Monday, April 13, 2020

Blowhard Bill Donohue is Indifferent to Actual Facts

Catholic League has not filed its 2018 annual report with the IRS. 179 days have elapsed since the last extension expired.
Bill Donohue
Blowhard Bill Donohue has criticized Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s suggestion that drive-in church services could expose parishioners to the coronavirus. Donohue has incorrectly and dishonestly labeled the suggestion a “ban.”

Donohue is an anti-LGBTQ hate monger wed to the notion that he has special entitlements. It is hypocritical for Donohue to criticize public officials when he has not complied with federal law with respect to filing annual tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

We are all compelled to subsidize the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. The Catholic League is funded entirely by tax-deducted contributions.

According to Donohue:
On April 11, U.S. District Judge Justin Walker invoked a temporary restraining order blocking Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s ban on drive-in church services. The Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, did not support the ban but he still warned against drive-in church services.
What really happened is that Louisville’s On Fire church sued Mayor Fischer and the city last Friday. The church complained that the mayor’s suggestion against holding drive-in services violated the congregation’s constitutional rights. In the lawsuit, the church argues that “gathering on Easter is critical.”

As for Judge Walker, he is a Trump appointee. The American Bar Association rated him “unqualified” because he had not been practicing law for at least 12 years. Prior to attending law school Walker was a speechwriter for then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Walker is a smart guy. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2009. However this ruling demonstrates a lapse in judgment.

At the Volokh Conspiracy Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor and staunch libertarian, argued that Courts Should Not Decide Issues That Are Not There:
The district court entered an ex parte temporary restraining order against the City of Louisville "from enforcing; attempting to enforce; threatening to enforce; or otherwise requiring compliance with any prohibition on drive-in church services at On Fire."
The ex parte part of that is important because the City never got the chance clarify its position to the judge.

As Mr. Blackman goes on to explain:
Had the District Court held a 15 minute telephonic status conference, any doubts about the proposed enforcement could have been resolved. And the District Court could have simply denied the TRO as moot on the Mayor's official representation that there would be no enforcement action. I don't think voluntary cessation concerns would kick in here. If the Mayor's response was equivocal, then a TRO may have been proper. But the District Court skipped that route. Instead, it spent nearly 24-hours writing a twenty-page published decision, with 86 footnotes.
Getting back to Blowhard Bill:
The Catholic League stands with Judge Walker. The Louisville mayor’s directive is a classic case of government overreach: his ban was clearly not “the least restrictive measure.” Judge Walker called his decision “stunning” and “unconstitutional.” Moreover, the mayor’s reasoning is deeply flawed.
Ugh. The mayor did not ban drive-in church services. It is hard to tell whether Donohue is stupid, dishonest, incurious or all three.

For the record I have filed a futile complaint with the IRS given that Catholic League has not filed 2016 and 2018 tax returns. It is  futile because, under current law, it does not lose tax-exempt status unless it does not file for three consecutive years.

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