Monday, July 29, 2019

Staver Using Federal Courts for Fundraising at Taxpayer Expense

Mat Staver
Hate Group Leader Mad Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel
via CBN/YouTube
Sunday I received a missive from Hate Group Leader Mad Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel titled: Boston flies PRIDE flag, bans Christian banner (emphasis per original):
"Banned in Boston" is a phrase used a century ago to describe literature, songs, motion pictures or plays prohibited for exhibition or display in Boston, Massachusetts. Those days are gone. Now, it's the Christian flag that city fathers want to ban from display. Learn more below and stand with Liberty Counsel in defense of freedom as we fight this case and many more! —Mat
Not surprisingly, that link goes to a page at LC asking for money:

Liberty Counsel is improperly classified as a church auxiliary which means that it is not required to file a tax return. It is supposed to be dependent upon Thomas Road Baptist Church for a majority of its funding (I have an IRS referral in progress).

That aside, LC is representing Harold Shurtleff and something called Camp Constitution. They want to fly a Christian flag on Boston's auxiliary flagpole. The city of Boston has a policy that it will not fly religious flags. A year ago (July 6, 2018) Staver asked a federal court to issue an injunction prohibiting Boston from enforcing its policy. The judge declined.

Camp Constitution, by the way, is not a Boston or even Massachusetts based organization. It is registered in New Hampshire as a foreign (North Carolina) entity.

Staver being Mad Mat (and not having a paying client to control costs), he filed an appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court sustained the lower court noting that the flagpole is government speech and Boston is obliged to respect the Establishment Clause. On July 8, 2019 Staver refiled his case in the district court asking for a judgment against the city.

The city will ask for summary judgment given the prior decisions. Even that is going to require a considerable amount of time and expense over perhaps a year's time. At bare minimum, the court will have to review Liberty Counsel's brief, a reply brief, a motion brief for summary judgment, a brief in opposition to summary judgment, another reply brief. Eventually the court will entertain oral argument and issue a ruling.

When Staver loses he will appeal to the First Circuit again. When he loses again he might try to refile in state court (valid dependent upon the reasons for the appeals court ruling). Eventually, of course, Staver will try to get this case before the United States Supreme Court.
The point of this tragic opera is not to win a right to fly a Christian flag on Boston's flagpole. Staver already knows that his case is DOA. The point is to raise money off of an issue that Staver presumes will piss off conservative Christians. The calculus is that Liberty Counsel will attract donations of far more money than its modest expenditures.

United States taxpayers are funding this adventure. We get the bill for he massive court costs. Meanwhile, the City of Boston's taxpayers have the added burden defending a frivolous lawsuit whose purpose is not to achieve a legal victory but to advance the lawyer's fundraising. That is called abuse of process.

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