Thursday, October 12, 2017

AFA's half-assed lawyer is confused - again

Abraham Hamilton III
Abe Hamilton
AFA in-house
On their faux news blog, one American Family Association's village idiots — Chris Woodward — writes: “Conservatives wage a new battle for free speech.”

AFA, an anti-LGBT hate group is displeased with a congressional joint resolution, PL115-58 which denounces the hate groups associated with the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia in August. In essence AFA is aligning themselves with white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other miscreants — intended or not.

The summary of the resolution reads as follows:
Condemning the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place during events between August 11 and August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, recognizing the first responders who lost their lives while monitoring the events, offering deepest condolences to the families and friends of those individuals who were killed and deepest sympathies and support to those individuals who were injured by the violence, expressing support for the Charlottesville community, rejecting White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups, and urging the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.
This resolution was only necessary because Trump demonstrated poor leadership. Trump did not promptly decounce people like Klansmen and neo-Nazis. In essence Trump asked for their continued support. It was a disgusting display of narcissism. Everything is always about Agent Orange and only Agent Orange.

According to Mr. Woodward:
However, American Family Association (AFA) general counsel Abraham Hamilton III, argues that the hastily enacted statute has overly broad terms that could weaponize leftist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to continue persecuting groups with which they have an ideological disagreement.
“Weaponize?” The biggest problem with this drivel is that Hamilton doesn't seem to have read the bill (yes a joint resolution is a bill). This particular JR merely expresses the sentiment of Congress. No actions are required or prohibited by this public law. No meaningful statute is created in spite of Hamilton's opposition to one.

The JR concludes:
(7) urges—
(A) the President and his administration to—
(i) speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy; and
(ii) use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States; and
(B) the Attorney General to work with—
(i) the Secretary of Homeland Security to investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups in order to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence; and
(ii) the heads of other Federal agencies to improve the reporting of hate crimes and to emphasize the importance of the collection, and the reporting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, of hate crime data by State and local agencies.
Trump did sign the bill but there is no evidence that he has done any of what he was urged to do. The bill does not compel anyone to do anything. So why are these people complaining? Why now? The bill was passed a month ago today and was signed by Trump on September 14, the day he received it. Who do they want to do what? AFA explains:
As a result, Hamilton is among the 70-plus signers of an open letter asking President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to clarify their comments to freedom of expression, reaffirm their sworn oaths to defend the United States Constitution as it guarantees that fundamental liberty, and reject further legislative efforts that weaken First Amendment protections for all Americans.

"The hope and the intention is President Trump, Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell will all see that and say, 'Wait a minute, maybe we need to step back and revisit what we've done previously,'" Hamilton shared. "This is much broader than somebody throwing out a name and name calling. This is the United States Congress enacting law (PL115-58), but you would have completely broad, ambiguous and undefined terms."
Hamilton is way out of his depth. Around 2007, Hamilton worked as an assistant district attorney for Harris County, Texas which includes Houston. There are currently 157 attorneys in that office.

There is exactly one reference to Hamilton in the Houston Chronicle and it involves the head of a rap label's body guards assaulting someone.

Hamilton fares better in New Orleans where he was an ADA as recently as 2015. The Times Picayune provides six accounts of Hamilton prosecuting violent crimes including murder.

In no way whatsoever does that make Hamilton qualified to weigh in on legislation. Moreover, Hamilton went to Loyola University New Orleans College of Law which barely makes into the third tier. It's full time employment rate (employed as lawyers) was 47% for 2016 grads.

Hamilton's undergraduate years were spent at Oral Roberts University. Perhaps his degree in New Testament Biblical Literature provides the expertise he claims to have. That ORU degree explains why he is with AFA and why he is not practicing law.

That is not to say that someone who is inexpert cannot be a qualified analyzer of a federal measure. However, to create meaningful discourse, one must be specific, not only about what he or she doesn't agree with but how something needs to be changed and why. None of that is present. And none of this has anything to do with free speech as the title claims. It's just rhetoric from a hate group attempting to condemn Southern Poverty Law Center.

AFA provides some of the other signers of their letter. Here. Have a helping of right-wing crazy. I contacted Rabbi Bovit and was brief but expressed my displeasure:

  • Cathie Adams, Eagle Forum
  • David Barton, WallBuilders
  • Tom Benton, M.D., American College of Pediatricians
  • Elaine Silodor Berk, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness
  • Paul Blair, Reclaiming America for Christ
  • Rabbi Menashe Bovit, Bellerose Jewish Center
  • Brad Dacus, Pacific Justice Institute
  • Joseph Farah,
  • Pamela Geller, American Freedom Defense Initiative
  • Arthur Goldberg, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness
  • Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
  • Nancy Hansen, Capstone Legacy
  • Brad Johnson, Americans for Intelligence Reform
  • Rick Joyner, Morningstar Ministries
  • Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government
  • William Owens, Coalition of African-American Pastors
  • Sandy Rios, American Family Radio
  • Sam Rohrer, American Pastors Network
  • Rick Scarborough, Vision America
  • Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch
  • Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel
  • Dale Walker, Tennessee Pastors Network
  • Elizabeth Yore, #EndFGMToday
  • Frank Wright, D. James Kennedy Ministries

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