Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hate group leader shows his determination to waste court time and costs

Hate Group Leader Mat Staver - Liberty Counsel
Mat Staver, leader of Liberty Counsel, a hate group, has sent out an email in response to GuideStar's motion to dismiss. Before I get to that, Andrew Seidel of the Freedom From Religion Foundation has a superb article, mostly about the enormous waste of taxpayer dollars because of Liberty Counsel's vexatious litigation. It is worth your time to read his analysis.

The subject email from Staver came in moments after I finished reading Seidel's piece this morning. A seventh-grader could figure out that Liberty Counsel cannot sue GuideStar for defamation. If they have a case then it is against Southern Poverty Law Center for designating Liberty Counsel a hate group. According to Staver:
Last night, Liberty Counsel filed a response countering GuideStar's request to dismiss the lawsuit against it for intentionally damaging Liberty Counsel's reputation by falsely labeling it a "hate group." It is clear this case should continue. GuideStar intended to damage Liberty Counsel's reputation in the mind of the public and especially current and potential donors. This politically-motivated label has exposed Liberty Counsel to potential violence and even death threats, causing additional expense increasing security to protect its staff from an attack similar to the one against the Family Research Council in 2012 and that one that seriously injured Representative Steve Scalise, who was discharged from the hospital less than two weeks ago.
When will a judge get sufficiently disturbed to take action against Liberty Counsel in the form of sanctions?
  • GuideStar has not labeled Liberty Counsel a hate group. The designation is by SPLC and the reasons are fully documented. SPLC has a legal right to state its opinion of Liberty Counsel!
  • The public is well aware of the fact that Liberty Counsel is a hate group.  I would love to see Staver document the so-called extra expense and, even if it exists, it is attributable to the fact that it is a hate group; not to SPLC, and certainly not to GuideStar. The simple fact is that Liberty Counsel's bigotry and Mat Staver's bigotry pisses people off.
  • This has nothing to do with either Family Research Council or Steve Scalise. Neither incident is the responsibility of SPLC and certainly not of GuideStar.
The case has a very low standard to meet to continue. Precedent states that even if proof is "improbable" and "recovery is very remote" that a "well plead complaint may proceed." Liberty Counsel's case significantly surpasses this low bar with accurate facts and harm caused by GuideStar's reckless action. GuideStar presented the "hate group" label as "fact." GuideStar issued a statement saying it will continue to provide the SPLC "hate group" information upon request and is considering other ways to distribute this incorrect information to the public. 
Staver is probably correct. The bar is set very low. Nevertheless, if I write something quoting the New York Times and someone doesn't like what the Times says they must take that up with the Times — not me. Moreover, GuideStar was indisputably correct on the facts. They reported that SPLC has designated Liberty Counsel a hate group. That is not in dispute. Again, if Staver doesn't like it, he can sue SPLC. Odds are that he will not. Even an imbecile like Staver is smart enough to know that the effort would be futile. Moreover, SPLC is entitled to its opinion.

In contrast, Staver has been championing the “right” of Christian pregnancy centers to lie to people and mislead them without consequence. Everything is acceptable if one claims to be a Christian.
"If GuideStar has nothing to hide, why is the organization so desperately fighting the discovery phase of our lawsuit? This 'hate group' label is false, defamatory, and dangerous," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "There are unstable people who have listened to this reckless rhetoric and used it to justify physical harm and even attempted murder because of these false, politically-motivated labels. GuideStar is playing with fire, and other innocent lives will be hurt by its reckless allegations. Liberty Counsel is not a 'hate group' and opposes violence," said Staver.
Even for Staver, the rhetorical question is idiotic. When faced with frivolous litigation the correct path is to file a motion to dismiss. It saves time and money. What on earth could GuideStar possibly be “hiding?” It is inconceivable that GuideStar is trying to obscure anything that is remotely pertinent to this case. Staver can deny that his organization is a hate group all day long but that does not change the fact that SPLC believes otherwise. No court is going to trample on SPLC's rights to free speech.

What is really happening here is that it costs Liberty Counsel nothing to do this while, at the same time, they raise money off of the endeavor. Meanwhile taxpayers pay the inflated court costs and subsidize all of the donations to Liberty Counsel because they are tax deductible. Furthermore, this is costing GuideStar considerable legal fees which it probably will not recover. My guess is that if GuideStar were to agree not to do this again, Liberty Counsel would drop the case. It would appear that GuideStar and CEO Harold Jacob are not predisposed to being bullied. Kudos to them. Incidentally, I am on their mailing list. At least thus far GuideStar is not trying to raise money off of this incident.

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