrow yet?” Larton replied, “This week I’m working with a doctor who induces fetal demise at 20 weeks. The other doctors who staff this clinic won’t induce fetal demise until 22 weeks … and of course … this week we had 4 21 week [sic] cases that all had been injected with digoxin on Wednesday so the tissue is unusable. I’ll have you on next week and prioritize your request.”

An August 5, 2016 email from an unidentified individual at ABR informing Howard that ABR was “not able to procure for you today,” referring to human fetal tissue. Howard replied, “Given how old the mice are (12 weeks) we will use frozen tissue. Fresh tissue is always our preference, but I don’t think we can wait another week. We are going to receive more mice in early Sept so we will try for more tissue then. I hope supply issues will resolve themselves by that time.” Larton, who was CCd on the email, responded, “It’s so frustrating. We’re also working with a new doctor in one of the busiest clinics… not a good combo! The tissue is awful!”

A May 25, 2017 email in which Howard asked Larton “How likely is it that we could get tissue tomorrow?” Larton responded, “Quite likely.  I don’t know how many cases will be available, but you’re the only researcher that will take tissue this Saturday.” Howard replied, “Great news! We have mice that need to be made.” Howard also thanks Perrin, “Btw, last week’s tissue was amazing!”

A September 22, 2017 email in which Lorton wrote to Howard: “We did get tissue for you today. Is it to be addressed to you for pick up at the station?” Howard responded, “Yay! Happy to hear tissue is available. By chance do you know how many weeks it is?” Larton responded, “The tissue is 15 weeks. Due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday … the clinics were closed yesterday … so no real large tissue today.” Howard replied, “I didn’t realize that the holiday would interfere with clinic operations. Thanks again for getting the tissue.” Larton responded, “We didn’t either … but … many of the doctors are Jewish!”

An April 5, 2018 email in which Howard wrote to Perrin, “[W]hile we (like everyone else) are desperate for tissue each week, this week and especially next week are important for us to get tissue. We are trying to get several new staff qualified for our surgery (so they can participate in the other scheduled surgeries) and we must have fresh tissue to do that. I realize tissue is always hit or miss, but if it is possible to prioritize us these two weeks, it would be greatly appreciated.” Larton replied, “I just let everyone know to prioritize your request today and if we don’t get it today, tomorrow”

A June 18, 2018 email in which the FDA’s Howard asked ABR’s Perrin to bill the FDA for “four (4) sets of tissue for July, however, to ensure they are covered on the existing PO [purchase order], can they all be billed for July 6 – as we did last year as time was running out?”  Perrin replied, “I’m sure [name redacted] won’t have a problem billing to the existing PO since you’ve done it in the past.”

In September 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) terminated the contract with ABR. HHS said it “was not sufficiently assured that contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements.”

The records were turned over to us as a result of our March 2019 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against HHS, of which the FDA is a part (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department Health and Human Services (No. 1:19-cv-00876)).

Last month, the federal court overseeing this lawsuit ordered HHS to release previously withheld portions of records about its purchases of organs harvested from aborted human fetuses. The court found “there is reason to question” whether the transactions violate federal law barring the sale of fetal organs.

The decision notes that ABR:

sold second-trimester livers and thymi for hundreds of dollars apiece. The same for brains, eyes, and lungs. After tacking on fees for services like shipping and cleaning, ABR could collect over $2,000 on a single fetus it purchased from Planned Parenthood for $60. The federal government participated in this potentially illicit trade for years.

The court also found it “dubious” that a FOIA exception invoked by the government could be used to “shield illegal business practices under the guise of ‘confidential business information’” and declared that “[t]here is reason to question the lawfulness of the transaction between the Government and ABR.”

These fetal organ trafficking documents shock the conscience and show potentially illegal use of tax dollars to purchase organs of the unborn killed through abortion.

Supreme Court Drops the Ball on Clinton Email Testimony

This week, we learned that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Judicial Watch’s request to take up our challenge to an appeals court decision exempting Hillary Clinton from testifying under oath about her emails and Benghazi attack documents.

Hillary Clinton ignored the law but received special protection from both the courts and law enforcement. For countless Americans, this double standard of justice has destroyed confidence in the fair administration of justice. Americans would never have known about Hillary Clinton’s email and related pay for play scandals but for our diligence. We expect that the Biden State and Justice Departments will continue to protect her and cover up their own misconduct as we press for additional accountability through the courts.

We argued that the Supreme Court should hear our case because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in undermining the Freedom of Information Act in giving Clinton unwarranted special treatment that conflicts both with Supreme Court precedent and the precedents of other courts of appeal, including its own.

The cert petition to the top court arose from our FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242), which led directly to the disclosure of Clinton’s use of a nongovernment email server to conduct government business. On March 2, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth authorized us to depose Clinton about her emails and the existence of relevant Benghazi attack documents. The court also ordered the deposition of Clinton’s former Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, and two other State Department officials.

Judicial Watch at the Supreme Court: Fighting for Clean Elections

Basic election security and anti-voter fraud provisions remain under attack by the organized Left and its party allies. And Judicial Watch remains on the front lines in the courts for the rule of law to ensure cleaner elections. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, describes a key Supreme Court battle in Judicial Watch’s  Investigative Bulletin:

Battles for clean elections are heating up around the country and Judicial Watch has long been a national leader in the fight. Recently we weighed in on a critical case now being considered by the Supreme Court. Its outcome could reshape elections in America for decades to come.

The case unfolds in the midst of a political battle that could render any decision by the Supreme Court largely moot. As Judicial Watch senior attorney Robert Popper recently wrote, House Resolution 1, rammed through the House of Representatives earlier this month by Democrats on a party line vote, “federalizes election law on a historically unprecedented scale, systematically impairs existing federal and state laws concerning election integrity, and imposes new burdens and restrictions on political speech and activity.”

At the High Court, the immediate issues in Arizona Republican Party et al v. Democratic National Committee et al revolve around out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting. Should the Arizona practices be banned?

But both sides are hunting bigger game in the high-stakes case: Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. Both sides see the case as an opening for the court to reshape Section Two. The standard set in the case will impact a wide array of hot-button state election issues around the nation, including redistricting, voter ID, mail-in ballots, same-day registration, proof required for registration, how much early voting is required, third-party collection of ballots, and when polls can close on election day.

The landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act was a frontal assault on racial discrimination in elections. Section Two bans any law that “results in a denial or abridgment” of the right to vote “on account of race.”

What results in a denial or abridgment of voting rights? It happens, Section Two says, when “the totality of circumstances” show that a racial minority has “less opportunities than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.”

Lower courts have disagreed on Section Two, issuing complex and often contradictory rulings. In the Arizona case, lower courts considered whether state laws banning out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting were discriminatory and thus illegal under Section Two.

The Arizona out-of-precinct law banned people from casting votes in precincts other than where they were registered to vote. The ballot harvesting regulation banned third parties such as paid political operatives and labor unions from going door-to-door to collect ballots.

A federal district court said the Arizona statutes are not discriminatory, upholding the laws.

On appeal, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court: the Arizona laws were proper and not discriminatory.

But the liberally inclined full bench of the Ninth Circuit then took up the case and parted ways with their colleagues. They reversed the earlier rulings, saying that Arizona’s prohibitions on out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting were enacted with a discriminatory purpose and had discriminatory results—violations of Section Two.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed by Judicial Watch and our friends at the Allied Education Foundation, we asked the High Court to reject the ruling of the full Ninth Circuit.

We noted that in the matter of out-of-precinct voting, the Democratic National Committee lawyers on the winning side in the Ninth Circuit case “utterly failed” to provide “any evidence” that the challenged voting procedures “caused minorities to have less opportunity to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.”

“Causation”—cause—is the key first step in determining a Section Two violation. The Ninth Circuit found no cause, no evidence, and moved right on to the emotionally charged second step in finding a violation: past racial discrimination and current socio-economic disparities.

But to move on to the second step of finding a Section Two violation, we note, the courts must “first find causation”—an entirely reasonable standard. “The Ninth Circuit erred,” we note, “when it proceeded to the next step of the Section Two analysis” [social and historical conditions] “…without first finding causation.”

In other words, there must be evidence that, in the Arizona case, the bans on out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting actually resulted in a minority having less opportunity to vote and elect representatives of its choice. But there was no evidence, we argue. Absent evidence of actual harm, it is unjust and improper to invoke social and historical comparisons.

The fundamental flaw in the Ninth Circuit ruling that out-of-precinct voting had a racially discriminatory impact, we note, is that the case provided “no statistical or non-statistical evidence showing (1) which candidates in local and state races in Arizona elections were preferred by minority voters; (2) the vote margins by which those minority preferred candidates were defeated; and (3) whether the number of minority-cast [out-of-precinct] votes, if cast, was sufficient to have caused the election to go in favor of the minority preferred candidate.”

Without this evidence, the case collapses.

Similarly, in the ballot harvesting issue, we note that evidence presented to the Ninth Circuit consisted almost entirely of anecdotal testimony that large amounts of ballots were collected from minority voters before the ban. The implication here being that after the ban, voting dropped. But we noted that “no evidence” was provided of “specific numbers of ballots cast with the type of assistance proscribed by” the Arizona bill. And, importantly, “no individual voter testified that these ballot-collection and delivery restrictions” made it more difficult to vote.

The Ninth Circuit ruling, we note, “pointed to no testimonial or documentary evidence comparing the numbers of early ballots delivered to election officials by third parties before and after the enactment” of the Arizona law. In addition, there was no showing in the case whether the ballot harvesting ban “caused minority-preferred candidates to lose elections.”

Read the full Judicial Watch brief here. It is replete with fine detail and sophisticated legal argument.

My main takeaway? Evidence matters, and the Ninth Circuit failed to consider it.

The broader issue? With the case now before the Supreme Court, the expansive, evidence-free Ninth Circuit interpretation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act threatens to become the law of the land. Judicial Watch strongly supports election law that is race neutral. We do not support, as Judicial Watch Tom Fitton recently said, “the misuse of civil rights laws by leftist partisans to undermine election integrity measures.”

A ruling is expected in summer.

Released Illegal Aliens Commit Home Invasions, Robberies, Store Burglaries

President Biden’s border crisis is directly harming the safety of innocent Americans. We have exclusive details on the devastating impact on just one small border town, as reported in our Corruption Chronicles blog:

Violence sparked by the illegal immigrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border has spilled over into a sleepy little town unaccustomed to the devastating impact large influxes have on bigger cities near major crossings. A series of crimes committed by illegal aliens and human smugglers (coyotes) has left the usually tranquil Arizona town of Sonoita, population of about 800, in shock. Veteran ranchers and business owners in the area interviewed by Judicial Watch say that in the last few days there have been two home invasion robberies and two local stores were burglarized by a group of illegal immigrants who had just been released into their community by the U.S. Border Patrol in the predawn hours.

Additionally, armed illegal immigrants were stopped by authorities just south of Sonoita on private property, according to local sources. “Keep in mind that our area is rural, and the large majority of illegal immigrants are crossing in Nogales, Naco, and Douglas in Santa Cruz and Cochise County,” said one area rancher. Another said the sparsely populated region, located about two dozen miles from the Mexican border, is a large grazing area that is “not accustomed to this type of invasion of illegal activity.” The ranchers, all lifetime Sonoita-area residents, asked not to be identified because the situation is getting increasingly heated. Judicial Watch reached out to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff, which has jurisdiction in the area, for more detailed information about the crimes. However, the agency never responded. Local sources with firsthand knowledge of the recent crime spree say one of the homeowners recently robbed was beaten quite badly by the illegal alien perpetrators. The other was the family home of an area pastor’s son, the sources said.

Judicial Watch spoke to the owner of one of the Sonoita stores recently burglarized by illegal immigrants sometime before dawn. The business, Cowgirl Flare Boutique, sits at the intersection of Arizona State Route 82 and 83 in the middle of town. Next to it is a convenience store that also got burglarized by the same group. “The Border Patrol processed and released two men and a woman for human smuggling at around 4:30 a.m. and my store is very close to the Sonoita Border Patrol station,” said Stephanie Hubbell, who opened Cowgirl Flare Boutique nearly a decade ago. “They broke in and took all the money in the cash register and several pairs of men’s jeans and shirts.” The illegal immigrants also smoked crack cocaine in her store, Hubbell said, and used the pages of a book nook stationed outside her business to start a fire. Besides also burglarizing the convenience store next to her, Hubbell said the illegal immigrants stole all the cash donations in a shrine that the owner has in honor of her deceased mother.

The problem is only getting worse, locals say, because federal agents are overwhelmed with the onslaught of migrants and more are being released into communities near the border. A separate group of illegal immigrants processed and released by the Border Patrol was arrested within the last 24 hours, Hubbell said, for criminal behavior in Sonoita. “One was coming off meth and the other three guys were traffickers,” Hubbell said. Hours later, an illegal alien “coming off heroine” was taken into custody, she added. “This is the kind of illegal activity that this is bringing to our area,” the longtime resident and business owner declared. She and other town residents, who did not want their name used, say that during Donald Trump’s presidency there was less criminal activity by illegal immigrants than in the first few months of the Biden administration. “This town was so safe for the last four years,” Hubbell said. “Not now.”

In the last few weeks, several media outlets have reported that federal authorities are indeed releasing large groups of illegal immigrants in the U.S. after “processing” them, many without even being issued a court date. One national news syndicate obtained an internal government document that explains the move is “intended to mitigate operational challenges, including risks to national security, during significant surges of illegal migration.” A Texas congressman recently disclosed that federal officials have released around 2,000 illegal immigrants inside the U.S. without a notice to appear in court. The Democrat lawmaker, Henry Cuellar, calls it unprecedented” in a news story and warns that the migrants have placed pressure on border towns. Cuellar represents the border city of Laredo in the U.S. House and has blasted the Biden administration for failing to properly handle the migrant crises. During a recent appearance on a cable news show, the congressman said the Biden administration must work with Mexico and Central America to make sure those countries are helping the U.S.

Happy Easter!

Thanks to government and other abusive covid restrictions on our God-given liberties, too many Americans (and Christians across the world!) will again struggle to practice their faith and celebrate Easter together this weekend.
Despite these challenges, from me and mine, I wish you and yours all the Joy of Easter! Passover again happily coincides with Easter this year – so, Happy Passover, as well!
Until next week …


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