Federal Judge Upholds Tennessee Trans Sports Ban

A federal judge in Tennessee Friday granted a temporary injunction on behalf of the state of Tennessee, which was caught in a legal entanglement with President Joe Biden’s administration on the subject of transgender sports. 

“As it currently stands, plaintiffs must choose between the threat of legal consequences – enforcement action, civil penalties, and the withholding of federal funding – or altering their state laws to ensure compliance with the guidance and avoid such adverse action,” Judge Charles Atchley, a 2020 appointee of former President Donald Trump, said in granting Tennessee’s motion for an injunction against the federal government. 

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Federal Court Lifts Injunction Against Tennessee Heartbeat Bill, Legislation Allowed to Take Effect

Close up of baby feet lying in bed

A federal court lifted an injunction against Tennessee’s “heartbeat bill” that will implement a six-week abortion ban throughout the state.

The ruling follows a request from Attorney General Herbert Slatery to lift the measure, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. The landmark decision previously established a constitutional right to abortion.

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Federal Judge Pauses COVID Mandates for Head Start Program Following Lawsuit from Tennessee Attorney General, Other States

A federal judge in Louisiana granted a temporary injunction that will protect members of the Head Start early education program from a mandate that would force masking and vaccinations for certain individuals.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ruled the Biden administration attempted to use powers of the executive branch to make laws, a move not supported by the Constitution.

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Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery Joins Lawsuit to Block Vaccine Mandate for Head Start Program Volunteers

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery on Tuesday joined a legal effort to stop the Biden administration’s medical mandates for individuals involved in Head Start Programs.

Head Start Programs attempt to prepare children from low-income families for school. The programs focus on early learning and development, health, and family well-being.

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Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery Opposes Ballot Measure to Attorney General Confirmation from State Lawmakers

When speaking to the Nashville Rotary Club on Monday, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced his opposition to a measure that would require the attorney general’s confirmation to be approved by state lawmakers.

Arguing the potential requirement would turn the office into a “political office,” Slatery continued to support the appointment process by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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Tennessee Attorney General Slatery Credited with National Role in Anti-Social Media Effort

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has credited Tennessee’s top prosecutor with a major role in leading NAAG’s support for the U.S. Senate’s inquiry into social media’s impacts on mental health and safety. 

The association announced Tuesday it sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security backing that subcommittee’s efforts to probe Facebook and other companies regarding their effects on children and teens.

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Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery Sues Biden Administration to Stop Federal Guidance That ‘Threatens Women’s Sports and Student Privacy’

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced on Monday that he will lead a coalition of 20 states in a lawsuit against the Biden administration.

In the suit filed Eastern District of Tennessee, Slatery and the other attorneys general seek to prevent the Biden administration from enforcing specific federal guidance that “threatens women’s sports and student and employee privacy.”

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Federal Appeals Court Hears Case Against Tennessee’s 48-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

A federal appeals court held a hearing Wednesday in the ongoing case against Tennessee’s 48-hour waiting period for abortions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held an en banc hearing for the case, Bristol Regional Women’s Center v. Herbert Slatery III, et al.

The court heard arguments from Sarah Campbell, counsel on behalf of the attorney general’s office, and Autumn Katz, the counsel representing Bristol Regional Women’s Center.

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Tennessee Attorney General Sues Food City for Profiteering on Unlawful Opioid Sales for 15 Years

According to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, Food City unlawfully prescribed opioids solely for profit for well over a decade. Slatery asserted that the grocery chain violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, the public nuisance statute at three of its stores, and the common law by endangering public health.

The attorney general documented these alleged abuses in a complaint totaling just over 200 pages. Accusations included: ignoring or attenuating reports of suspicious prescribers, and fulfilling those prescriptions even after the prescribers were raided, disciplined, arrested, or indicted; selling the opioids to drug trafficking ring members; issuing a rewards card for frequent opioid buyers, making it more accessible and affordable to criminals; pressuring employees to increase opioid sales; illegally and secretly transferring opioids throughout the chain to subvert supplier thresholds; continuing the sale of opioids despite multiple instances of overdoses on property; and selling massive opioid quantities to individuals from foreign countries or far-away states.

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Tennessee Among States That Settle iPhone Speed Throttling Lawsuit with Apple, Meaning Customers May Qualify for Portion of Proceeds

Tennessee is one of more than 30 states to reach a $113 million settlement with Apple Inc. over the so-called “Batterygate,” or secret throttling of iPhone speeds, meaning some residents may qualify for a share of the lawsuit’s proceeds.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Tennessee’s attorney general, announced the agreement last week.

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Attorney General: Mask Mandates Are Legally Defensible

Tennessee’s attorney general says mask mandates are constitutionally defensible in an opinion that comes as some county mayors have moved to enact the requirements.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III wrote in an opinion Friday that for more than a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that “a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

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State Rep. Bruce Griffey Requests AG Opinion on Constitutionality of Governor Lee’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

In a five-page letter to the state’s attorney general dated May 12, state Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) requested a legal opinion as to the constitutionality and authority of Governor Bill Lee in issuing executive orders in response to COVID-19.

In a press release about his inquiry, Griffey explained, “When I ran for office, I ran on a platform of small government, limited government – a campaign platform I intend to honor. Moreover, when I took my oath of office, I swore to not only support the Tennessee Constitution but also to not consent to any act or thing that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge the rights and privileges of the people of this state as declared by the Constitution of this State. I intend to uphold my oath of office, and defend the Constitutional rights of Tennesseans and protect them from government over-reach.

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Carol Swain Urges Support for Steve Glover, ‘Only Experienced Conservative’ Running for Council

  Former Metro Nashville mayoral candidate Dr. Carol W. Swain is calling on her supporters to turn out to the polls once again — to support at-large Metro Council candidate Steve Glover. Early voting runs to September 6. Election Day is September 12. In an email newsletter to her supporters, Swain says that Glover is the “only experienced conservative running for a seat on city council” and that he needs votes — and she asks people to vote for only one at-large candidate to give Glover his best chance. Swain also asks her supporters to vote for District 26 council candidate Courtney Johnston, who is engaged in a run-off against Jeremy Elrod. Current Metro Council district member and at-large candidate Steve Glover has been a critic of incumbent Mayor David Briley, including lately, the mayor’s budget, The Tennessee Star reported. Glover believes that the budget submitted by Mayor David Briley and recently passed by the Metro Council violates state law and Metro rules requiring a balanced budget. Glover asked State Senator Farrell Haile (R-Gallatin) to request an opinion from Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery concerning the legality of that budget. During her concession speech in the Aug. 2…

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State Sen. Dickerson, Others in Pain Management Business Sued By United States, Tennessee for Allegedly Committing $25M in Medicare, TennCare Fraud

  State Sen. Steven Dickerson (R-TN-20) is among those being sued by the federal government and Tennessee over alleged Medicare and TennCare fraud totaling at least $25 million. The United States and Tennessee on Monday filed a consolidated complaint in intervention alleging violations of the False Claims Act and the Tennessee Medicaid False Claims Act by Anesthesia Services Associates, PLLC, doing business as Comprehensive Pain Specialists (CPS), according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III. The governments allege that the scheme defrauded Medicare and TennCare of at least $25 million. The complaint also names as defendants Dr. Peter B. Kroll, of Goodlettsville; Dr. Steven R. Dickerson, of Nashville; and Dr. Gilberto A. Carrero, of Nashville, three of the principal owners of CPS, as well as John Davis, of Franklin, the former CEO, who was convicted by a jury in April of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute; and Russell S. Smith, a chiropractor from Cleveland. The complaint also states claims for violation of the Federal Priority Statute and common law claims, including unjust enrichment and fraud. A federal judge in April granted prosecutors’ requests to intervene in whistleblower complaints…

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Court Panel Eliminates Tennessee Limit on Punitive Damages

A Tennessee statute capping punitive damages is unconstitutional, a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit has ruled. The Sixth Circuit panel ruled 2-1 on Dec. 21 that state case law shows an award of punitive damages is a “finding of fact” that is allowed by jurors, Courthouse News Service reported. The case involved a dispute between Tamarin Lindenberg, individually and as guardian for her minor children, and Jackson National Life Insurance Co., which had a $350,000 life insurance policy on Lindenberg’s ex-husband. The panel’s ruling is available here. The panel cited the Tennessee Constitution of 1796 and its relation to the constitution and common laws of North Carolina when Tennessee adopted the document. The panel found that a right to jury trials and punitive damages existed at the time. The panel’s ruling states: Defendant Jackson National Life Insurance Company (“Defendant”) appeals from the district court’s judgment enforcing a jury trial verdict of $350,000 in actual damages, $87,500 in bad faith damages, and $3,000,000 in punitive damages in favor of Plaintiff Tamarin Lindenberg (“Plaintiff”), individually and in her capacity as natural guardian of her minor children, ZTL and SML. Plaintiff cross-appeals, challenging a statutory cap that the district…

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Diane Black is Only Gubernatorial Candidate Willing to Change Attorney General Selection Process, Victor Ashe Says

Diane Black Would Veto in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrant students

Victor Ashe noted in his weekly column that Diane Black is the only gubernatorial candidate who supports bringing more transparency to the attorney general selection process. The Black campaign touted Ashe’s column in a press release. The former Knoxville mayor wrote in the Knoxville News-Sentinel that Democratic candidates Craig Fitzhugh and Karl Dean, along with Republicans Beth Harwell (state House speaker) and Randy Boyd all said they support the status quo. Ashe wrote, “Surprisingly, no one is a change agent here as the selection process for state AG is unique to Tennessee with the Supreme Court (only five people) meeting behind closed doors once every eight years to pick a Tennessean to be the chief legal officer. The open meetings laws do not apply to this meeting of a public body.” Black supports voter input Black, however, believes the voters should have a say. “Whether through direct election or legislative appointment, Diane supports changing this process and will push for that change as governor.” Tennessee’s attorney general is Republican Herbert H. Slatery III. He was sworn in as the attorney general and reporter on Oct. 1, 2014, according to the attorney general’s website. Prior to his appointment, Slatery served as…

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Tennessee Attorney General Sidesteps Harwell Campaign Finance Allegations

Beth Harwell and Hebert Slatery

A hearing today could determine whether House Speaker Beth Harwell and her PAC will be found in violation of state campaign finance laws in the gubernatorial race. Meanwhile, the Tennessee attorney general has sidelined himself in the matter. The allegations against Harwell will be heard at the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance meeting at 10 a.m. CST. The registry is part of the state Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. Attorney General Herbert Slatery declined to answer questions about Harwell’s campaign submitted by Drew Rawlins, the executive director of the bureau, reported The Tennessean. In refusing to answer the questions, Slatery’s office said the questions could become part of a potential lawsuit and the office might have to participate in the suit, The Tennessee Journal’s Humphrey on the Hill reported. Both The Tennessean and Humphrey on the Hill state that Slatery often provides opinions on topics that could become part of litigation. Rawlins asked the attorney general’s office five questions, mostly related to recent complaints filed against Harwell, according to The Tennessean. She is the subject of three complaints. One complaint challenges the validity of a $3.1 million loan Harwell made to her campaign, according to Humphrey on the Hill. The…

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Tennessee Legislators Continue to Deny Voters Right to Elect State’s Attorney General

State Sen. Ken Yager

The Republican dominated General Assembly has already moved the appointment of judges to the Governor and if they have their way this legislative session, they will continue to keep the selection of the state’s chief law enforcement officer out of the reach of Tennessee voters as well. Forty-three states elect their Attorney General. Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston), chief sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 611 which partially reforms selection of the State Attorney General, has previously stated that selecting an AG through popular election is the least-preferred method of selection Yager’s resolution would instead require the General Assembly to confirm the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Attorney General nominee and if rejected, require the court to submit another nominee. The AG’s term would also be reduced from eight years to four years. In the past, the state’s Supreme Court has held a public hearing during which lawyers applying for the AG position made presentations in open court. However, most of the court’s process is kept from public view. Judges conduct private interviews of the candidates and there is no record of how they vote on the AG nominee. Yager’s resolution would open the Supreme Court’s process – “[t]he nomination shall be made by the Supreme Court in open court…

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Eleven States Launch Legal Fight Against Sanctuary Cities, Tennessee Not Among Them

As the public outcry against sanctuary cities grows louder, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced today that he is leading a coalition of 11 state attorneys general in the fight to finally put an end to sanctuary cities. In contrast, Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, the state’s chief legal advisor, is not on board, so the Volunteer State is not named among the states in the coalition. Announced in a tweet, the coalition has filed a brief urging a federal appeals court to overturn a lower court ruling and enforce President Trump’s anti-sanctuary cities executive order. These 11 states (West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas) insist that sanctuary cities “undermine the President’s immigration enforcement authority, an area where the Constitution gives him and Congress considerable power.” W.Va. AG, Louisiana Lead 11 States in Fight Against Sanctuary Cities https://t.co/oDVO57PTBw — WV Attorney General (@WestVirginiaAG) December 27, 2017 Attorney General Morrisey also issued this statement: “Sanctuary cities are a matter of public safety. Law enforcement officials can better protect citizens if they are capable of complying with federal immigration laws rather than having their authority limited by the establishment of sanctuary cities.” The announcement also…

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Nearly Half of Tennesseans Affected by Equifax Data Breach, Attorney General Says

Tennessee Star

Nearly half of Tennessee residents were affected by the Equifax data breach, according to state Attorney General Herbert Slatery. Slatery has written a letter to the Atlanta-based credit reporting firm to express concern about personal information being stolen, making consumers vulnerable to identity theft and financial loss. His said in his letter Tuesday he was adding his voice to that of 44 other attorneys general. A news release from Slatery’s office said the personal information of more than 3 million Tennesseans has been stolen. The state has a population of 6.65 million. “It is distressing that this massive breach leaves consumers exposed to financial and other harm,” Slatery said. “Consumers need to be vigilant about regularly monitoring their financial accounts and credit reports, and Equifax must actively assist consumers in those efforts.” In his letter, Slatery advised the company of the frustration that many consumers are experiencing when they contact Equifax and face long wait times and interactions with uninformed employees. He also advised Equifax not to create confusion for consumers who might think they have to pay for credit monitoring when it is now being offered for free. He said the cutoff date for people to sign up for the free…

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Commentary: Tennessee Attorney General Abuses His Position to Offer Political and Not Legal Opinion

  Disregarding the Constitution, foundational principles of federalism, immigration law and his statutorily prescribed duties, Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, the state’s chief legal advisor, has used his position and office to advance a political agenda on behalf of illegal aliens in the state. Forty-three states elect their Attorney General unlike in Tennessee whose state Constitution directs the State Supreme Court to make the appointment for a term of eight years. Elected Attorney Generals are viewed as more accountable to the public and more independent from the governor. Elected AGs are also viewed as having more credibility should a situation arise requiring investigating wrongdoing by any state official including the governor. Prior to his appointment as Tennessee’s Attorney General, from 2011 – 2014, Slatery, also from Knoxville, served as counsel to Governor Haslam. “In addition to providing legal advice to the Governor, he oversaw the process for judicial appointments, coordinated the legal affairs of the executive branch for the Governor, assisted in the development and implementation of legislation, and reviewed requests for executive clemency and extradition.” Using his official letterhead, Slatery informed Sens. Alexander and Corker that Tennessee would not challenge the DACA program despite admitting the likelihood of prevailing. Slatery’s…

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President Trump’s Decision to End DACA Pleases Supporters, Outrages the Left

Tennessee Star

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is calling President Trump’s decision to phase out DACA “cruel and reckless,” but supporters are praising the move. The Trump Administration announced Tuesday morning that DACA recipients will lose their protected status starting in March unless Congress acts. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security explaining that DACA was not statutorily authorized and was therefore an unconstitutional exercise of discretion by the executive branch,” said a White House news release. The decision is being cheered by Americans who want tougher immigration enforcement, but activist groups like TIRRC are outraged. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that was started by former President Obama through an executive order. It offers young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children a chance to obtain temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. “Over the past five years, the DACA program has been a lifeline for more than 8,300 Tennesseans, providing a sense of security and a chance to dream and invest in their future here,” said TIRRC in an online letter to supporters. “Caving to the demands of extremist attorneys general and white supremacists in…

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Speaker Harwell and Speaker Pro Tempore Tracy Request AG Opinion on Metro’s Sanctuary City Ordinance

  House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) issued a press release Friday morning that included a letter over their names to the State Attorney General (AG) requesting an opinion on Metro Nashville Council’s recently proposed sanctuary city ordinance, which passed a second of three required readings on Tuesday in a 25 to 8 vote. Accompanying the letter to the AG was a statement from Speaker Harwell: Our local, state, and federal enforcement officials must be able to work together to keep our families and communities safe.  The Tennessee General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a ban on sanctuary cities in 2009, and this ordinance demonstrates a reckless disregard for state and federal law.  Speaker Pro Tempore Tracy and I are seeking clarity from the Attorney General so we can determine how best to proceed.  This is not only public safety issue for Nashville, but for our whole state. – Speaker Beth Harwell Harwell’s statement included a link to the 2009 legislation. The letter, on official 110th General Assembly letter head, dated June 23, 2017, and addressed to The Honorable Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reported, signed by Senator Jim Tracy, Speaker Pro Tempore and…

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Tennessee Legislature Passes Ban On Abortions After 20 Weeks

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday banning abortions after 20 weeks if a doctor says the fetus is viable. The House voted 69-18 in favor of the legislation, which passed the Senate 27-3 on Monday. It now goes to Gov. Haslam. The legislation includes felony penalties for doctors but doesn’t apply if the mother could die or suffer serious damage to major bodily functions. The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) and in the Senate by Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald). Haslam said he would talk to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery before making his decision, according to the Associated Press. Slatery has said his office would defend the measure if it were to become law. However, he previously called it “constitutionally suspect.” The House Republican majority voted against including exceptions for rape and incest that Democrats wanted in the legislation.

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Commentary: Lawsuits In Lethal School Bus Crash Reveal Secret About Liberty Of Travel

Tennessee Star

By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A secret is being revealed by lawyers filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of the yellow school bus crash in Chattanooga that killed six children. So eager are lawyers to unveil this mystery in courtroom filings that Attorney General Herbert Slatery last week filed suit against the Witherspoon law firm in Dallas on accusations that it hounded bus crash victims’ survivors for work and even threatened one family by saying the funeral home would not bury a dead child unless the grieving parent signed a contract for legal services. Even in the most boilerplate pages among the civil case courtroom filings (that from the Fried law firm in Atlanta) is this secret sauce revealed: That driving is a commercial act, and that driving is subject to regulation, to state ownership and consent. OK, OK, you say, so what does that mean? Let’s pull back, adjust focus and perspective so that these observations are more than just the modern administrative hieroglyph that they appear to be. Move the lamp, alter the light, understand the claim the lawyers are putting forth — these are actually true. It’s worth knowing. Newcomers to…

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Tennessee Not Among States Filing Amicus Brief In Support of President Trump’s Executive Order Banning Travel from Six Middle Eastern Countries

Thirteen states have joined together to file an amicus brief in support of President Trump’s travel ban, but Tennessee is not among them. The friend of the court brief was filed Monday in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It defends Trump’s revised Executive Order 13780 temporarily barring citizens of six Middle Eastern countries-Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Yemen and Libya-from entering the U.S, and temporarily stopping the arrival of refugees from any country. A spokesman for Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery told The Tennessee Star that “our office does not typically discuss legal strategy.” “This matter is in the very early stage of litigation and not joining an amicus brief is not necessarily an indication of lack of support,” said spokesman Harlow Sumerford. Signing the amicus brief were attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi also joined. Alabama and Texas have filed lawsuits against the federal government to end the resettlement of refugees in their states on grounds of failure to comply with the consultation clause of the Refugee Act of 1980. Earlier this month, Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the federal…

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