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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Monday, June 26, 2006

HR 2679, the bill barring attorney fee awards in establishment clause lawsuits

This is a follow-up to my article titled, "Is the party almost over for ACLU and AUSCS?"

The official stated purpose of HR 2679, titled "Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005", is "[to] amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney's fees."

I think that the bill's above title and stated purpose are misleading -- they imply that the bill concerns the free exercise and free speech clauses whereas the bill really concerns the establishment clause. Under the free exercise and free speech clauses, state and local officials have a constitutionally protected freedom of expression of religion as individuals, but these public officials' use of governmental authority to express religion is restricted by the establishment clause.

Hearings on the bill were recently held by the House Subcommittee on the Constitution. Testimony in supporting the bill is here and testimony opposing the bill is here. Oddly enough, the testimony supporting the bill did not even mention the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, one of the most egregious examples of the abuse of attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases.

Ed Brayton's blog "Dispatches from the Culture Wars" has a recently posted article about this bill. I would post the following comments on Ed Brayton's blog, but I have been banned there. Like Panda's Thumb's head honcho Wesley Elsberry, Ed Brayton's attitude is, "it's my way or the highway," so he does not allow comments that disagree with his positions.

Ed Brayton said,
It's not by accident that the very first clause of the first amendment forbids the establishment of religion.

Wrong. The order in which rights and protections are presented in the Bill of Rights has nothing to do with their relative importance. If there were any truth to that claim, the NRA would be proclaiming to high heaven that the right to keep and bear arms is the second amendment out of the ten in the Bill of Rights. The free exercise clause is in the 1st amendment because of this clause's association with the free speech clause, and the establishment clause is there too because of its association with the free exercise clause. The establishment clause does not rank very high in my book because it is usually just a "right to not be offended" clause, and such a right does not even explicitly exist in the Constitution.

Ed Brayton said,
Naturally, the religious right wants this bill to pass very badly because it would make it far more difficult for plaintiffs to bring suits against the government. And remember, they can only be awarded legal fees if they win the suit. What that means, in essence, is that the religious right is trying to rig the game. They lose such cases often in court and that frustrates them. So rather than develop better arguments to compete on a fair playing field, they want to rig the rules of the game to make it more expensive for the other side to play the game.

Wrong. The game is now rigged against the government. The present system encourages the ACLU et al. to be extravagant and wasteful in their lawsuits, and the threat of exorbitant attorney fee awards is used to blackmail government entities into doing the bidding of the ACLU et al.. In Kitzmiller v. Dover, there was a horde of 9-10 plaintiffs' attorneys of record and at least five of them were in the courtroom on every day of the six-week trial. The final negotiated award to the plaintiffs was a cool $1 million, and this was supposed to be a "bargain" because the original calculated bill was over $2 million. Ed Brayton and the other Darwinists over at Panda's Thumb (Ed Brayton is also a PT blogger) see nothing wrong in this. Outside attorneys working for the ACLU work for free and all attorney fee award money goes to the ACLU et al.. Attorney fee awards are a bonanza for the ACLU that provide a large part of the ACLU's income.

Marc Stern, representing the American Jewish Congress ..... testified before the committee ........ he testified against the bill ........ As he points out, the legislation has clearly not been well thought out. It actually declares that only injunctive relief can be issued by the courts -- the courts wouldn't even be able to make declaratory judgements in such cases.

Permanent injunctive relief automatically includes declaratory relief in the form of a finding that the plaintiff was wronged by the defendant, so the only declaratory relief that would be barred by HR 2679 would be declaratory relief unaccompanied by other forms of relief. In civil rights cases where there is a violation that can never be repeated or that is very unlikely to be repeated, permanent injunctive relief could be considered to be pointless and a court might grant just declaratory relief or could just declare the case to be moot. I think that courts should have the option of granting unaccompanied declaratory relief in these cases.

I think that this provision restricting the courts to injunctive relief in establishment clause cases is mainly aimed at awards of damages, but AFAICT awards of damages have not been a problem in establishment clause cases. If damages are awarded in such cases, it is usually just nominal damages (usually just $1 per plaintiff), and IMO nominal damages should not count as true damages or a separate kind of relief because nominal damages are really just tokens of vindication of other claims for relief.

Stern also notes that this legislation unfairly tips the balances against one side in court proceedings without regard to the merit of their claims. As an example, let's say a teacher decides to lead her class in prayer (despite the multiple court rulings that forbid this in the public schools). If the school allows her to do so and the family of one of the students in her class files suit on establishment clause grounds, they must bear the full cost of the litigation........

But let's reverse the example. Let's say that the school refuses to allow the teacher to lead her class in prayer and the teacher decides to sue, claiming that this ruling violates her right to free speech and free exercise of religion. Because the suit is on grounds other than the establishment clause, this legislation would not apply and the teacher could recover the legal costs if she wins the suit, while those objecting to the policy on the other side, because their suit would be on establishment clause grounds, would not.

I think the example of the teacher who sues the board for not allowing her to lead school prayer is very unrealistic, because school prayer involves the subtle coercion of both teacher authority and peer pressure and the courts generally greatly oppose coercion in religious matters. And I think that the danger of abuse of the civil rights attorney fee award statute is far greater in establishment clause suits than in free exercise suits. The free exercise clause has been used to sue the government for coercion of individuals or religious groups (as requiring teachers to teach evolution and subjecting religious groups to laws prohibiting discrimination in employment) and for unequal access of religious groups to public facilities and government benefits, but no one has ever used the free exercise clause to sue the government for not displaying religious symbols, not requiring school prayer, not requiring the teaching of creationism, etc., because these things are discretionary with the government where they are not prohibited or restricted by the courts. Critics of HR 2679 claim that this bill unfairly singles out establishment clause lawsuits but have presented no examples of exorbitant attorney fee awards in free exercise lawsuits or other kinds of civil rights lawsuits. Nonetheless, I think that a compromise bill that would cap attorney fee awards (including limits on hourly rates and how many attorneys may charge for their time) for both establishment clause and free exercise lawsuits would be a good idea -- this would prevent any possible inequities between these two kinds of suits and would provide for reasonable compensation of plaintiffs for legal costs involving the most egregious violations; an example of a fee capping statute is 18 USC §3006A (the dollar amounts in this statute are from 1964 and are badly in need of adjustment for inflation). Where violation of these clauses is truly egregious, the plaintiffs should not need a hell of a lot of legal representation. However, I think that the present bill is better than nothing because the abuse of attorney fee awards in establishment clause lawsuits has gotten out of hand. The ACLU, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Darwinists, etc., shed crocodile tears over governments' burden in paying exorbitant fee awards in establishment clause cases and then turn around and use the threat of these awards to blackmail governments into doing their bidding.

Some commenters on Ed's blog have even suggested that HR 2679 is unconstitutional. That is of course nonsense, because there is no constitutional right to attorney fee awards or free representation in civil rights cases (however, the courts have held that indigent defendants are entitled to free legal representation in criminal cases, win or lose). In fact, before the civil rights attorney fee awards law was passed in 1976, there were no such awards for civil rights attorneys.

One thing I have been wondering about is that there appears to be nothing in 42 USC §1988(b) that prohibits an award of attorney fees to the defendant if the plaintiff loses in a civil rights lawsuit. It is generally assumed that only the plaintiff is eligible for the award, but that seems very one-sided.

Labels:

14 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> these public officials' use of governmental authority to express religion is restricted by the establishment clause. <

Why does this affect you? You are still making the ridiculous claim that ID has nothing to do with religion and you are still hiding from answering how there can be "intelligent design" without a designer.

> the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, one of the most egregious examples of the abuse of attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases. <

What do you find egregious? The school board was getting off easy since the board had the opportunity to mend their ways and refused.

> Ed Brayton's blog "Dispatches from the Culture Wars" has a recently posted article about this bill. <

Good. You are still reading Ed Brayton's blog. You might learn something.

> he does not allow comments that disagree with his positions. <

Repeating lies again, Larry(?). He certainly does allow comments that disagree with his positions. He doesn't allow your repetitious unsubstantiated ranting, often under fake names.

> The order in which rights and protections are presented in the Bill of Rights has nothing to do with their relative importance. <

You give only one thing to backup this proclamation, and it is wrong.

> If there were any truth to that claim, the NRA would be proclaiming to high heaven that the right to keep and bear arms is the second amendment out of the ten in the Bill of Rights. <

Then there must be truth to that claim because the NRA is saying just that.

> it is usually just a "right to not be offended" <

That is a great leap!

> and such a right does not even explicitly exist in the Constitution. <

Since the Bill of Rights is a part of the constitution, you seem to have painted yourself into a corner here. Please explain your inconsistency.

> Ed Brayton said,

Naturally, the religious right wants this bill to pass very badly because it would make it far more difficult for plaintiffs to bring suits against the government. And remember, they can only be awarded legal fees if they win the suit. <

Of course he is correct.

> The game is now rigged against the government. <

You are assuming that the government is on the side of the religious right.

> In Kitzmiller v. Dover, there was a horde of 9-10 plaintiffs' attorneys of record and at least five of them were in the courtroom on every day of the six-week trial. The final negotiated award to the plaintiffs was a cool $1 million, and this was supposed to be a "bargain" <

Considering the almost criminal abuse of the law by the school board, it was a bargain. What was a crime was that the public taxpayers had to foot the bill for the misdeeds of the school board members. It is the school board members as individuals who should have paid.

> It actually declares that only injunctive relief can be issued by the courts -- the courts wouldn't even be able to make declaratory judgements in such cases. <

This seems to be well thought out.

> Stern also notes that this legislation unfairly tips the balances against one side in court proceedings without regard to the merit of their claims. <

On the contrary, the balance goes to the one with the most merit.

> As an example, let's say a teacher decides to lead her class in prayer (despite the multiple court rulings that forbid this in the public schools). <

Or if she has her children assist her in robbing the local bank.

> If the school allows her to do so and the family of one of the students in her class files suit on establishment clause grounds, they must bear the full cost of the litigation........ <

As well they should. Why should the parents bear the cost of making the school and teacher cease their lawless activity?

> fee awards in establishment clause cases and then turn around and use the threat of these awards to blackmail governments into doing their bidding. <

Perhaps they would blackmail governments into obeying the law.

Monday, June 26, 2006 9:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Following the suggestion of Andrew Wiles, I am moving my reply to you to this thread.

> You answered them mostly by just calling me wrong, ignorant, stupid, that sort of thing, or by just making some breathtakingly inane wisecrack.

You are projecting again. I have given reasons, I cant help if you have failed to read them.

> What opinions? <

The ones presented in our answers. You seem to be quite blind to them.

> Note the emphasis on "nothing but." <

Such as is contained in many of your posts.

> I could put up with your insults and ad hominems if you said something intelligent once in a while. <

How could you recognize something intelligent?

> Why don't you let other visitors decide that for themselves, instead of you making that decision for them by lousing up my blog with your worthless crap? <

Why not let other visitors decide for themselves who is posting crap?

> So you think that you are a hilarious comedian. Don't kid yourself -- you're not funny. <

No. I think that you are a hilarious comedian. Don't kid yourself -- you are funny.

> just the kind of readers that I don't want. <

You want readers that are stupid enough to think that you are something other than a blast of hot air. I don't think there are any here.

andrew wiles said...

I Conjecture that:

Vit? = "Bill ????er"

Is this true?

Who is "Vit"? I have seen no posts under that name. You must have meant either ViW or ViU. I can only answer for ViW but I am sure that ViU is lurking here and will quickly answer for himself. We could have a separate contest on the identity of ViU but I think I know who he is already.

> BTW, can we please adjourn to another thread? This is getting so long it is threatening to fail downloading. <

I thought you had DSL? It is getting longer in download but I wouldn't think it would fail. Let's move as a service to Larry(?). He is still using a dialup over his mother's phone.

Monday, June 26, 2006 9:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

I'm sorry. I am the author of the above "anonymous" post. I hit the wrong button. I also failed to put quotation marks around the words of Andrew Wiles.

Monday, June 26, 2006 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Garstang said...

"I would post the following comments on Ed Brayton's blog, but I have been banned there."

Waa, Waa, Waa!

Still ducking my questions, Larry. I see that I am not alone.

Monday, June 26, 2006 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew wiles said...

<< I Conjecture that:

Vit? = "Bill ????er"

Is this true? >>

> Who is "Vit"? I have seen no posts under that name. You must have meant either ViW or ViU. I can only answer for ViW but I am sure that ViU is lurking here and will quickly answer for himself. <

The 't' there is for "the". The question marks are characters in the "regular expression" sense (although the first one could also be said to be consistent with Larry (?)'s usage as in Bill (?)).

I used "Vit?" in order to avoid extending the Conjecture to "Voice in Suburbaness" (if you recall him/her). That'd be pushing the odds a bit too hard ... ;-)

Monday, June 26, 2006 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

>. I Conjecture that:

Vit? = "Bill ????er"

Is this true? <

Yes.

Monday, June 26, 2006 1:22:00 PM  
Anonymous voiceinsuburbanness said...

(A blast from the past.)

A link from CW leads to the following quite good article that explains what is wrong with ID:

http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/116/5/1134

This essay, the product of a committee of 8, casts doubt on the general derogation of "committees" (almost a dirty word) that one often encounters.

(BTW, Andrew, please note that I spelled "suburbanness" with two n's; also didn't have any spaces.)

Monday, June 26, 2006 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

andrew wiles said...
>>>>>>><< I Conjecture that:

Vit? = "Bill ????er"

Is this true? >><<<<<<

When I made my no-deletions pledge, I did not imagine that anyone would be so rude as to clutter up my blog with something like this silly guessing game. Now I have found out that there are such rude people and that they are Darwinists (no skeptic of Darwinism would do this to my blog). I am learning fast.

Such grossly off-topic discussions should be conducted under my first post on this blog, titled "Test Post". To pick up a discussion where it was left off in another thread, just give a direct link to the appropriate comment in the other thread. Direct links to individual comments are found by clicking on the date & time at the bottom of the comment on the individual opening post's display page (tan background), which is found by clicking on the opening post's name under "Recent Posts" in the left sidebar. Clicking on the date & time on the comment entry page (white background) does not work. Conducting your off-topic discussions in my "Test Post" section is actually an advantage to you because your comments will be easy to find instead of being scattered all over the place on this blog.

Monday, June 26, 2006 2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> When I made my no-deletions pledge <

Everyone has predicted that wouldn't last. Now that you are losing every argument, you bring it up again.

> I did not imagine that anyone would be so rude as to clutter up my blog <

You are cluttering up your blog with complaints and personal attacks. Why don't you try answering some of the many questions that you have been ducking?

> no skeptic of Darwinism would do this to my blog <

Actually, it is a skeptic of Darwinism that is doing the most damage to your blog. Why don't you stop?

P.S. The answer for me is also yes.

Monday, June 26, 2006 3:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill Carter said...

Larry(?),

You are cluttering up your blog with whining and bawling about what others are doing. You need to stop that and spend more time on answering questions. So far whenever you see a question that you don't to answer, you get off on this "cluttering" crap. Those posts are doing the real cluttering and it doesn't fool anyone. Try answering questions even if you don't like the way they are asked.

Monday, June 26, 2006 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Reply to Voice In The Wilderness ( 6/26/2006 09:15:40 AM ) --

I hesitate to answer you, VIW, because you post so much crap on this blog and I don't want to encourage you to comment here by answering you.

On Panda's Thumb, the bloggers rarely participate in the discussions, but in contrast most of the replies to the comments here have been mine. On PT, no one argues that the blogger automatically "loses" just because he/she participates little or not at all in the discussions.

>>>>>>You are still making the ridiculous claim that ID has nothing to do with religion and you are still hiding from answering how there can be "intelligent design" without a designer.<<<<<

This subject has been debated to death on other forums such as Panda's Thumb and Uncommon Descent, which is why I mostly avoid this topic here. I want to discuss other things that are mostly undiscussed on other forums, like co-evolution. My thoughts about ID are in my article titled, "Views on Intelligent Design".

<<<<<<< the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, one of the most egregious examples of the abuse of attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases. <
What do you find egregious? The school board was getting off easy since the board had the opportunity to mend their ways and refused.<<<<<<<<

Having 9-10 plaintiffs' attorneys of record with at least 5 in the courtroom every day for six weeks is egregious.

And only a moron would call a $1 million bill in such a case "getting off easy."

Also, as attorney Mathew Staver pointed out in his House subcommittee testimony, it is often unfair to award attorney fees in such an uncertain, inconsistent and unpredictable judicial area as establishment clause cases. The fee-shifting statute, 42 USC §1988, does not distinguish between violations that are questionable or borderline and those that are egregious, except to give judges discretion on whether to award fees. In the Selman textbook sticker case, the judge did not claim that the violation was egregious but nonetheless ruled that the plaintiffs were eligible to collect attorney fees. Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish came within single votes of being granted an en banc (full appeals court) rehearing or certiorari, and all seven of the dissenting appeals court justices joined in a long dissenting opinion (I don't know if attorney fees were awarded in that case, but they probably were). Also, 42 USC §1988 does not explicitly state that the defendant is ineligible to receive a fee award, and I would like to see the ACLU et al. taken to the cleaners when they lose an establishment clause lawsuit.

Also, the threat of these exorbitant attorney fee awards discourage governments from doing things that the courts might hold to be constitutional -- an example is the Ohio Board of Education's deletion of the evolution lesson plan, which contained nothing about creationism, ID, irreducible complexity, etc.. Also, these threats of attorney-fee rip-offs
sometimes make public officials feel like they are caught between a rock and a hard place. It looks like a valedictorian in Nevada is going to sue school officials for pulling the microphone plug on her when she started to talk about religion during her valedictory -- but those school officials might have been afraid that someone would sue them if they did not pull the plug on her. And Ed Brayton, a staunch advocate of separation of church and state, has taken the side of the valedictorian, showing that contrary to his previous claim, he really does not believe that the establishment clause is the most important protection in the Bill of Rights.

The threat of attorney fee awards affect government behavior in other, often perverse ways. For example, consider the so-called "catalyst theory," where a case is declared moot because of the government's voluntary cessation of the challenged conduct but the plaintiff claims entitlement to attorney fees on the grounds that the lawsuit caused the voluntary cessation. The Supreme Court argued that ironically this threat of an automatic attorney fee award under the catalyst theory might actually discourage the government from voluntarily ceasing the challenged conduct even though the government might otherwise be inclined to do so -- this discouragement would be especially significant where the government would be likely to win the case in court. Let us just suppose, hypothetically, that the Dover school board was likely to win the case in court but the new Dover school board members wanted to repeal the ID policy anyway, but were discouraged from doing so because -- under the catalyst theory -- attorney fees would automatically be awarded to the plaintiffs if the ID policy were voluntarily repealed. In the Buckhannon decision, the Supreme Court struck down the catalyst theory -- Buckhannon is discussed in my post titled "Two-timing new members of the Dover school board".

>>>>>You are still reading Ed Brayton's blog. You might learn something. <<<<<

This is the breathtakingly inane kind of wisecrack that just wastes space on this blog. If you feel that you are not learning anything from my blog, then why do you waste your time reading it and posting comments on it? I would be very happy if you would just leave.

>>>>>He (Ed Brayton) certainly does allow comments that disagree with his positions. He doesn't allow your repetitious unsubstantiated ranting, often under fake names. <<<<<<<

I posted consistently under the same name on Ed's blog -- LarryFarma, my screen name (and isn't VIW a fake name)? And I was banned permanently when I first introduced my FRCP Rule 12 analysis (also discussed on this blog) -- there was no repetition there.

>>>>>> The order in which rights and protections are presented in the Bill of Rights has nothing to do with their relative importance. <
You give only one thing to backup this proclamation, and it is wrong. <<<<<<

Which is worse -- having a state religion like Great Britain and a few other countries, or having no freedom of speech? I rest my case.

>>>>>>>> If there were any truth to that claim, the NRA would be proclaiming to high heaven that the right to keep and bear arms is the second amendment out of the ten in the Bill of Rights. <
Then there must be truth to that claim because the NRA is saying just that.<<<<<<

If they did, they would be laughed out of town, like Ed Brayton should be.

>>>>>> it is usually just a "right to not be offended" <
That is a great leap!<<<<<<<

OK, on second thought, I will retract that statement -- there are quite a few "entanglement" cases where the issue is indirect government financial support of religion -- e.g., school vouchers. But only paranoid Darwinists, ACLU members, etc. think that there is any real danger of a Taliban-type takeover of the government in the US.

>>>>>Naturally, the religious right wants this bill to pass very badly because it would make it far more difficult for plaintiffs to bring suits against the government. And remember, they can only be awarded legal fees if they win the suit. <
Of course he is correct.<<<<<<

The ACLU and the AUSCS are not going to suddenly disappear if this bill to bar attorney fees passes. What enactment of this bill would mean is that these organizations would have to choose their court battles more carefully and would have to be less extravagant in fighting the court battles that they do choose.

>>>>>> The game is now rigged against the government. <
You are assuming that the government is on the side of the religious right.<<<<<<

?????? What do you mean? I am assuming that the government is on the side of the ACLU, the Darwinists, etc..

>>>>>>Considering the almost criminal abuse of the law by the school board, it was a bargain. What was a crime was that the public taxpayers had to foot the bill for the misdeeds of the school board members. It is the school board members as individuals who should have paid.<<<<<

So the former school board members got the last laugh, didn't they? And though you don't think that soaking the taxpayers was the best result, you certainly approve of it.

>>>>>> It actually declares that only injunctive relief can be issued by the courts -- the courts wouldn't even be able to make declaratory judgements in such cases. <
This seems to be well thought out. <<<<<<

What -- you think that the bill's provision that would allow only injunctive relief is well thought out? Anyway, as I said, there cannot be permanent injunctive relief without declaratory relief, i.e., a finding that the plaintiff was wronged by the defendant. Also, I agreed that this provision of the bill is bad -- I feel that the courts should be given the discretion to grant unaccompanied declaratory relief in establishment clause cases.

>>>>>> Stern also notes that this legislation unfairly tips the balances against one side in court proceedings without regard to the merit of their claims. <
On the contrary, the balance goes to the one with the most merit.<<<<<<

When attorney Marc Stern, who opposes the bill, was arguing about the merits of claims, he was not just talking about a single lawsuit. He was talking about two different lawsuits involving the same situation, and one of the lawsuits would be based on the free exercise clause and fee-shifting would be allowed if this bill passes, and the other lawsuit would be based on the establishment clause and fee-shifting would not be allowed if this bill passes. I agreed with Stern and said that instead of having just a prohibition on attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases, there should be a cap on attorney fee awards in both establishment clause cases and free exercise cases. If it is OK to have a cap on attorney fees in federal criminal cases, it should certainly be OK to have such a cap in establishment clause and free exercise cases.

>>>>>>> As an example, let's say a teacher decides to lead her class in prayer (despite the multiple court rulings that forbid this in the public schools). <
Or if she has her children assist her in robbing the local bank.<<<<<<

So you agree that Ed Brayton's example (taken from Marc Stern's testimony against the bill) was unrealistic.

>>>>>>>(from Ed and Marc)If the school allows her to do so and the family of one of the students in her class files suit on establishment clause grounds, they must bear the full cost of the litigation........
As well they should. Why should the parents bear the cost of making the school and teacher cease their lawless activity?<<<<<<

Marc Stern and Ed Brayton were talking here about the parents -- not the school -- paying the costs if this bill passes.

>>>>>>> fee awards in establishment clause cases and then turn around and use the threat of these awards to blackmail governments into doing their bidding. <
Perhaps they would blackmail governments into obeying the law. <<<<<<<

It is the courts -- and not the ACLU, the AUSCS, the Darwinists, etc. -- that decide what is constitutional. As I said, the threats of these exorbitant fee awards discourage public officials from doing things that the courts might rule to be constitutional.

Monday, June 26, 2006 5:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

>>>>>>You are still making the ridiculous claim that ID has nothing to do with religion and you are still hiding from answering how there can be "intelligent design" without a designer.<<<<<

>This subject has been debated to death on other forums such as Panda's Thumb and Uncommon Descent, which is why I mostly avoid this topic here.<

That explains why you duck the subject. You see the weakness of your position.

> only a moron would call a $1 million bill in such a case "getting off easy." Only an idiot would call paying only half of the legal expenses after having every opportunity to settle the case "egregious"

> consider the so-called "catalyst theory," where a case is declared moot because of the government's voluntary cessation of the challenged conduct but the plaintiff claims entitlement to attorney fees on the grounds that the lawsuit caused the voluntary cessation. <

This seems quite reasonable. What fault do you find with it?

> If you feel that you are not learning anything from my blog, then why do you waste your time reading it and posting comments on it? <

Perhaps you might learn something from my posts. I am not counting in it.

I would be very happy if you would just leave.

>>>>>> The order in which rights and protections are presented in the Bill of Rights has nothing to do with their relative importance. <
You give only one thing to backup this proclamation, and it is wrong. <<<<<<

> Which is worse -- having a state religion like Great Britain and a few other countries, or having no freedom of speech? I rest my case. <

You must think that you made a point there. To me it looks like you changed the subject.

>>>>>> Then there must be truth to that claim because the NRA is saying just that.<<<<<<

> If they did, they would be laughed out of town, like Ed Brayton should be. <

They are and nobody is laughing. Nobody seems to be laughing at Ed Brayton either but you are giving them something to laugh about.

> So the former school board members got the last laugh, didn't they? And though you don't think that soaking the taxpayers was the best result, you certainly approve of it. <

I think that it is better to soak the taxpayers than to soak the parents who find it necessary to sue the school board. Perhaps if the taxpayers get burned badly enough they will get a new school board.

I have to congratulate you. You see, it is possible to make a reasonable post (however wrong on most points) without your usual rancor and churlishness. It is a great improvement.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:16:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Urbanness said...

>>>>>>> When I made my no-deletions pledge <

Everyone has predicted that wouldn't last.<<<<<<<

Not everyone. Just trolls like you. And you trolls are determined to see that your prophecy is fulfilled.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> Not everyone. Just trolls like you. <

I see that the lack of rancor and churlishness didn't last long.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:21:00 PM  

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