I'm from Missouri

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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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.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fundies, the ACLU, and establishment clause lawsuits

Ed "For-crying-out-loud" Brayton, in defending the exorbitant attorney fee awards given to winning plaintiffs in establishment clause cases, is fond of pointing out that fundies also collect attorney fee awards in 1st amendment religion cases. But I have asserted that the fundies normally sue under the free exercise and/or free speech clauses and not under the establishment clause, so fundies have little or nothing to lose -- and a lot to gain -- from a ban or cap on attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases (the "Public Expression of Religion Act," HR 2679 and S 3696 in the last Congress, would ban attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases). The fundies have a lot to gain by a curb on these awards because government entities are often intimidated by the prospect of an exorbitant attorney fee award rip-off in an establishment clause lawsuit. This is an example of how Crazy Ed just can't think straight. My assertion that fundies normally do not file establishment clause lawsuits is supported by information in a website with the odd title, "The ACLU fights for Christians":

The ACLU fights just as hard for INDIVIDUAL free exercise of religion as the ACLU fights against GOVERNMENT endorsement, sponsorship, or establishment of religion. Despite this fact, many people spread misinformation about the ACLU around the internet, innocently and maliciously, falsely claiming the ACLU is anti-religion or anti-Christian.

This list of FACTS counteracts that misinformation. These links represent just a few of the many examples of the ACLU defending the free speech and free exercise rights of Christians (for purposes of this list, the word “Christian” means a person who self-identifies as “Christian”).

In every example, the ACLU is defending the right of a Christian to speak as a Christian or to practice Christianity.

Here is the current version of this EVER GROWING list:

(over 30 examples of the ACLU defending or supporting the free exercise or free speech rights of fundies and other Christians)


(capitalization in original, bold added)

So none of the examples are establishment clause lawsuits and the webpage does not claim that the ACLU supports fundies in any establishment clause lawsuits. There are two possible explanations here -- either the fundies normally do not file establishment clause lawsuits, a likely explanation, or the fundies file the kinds of establishment clause lawsuits that the ACLU does not support, an unlikely explanation.

Also, two of the possible reasons why the ACLU takes these fundy cases are to (1) make money and (2) prevent the attorney fee awards from going to fundy organizations. Also, the ACLU often opposes the fundies on establishment clause issues. I think that many fundies' attitude about ACLU help in free exercise cases is, "thanks for nothing."

Incredibly, the Darwinists have been arguing that the $1 million attorney fee award to the Dover plaintiffs was a "bargain" or "merciful" because the original calculated bill was over $2 million. However, the plaintiffs' legal representatives unnecessarily did several things which greatly drove up the costs:

(1) The plaintiffs had an excessive number of attorneys of record, 9-10, with at least five of them in the courtroom on every day of the six-week trial.

(2) There was a large number of plaintiffs' expert witnesses, six. Though these witnesses worked for free, their inclusion greatly drove up the costs of the trial.

(3) Two or three of the five attorneys from the Pepper-Hamilton law firm were partners. These partners possibly asked for above-average pay rates in computing the bill. Though all attorneys are expected to do some pro bono work, I think that it is highly unusual for partners to take such a long case on a pro bono basis.

IMO, instead of a ban on attorney fee awards in establishment clause lawsuits, there should be a cap on attorney fee awards in both establishment clause and free exercise lawsuits. Some of my opinions in this matter are in the following posts on this blog:

Answer to ACLU letter opposing S 3696 (HR 2679)

Ed Brayton still lying about HR 2679

Ed Brayton's post about the "The ACLU fights for Christians" website is here.

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