Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apparently lawyers at ADF are proficient mind readers

liar liar
Today Alliance Defending Freedom has once again claimed that the city of Houston has issued subpoenas to local pastors for the purpose of silencing and intimidating them. That is unsupported conjecture that ADF states as fact. The continue to personally attack the mayor of Houston.

ADF, a Christianist legal group, is representing a few ministers who were subpoenaed for records in Houston. Those are records pertaining to signature gathering for a failed attempt to put an initiative (to repeal the city's anti-discrimination ordinance) on the ballot. The city is a defendant in a lawsuit claiming that it improperly invalidated signatures.

Not content to let a judge decide the appropriateness of the scope of the aforementioned subpoenas, ADF is making a great deal of noise. Indeed, they gave this story to Todd Starnes who made it sound like the intention of the city had nothing to do with the lawsuit but was aimed at silencing and intimidating pastors who were critical of the perverse homosexual mayor. The rest of the conservative Christian world followed suit as the story got repeated (and embellished) throughout Christendom and beyond.

ADF makes this noise because they believe that it influences the outcome (it should not) and because they are always begging for money. For the year ended June 30, 2013 ADF took in nearly $40 million. ADF reported 193 employees plus they paid an additional 212 people as independent contractors. The paid a Christian media relations firm (Masterworks) nearly $1 mil during the year and they are sitting on close to $20 mil. in liquid assets. ADF is a large and influential operation that claims to be part of a persecuted community.

Today they state:
City officials apparently want to see if the pastors have ever opposed or criticized them … and to intimidate them, other pastors, and any other citizens from ever doing so again. In effect, it’s an aggressive bid to control – through explicit legal action or implicit political pressure – what preachers preach, and what Christians believe about social issues.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” says ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions. Political and social commentary is not a crime; it is protected by the First Amendment.”
This is just utter nonsense but it is intentional prevarication.  It is highly unlikely that either the mayor or city council were involved in constructing the scope or means of document discovery. Ms. Holcomb is an attorney she knows this. On the other hand she is a graduate of Oak Brook Law which is an unaccredited Christian correspondence law school.  With little experience (admitted to the bar in 2011) perhaps she doesn't know better. Anyway <sigh> once again:

Attorneys for the city have issued subpoenas to pastors for non-privileged discovery associated with signature gathering. They have probably cast too wide a net. That is what lawyers do. Other lawyers (from ADF) are objecting to the scope of the subpoenas. That is what lawyers do. The judge presiding over this case will have to decide what is fair game. That is what judges do.

This is the litigation kabuki that plays out in courtrooms across the country every day. In the end, everybody lives.

As an aside, Ms. Holcomb is probably precluded from any representation of the Houston pastors (pro hac vice) due to the fact that she went to an unaccredited law school. Her name does not appear on any of the paperwork.

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