Locked in a battle to remove her father, Jamie Spears, as her sole conservator, Britney Spears has been offered help with her case from an unexpected source: the American Civil Liberties Union.
"People with disabilities have a right to lead self-directed lives and retain their civil rights," the ACLU said in a tweet Wednesday. "If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her."
Britney had asked a California court Tuesday to remove her father as sole conservator of person, and instead have Jodi Montgomery serve permanently in that role. Montgomery was appointed Britney's conservator of person temporarily since late last year, after Jamie Spears stepped away due to health issues.
"Britney is strongly opposed to James [Jamie Spears] return as conservator of her person," court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight say.
Jamie Spears was appointed his daughter's conservator in 2008 following her public breakdowns, giving him control over her personal life, career choices, and finances. He continues to serve as conservator over Britney's finances, a role he shared with attorney Andrew M. Wallet until last year when Wallet resigned.
Conservatorships — called guardianships in some states — grant a person care over an adult who the court determines "cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances," according to the California Judicial Branch.
Zoe Brennan-Krohn, a staff attorney at the ACLU Disability Rights Project, told BuzzFeed News that any conservatorship is "definitionally" a disability rights issue.
"I don't know what types of disabilities or diagnoses Britney Spears has or doesn’t have, but she's being perceived by the court as a person with disabilities," she said. "That’s why there’s a conservatorship."
Many of Britney's fans have long opposed the conservatorship and campaigned for her to regain the ability to make major decisions in her life, even though she herself has pleaded with fans for privacy. The hashtag #FreeBritney was widely used in the weeks before her court filing, and many people gathered outside a courthouse during the hearing to show their support.
Brennan-Krohn pointed out that Britney's case is unusual in that her celebrity status draws far more attention and there is a lot of money involved, but it's also typical in that conservatorships are "much easier to get into than to get out of."
She said she doesn't know whether the singer wants to get out of conservatorship, but if Britney calls the ACLU seeking representation to terminate the agreement, "that would be a conversation we'd be more than happy to have with her," Brennan-Krohn said.