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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 05:11 PM

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

First Published in 1994

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF
UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

Individual Plaintiffs Forced to Withdraw Subpoena Meant to Silence Constitutionally Protected Advocacy to Protect Vulnerable Children

(MONTGOMERY, AL) – A federal judge has sanctioned the trans activist plaintiffs for their attempt to subpoena Eagle Forum of Alabama (EFA) in the case challenging the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP).  After hearing the arguments by the attorney representing EFA, the judge offered plaintiffs the opportunity to withdraw their unsupportable subpoena, which they quickly did. After apologizing to the court and Eagle Forum, the judge ordered the parties to confer to determine appropriate fees and the plaintiffs agreed to pay attorney fees in the amount of $25,000.

A previous, similar subpoena issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in August 2022 was quashed by the same judge in October 2022 as “overly broad and unduly burdensome.” The hearing on this second subpoena was held this morning in Montgomery, Alabama.“As Yogi Berra said, ‘It's like déjà vu all over again,’” said Kristen A. Ullman, Esq., President of the National Eagle Forum organization. “As I said almost two years ago when the DOJ tried and failed to silence citizen advocacy, ‘this unprecedented, massive demand for information unrelated to the issues before the court is a blatant attempt to intimidate and silence a non-party organization and crush its Constitutionally protected rights to educate others, petition the government, and speak freely.’ We are grateful that our constitutional right to speak out without fear of harassment and intimidation has been protected. The sanctions imposed by the court, in light of the withdrawal of the subpoena, underscores the plaintiffs’ outrageous behavior.”On January 31, 2024, attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case issued a subpoena to Eagle Forum of Alabama requesting all “communications sent or received between Eagle Forum of Alabama and any . . . current or former member of the Alabama Legislature, his or her staff or any other Alabama public official” over a more than four year period, from January 1, 2018 to April 7, 2022, relating to legislation protecting children from puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender mutilation surgeries. EFA filed a motion to quash on February 19, 2024.This second subpoena is similar to one filed on August 9, 2022, by the Department of Justice – an intervenor party to the lawsuit against VCAP – that was struck down by Judge Liles Burke on October 25, 2022, as exceeding the scope of discovery. That subpoena demanded all information about the non-profit’s legislative activities promoting the law since 2017.  The documents sought by the current subpoena were among those sought by the 2022 subpoena which Judge Burke quashed in its entirety as being “unlikely to reveal or lead any information that would help resolve the fundamental issue in this case” (i.e., the constitutionality of the VCAP statute), and, thus, having “little – if any – relevance for purposes of discovery.”In its motion to quash the plaintiffs’ subpoena, EFA argued that it again “improperly seeks documents that are outside the scope of permissible discovery” as Judge Burke found when he quashed the DOJ’s subpoena filed against EFA. In the judge’s order setting the hearing for today, he confirmed, “Eagle Forum of Alabama’s latest motions appear to raise issues that the Court squarely addressed in its earlier ruling on the Government’s subpoenas.”“Eagle Forum of Alabama is grateful to have had another ‘day in court’ to defend the ability of all private citizen advocates and non-profits to engage in the legislative process regardless of their viewpoint,” said Ullman, President of Eagle Forum. “EFA is a completely private association that is not a party to the lawsuit and has no legislative capacity. Its viewpoints and communications have no bearing on VCAPs meaning or constitutionality (or lack thereof), the question at issue in the challenge to the statute.”“We know that if the parties to the lawsuit can weaponize a subpoena, private citizens can be unduly burdened and prevented from engaging in our democratic republic form of government. We thank Judge Burke for his actions today that uphold our constitutional rights of freedom of speech, association, and petition. This type of lawfare must, and in this case, has been stopped,” Ullman concluded.Eagle Forum of Alabama took on this issue after hearing from citizens in Alabama, including parents, doctors, lawyers, and guidance counselors, about their concerns for otherwise healthy children who want to transition to the opposite sex. EFA decided to undertake the protection of these vulnerable children, and they have done so publicly and ardently.VCAP became effective on May 8, 2022, following consideration in three successive legislative sessions including seven public hearings and passionate legislative campaigns conducted by proponent and opponent advocacy groups and individuals. The final passage was by large majorities in both Alabama chambers.The constitutionality of Alabama’s VCAP law is the subject of Eknes-Tucker, et. al. v. Marshall, et. al., (renamed Boe, et.al. v. Marshall) a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court on April 19, 2022. On April 29, 2022, the DOJ filed a motion to join as an intervenor party to the lawsuit. Eagle Forum of Alabama is not a party in this legal action.

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Eagle Forum was founded by Phyllis Schlafly, a dynamic and charismatic leader who inspired countless women and men to participate in the process of self-government and public policy-making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, with respect for the nuclear family, public and private virtue, and private enterprise. For nearly fifty years, Eagle Forum’s network of state organizations has led the charge to mobilize the grassroots to defend the founding principles of the United States.