yesRitney Spears is caught in a controlling and abusive legal deal, argue members of the #FreeBritney movement, one that could be affecting her civil rights. Reporters and fans like Diet Prada, a pop culture critic on Instagram, say that despite Spears being able to maintain a career as a singer that makes millions of dollars a year, he still needs permission to drive a car, get out of his home and hire your own lawyer, and possibly even vote.
Since 2008, Spears has been under a conservatorship, designed for people who cannot take care of themselves, where a court-approved guardian takes control of the ward’s finances and health care decisions. The details of Spears’ guardianship are confidential (calls and messages to his manager, talent agency, court-appointed attorney, and attorney were not returned), but he may have joined the thousands of Americans who are deprived of your rights each year due to “incompetence” laws.
Although the 38-year-old is seldom openly political, in late March she posted an Instagram post saying, “We will feed each other, we will redistribute wealth, we will attack,” captioned with the red rose emojis favored by Democrats. American Socialists. “Comrade Britney knows this: together we can build a better world,” the DSA tweeted in response, “because capitalism is toxic.”
When Spears was placed under conservatorship, he was not supposed to be eligible to vote, but in 2016, California law changed. Now, the conservatee is supposed to be competent unless it is proven in court that she cannot communicate her desire to vote, which is the only standard she must meet.
However, in other jurisdictions, the conservatee must understand the “nature and effect” of the vote. According to Paul S Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who helped develop that standard, that diagnosis boils down to three questions: What is the purpose of an election? What is the purpose of voting? And what is the effect of voting?
“This is a very simple screen,” says Appelbaum. “So you have to be pretty deteriorated, and only a very small proportion of people will fail at something like this.” However, the numbers may not be so insignificant, says Michelle Bishop, manager of voter participation and access for the National Network on Disability Rights, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities. .
“It can be difficult to trace, which really scares me,” she says. According to a source, the latest survey on electoral administration and voting, 9,569 people were removed from the voting lists for mental incompetence in 2018. However, Bishop points out that the electoral administrations would probably have access to that information only if they requested it from the system court. . “We are concerned that those numbers are not really accurate,” she says.
More fundamentally, however, Bishop argues that people with disabilities must have the same standards as everyone else. “All you have to do is demonstrate your desire to vote,” she says. “You don’t have to show you understand how our government works. You don’t have to say who you want to vote for and give good reasons why you made that decision. “She laughs.” Frankly, we don’t all have good reasons. “
Under California law, Britney Spears’ guardianship is reviewed annually or every two years, although you can petition the court at any time to restore your voting rights. It may only be a trope of pop music, but Diet Prada notes that pressing against a controlling force is a theme through many of Britney’s successes. “I don’t need permission, I make my own decisions,” he sings in one from 2004. “That’s my prerogative.”