WASHINGTON — The #FreeBritney movement that's reverberated across the internet finally has reached Congress, with conservative lawmakers Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan teaming up to demand a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships.
Pop star Britney Spears has been in conservatorship since 2008 following concerns about her mental health. Her father, Jamie Spears, was named her conservator as he claimed people were taking advantage of his daughter while her life and health were at risk, according to CBS News.
Being a conservator, Jamie Spears was provided with the ability to oversee her financial and personal affairs. But the singer has said she would like her father, who temporarily stepped down from his role citing health issues, to be replaced by his temporary replacement, Jodi Montgomery. He remains a conservator of her estate, however.
Gaetz, R-Florida, and Jordan, R-Ohio, say they want to know the extent to which Britney Spears and other Americans are "trapped unjustly in conservatorships."
"The ACLU is concerned that individuals are 'being stripped of virtually all of their civil rights through guardianships and conservatorships' and has called for the exploration of reforms to ensure that unnecessary conservatorships can be terminated so these individuals may 'direct their own lives,'" reads the lawmakers' letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-New York.
"The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platform performing artist Britney Spears. Since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship. The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears."
The lawmakers say there needs to be an investigation into whether the court process of conservatorships "unjustly" strips people of their freedoms. Although the arrangement usually is meant to be temporary for those who cannot make decisions for themselves, Britney Spears has been under court order for about 13 years.
The Associated Press reports Britney Spears said the conservatorship was necessary at the time and probably saved her career but last summer, she began publically weighing in on her situation. The New York Times documentary "Framing Britney Spears" most recently captured the public's attention on the issue, leading to more people -- including celebrities and lawmakers -- to join the #FreeBritney conversation.
The Judiciary Committee has not yet set a date nor declined Gaetz's and Jordan's request for a hearing.
"The Chairman has received the request," a committee spokesperson told CBS News. "This Congress, the Committee will work to advance critical legislation to protect and strengthen civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans."
CBS News says Britney Spears' next court date is set for March 17.
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