Feeling like Fall | Five for Your Weekend

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Happy weekend, everyone!

This week’s weather has been a splendid introduction to fall. I hope everyone can get out this weekend to enjoy the “sweater weather” and their favorite fall activities.

As always, the week’s top stories are below.

Have a good weekend,

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. A Texas judge ruled this doctor was not an expert. A Pennsylvania Republican invited him to testify on trans health care

A physician testifying before a House panel Monday as part of a “fact-finding mission” on gender-affirming care was disqualified by a judge earlier this year as an expert on trans health care.

Dr. Quentin Van Meter, an Atlanta-based doctor and president of a conservative pediatric group, was one of three medical practitioners who testified before the Pennsylvania House Health Committee on the science behind gender dysphoria, or the feeling of being misaligned with the sex you were born with.

The first two Pennsylvania-based experts argued that gender-affirming care, including puberty-blocking drugs, were a safe way to help a young person grappling with their identity.

Then, lawmakers heard from Van Meter, who has previously called such treatment “medical experimentation based on wishful social theory,” but in a February 2020 court ruling, was “discredited as an expert” on hormone treatment.

The ruling came in a Texas divorce case overseen by Judge Germaine Tanner of Harris County.

2. Federal judge in Pittsburgh declares Wolf’s key COVID-19 restrictions unconstitutional; Wolf plans appeal

A U.S. District court judge in Pittsburgh has struck down the most significant portions of the Wolf administration’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that state-imposed limits on outdoor gatherings, its stay at home order, and its business shutdown orders were unconstitutional.

Officials in four southwestern Pennsylvania counties: Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties, brought the action. They were joined by businesses and Republican office-seekers.

“The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal,’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures,” U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV wrote in a 66-page opinion. “Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed even in an emergency.”

The court’s ruling found that Wolf’s business shutdown plan, enacted by executive order in March as the pandemic took hold, violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause, and that administration’s stay-at-home orders violated constitutional due process protections.

3. White protesters, shouting racial slurs, try to disrupt Cheyney U. classes

Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest Historically Black College and University, was the scene of a demonstration that attempted to disrupt classes on Tuesday.

According to sources, a small group of white protesters entered the campus which sits astride Chester and Delaware counties around 1:30 p.m. The group then began shouting racial slurs and biblically-themed rhetoric at students and anyone else passing through an area of the campus known as The Quad. There were no incidents involving students and the demonstrators left the campus around 4 p.m..

4. GOP sees voter reg surge as fall campaign begins | Analysis

Mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania go out on Sept. 14, and Republicans are seeing continued growth in voter registration, a Capital-Star analysis has found.

While it was a disappointing summer for the GOP in national polls, they made impressive voter registration gains throughout the commonwealth. It now seems quite likely that the differing partisan responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are responsible for this dynamic. After all, if you’re taking social distancing seriously, you’re less likely to knock on doors and approach strangers.

A month ago, the Democratic margin statewide was 783,116. It currently stands at 758,854. Altogether, that’s 4,121,353 Democrats, 3,362,499 Republicans and 1,241,714 others for a grand total of 8,725,566 registered voters.

5. Despite Green Party court fight, Biden, Dems up their ballot game | Monday Morning Coffee

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Today is Monday, Sept. 14, the day that county election boards were supposed to start sending out mail-in ballots to tens of thousands of ballots who’d requested them. But because this is 2020 and the oddest campaign season in recent memory, that isn’t happening.

As our friends at Philadelphia Magazine report, the ballots haven’t even been printed yet. And for that, you can blame that on a court fight between Pennsylvania Democrats and the Green Party over ballot access.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here Monday. 

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.