Joe Zemaitis is an accomplished swim coach, and a world-class athlete in his own right. But now, he’s facing a huge challenge the likes of which he’s never experienced—bureaucrats in the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, who are keeping Joe’s students out of city pools in violation of the state’s Constitution. This week, the Goldwater Institute announced that it has teamed up with Joe and is going to court to take on those bureaucrats and defend taxpayer rights.

As the head coach of Swim Neptune in metro Phoenix, Joe works with swimmers from age 5 through high school. For more than a decade, Swim Neptune has been trying to gain access to Scottsdale’s public pools, so kids in that area can more easily access needed facilities. But the city of Scottsdale has let a single private city-sponsored team, the Scottsdale Aquatic Club, practice in city pools at a highly discounted rate. And even though Swim Neptune has offered Scottsdale far more than what the Scottsdale Aquatic Club pays to use the pool lanes, Scottsdale has said no.

Scottsdale’s actions are not just hurting Joe and the Swim Neptune kids, but it’s also violating the state’s Gift Clause, which prohibits government from giving gifts to private entities. That’s exactly what the city of Scottsdale is doing here: It’s allowing the Scottsdale Aquatic Club to have a monopoly.

You can read more from In Defense of Liberty here. And watch a brand-new Goldwater Institute video above to hear Joe share his story.

Goldwater Hosts Webinar to Launch Plan to Put Patients First

Recently, the Goldwater Institute released a transformational blueprint to put patients at the center of their healthcare, outlining an actionable plan for reforming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so that patients receive the rapid, informed care they need. And earlier this week, Goldwater hosted a special webinar, during which Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur and Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez discussed this new blueprint and the work the Institute is doing to make its recommendations into reality.

With the arrival of COVID-19 on our shores last year, the scientific community mobilized quickly to develop treatments, culminating in the arrival of several vaccines now being administered across the country. Yet in the U.S., government kept innovations from getting to Americans as quickly as they could—and should—have. “This pandemic has really opened our eyes to the fact that our healthcare system is plagued by bureaucratic inertia,” Sandefur explained during the webinar. “At the FDA, the default has become regulation, not innovation. Unfortunately, this is at a time when it’s become very clear that we need regulations to keep pace with the unbelievable healthcare innovations.” As Lopez put it, there’s a “regulatory mismatch” between “scientific advances and the decades-old regulatory system.”

But government shouldn’t be a roadblock to harnessing scientific breakthroughs: As Goldwater’s blueprint makes clear, there are opportunities to cut government red tape and help patients. You can watch the full webinar above to learn more about these opportunities—and how Goldwater is working toward the creation of a more patient-centric healthcare system for Americans. And for more information, you can read our full blueprint, Putting Patients First: Unleashing Innovation in American Healthcare, here.

A Big Win for Indian Children

Passed more than 40 years ago, the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) today frequently does harm to Indian kids, preventing Native parents and state child welfare agencies from protecting these children from abuse and neglect. However, this week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court ruling in a case called Brackeenthat found ICWA unconstitutional on a variety of legal grounds—and that’s a big win for Indian children.

As Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur writes at In Defense of Liberty, the court found ICWA’s requirement that state child welfare agencies send abused and neglected Indian children back to homes they know to be harmful—a requirement not imposed on children of any other race—to be unconstitutional. Additionally, the judges were unable to agree on whether two other provisions of ICWA are constitutional—a rule that requires that Indian children be adopted by “other Indian families” instead of adults of other races, and one that requires Indian children in foster care to be placed in “Indian” foster homes, regardless of tribal differences. Since the judges couldn’t agree on those points, the trial court ruling declaring these parts of ICWA unconstitutional remains in place.

The Fifth Circuit’s decision is an extremely long and complex one, Sandefur writes, which likely makes the Brackeen case “a good candidate for U.S. Supreme Court review. It is well past time that Native children were given the same legal protections against abuse and neglect that children of other races enjoy.”

The Goldwater Institute has long led the way in fighting for the equal protection of Native children. In addition to filing a friend-of-the-court brief in Brackeen, we’ve litigated several state and federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of ICWA and standing up for the belief that all Native American children are citizens of the United States, entitled to the same protections that apply to all other children.

You can read Sandefur’s full post on the Fifth Circuit’s important ICWA decision here, and you can read all about Goldwater’s efforts to challenge ICWA here.

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