A federal judge has permanently blocked an attempt by the Southern Poverty Law Center to silence a conservative judge, Justice Tom Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The fight erupted in 2015 when Parker appeared on a radio program discussing the U.S. Supreme Court’s creation of same-sex marriage.
The leftists at the wealthy SPLC filed what Parker’s defenders called a “politically motivated” ethics complaint against him with the state Judicial Inquiry Commission under Alabama’s outdated judicial ethics canons.
SPLC wanted to censor him and remove him from office.
But after a year-long investigation of Parker, the complaint was dropped.
Parker, however, filed a lawsuit in response that demanded judges in Alabama be protected under the First Amendment for any comments they make that are unrelated to cases before them.
Liberty Counsel, which represented Parker, confirmed Tuesday that U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins has now permanently blocked enforcement of the outdated state judicial rules. He’s also ordered the JIC to pay $100,000 to Liberty Counsel for legal fees.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center wanted to silence Justice Parker and remove him from the Alabama Supreme Court,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “Their ill intent backfired, and now Justice Parker has won the right for all judges to speak on important legal issues. This is an important victory for free speech and we celebrate the court’s approval of this permanent injunction.”
The state rule was so broad that it could have been applied to prevent “any Alabama judge from commenting on any case pending anywhere in the country. This rule would even apply to judges teaching law school students and commenting on a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court,” Liberty Counsel said.
Similar rules already had been dropped from many other jurisdictions around the country.
Parker now is a primary election winner in his pursuit of the position of chief justice in the Alabama Supreme Court.
SPLC, known for its designation of organizations that promote traditional moral values as “hate groups,” targeted remarks Parker made several years ago in a radio interview that made no mention of any current cases.
Get the Whistleblower magazine’s revelations about SPLC in “The Hate Racket,” the story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.
SPLC previously used the “complaint” tactic in Alabama against then-Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Moore was removed from the office in a dispute over the Ten Commandments 15 years ago on a complaint pursued by SPLC, but voters later put him back in office. He then was removed a second time, after an SPLC complaint over the issue of same-sex marriage.
But many consider SPLC discredited. The federal government cut off cooperation with the organization, and it was linked to domestic terror when Floyd Corkins confessed to trying to kill employees at the Family Research Council’s Washington office.
He told investigators he learned from the SPLC that FRC was a “hate” organization.
Lately, media giants Twitter, Google, YouTube and Amazon have come under criticism for cooperating with SPLC and its designation of Christian organizations as “hate” groups.
Recently, the Amazon Smile program that allows customers to donate a tiny fraction of their purchases to a charity of their choice was caught submitting to the “hate” agenda of the SPLC by expelling the Alliance Defending Freedom.
SPLC’s hate list also was used by the charity-information site GuideStar, prompting lawsuits. While it famously battled the KKK many years ago, of late SPLC has taken to labeling famed surgeon and conservative Dr. Ben Carson as a “hater.” SPLC also was reprimanded by the Obama administration, and the Department of Defense and FBI have severed ties to the group.
Judicial Watch, citing a letter to Michael M. Hethmon, senior counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and others, said the DOJ reprimand came in 2016 but was “kept quiet at the agency’s request.”
“[It] involves the SPLC’s atrocious behavior during immigration court proceedings. Two groups that oppose illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), were the target of personal, baseless and below-the-belt attacks from SPLC attorneys during official immigration court proceedings. The SPLC filed a motion attacking and defaming the two respected nonprofits by describing them as ‘white supremacist,’ ‘eugenicist,’ ‘anti-Semitic,’ and ‘anti-Catholic.’ In its reprimand the DOJ says it is troubled by the conduct of SPLC lawyer Christopher Strawn and that his conduct ‘overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional,'” the report said.
Commentator John Stossel, in a WND column, joined the effort to expose SPLC.
“SPLC once fought useful fights. They took on the Ku Klux Klan. But now they go after people on the right with whom they disagree,” he wrote. “They call the Family Research Council a hate group because it says gay men are more likely to sexually abuse children. That’s their belief. There is some evidence that supports it. Do they belong on a ‘hate map,’ like the Ku Klux Klan, because they believe that evidence and worry about it?
“I often disagree with the council, but calling them a hate group is unfair. In my YouTube video this week, the group’s vice president, Jerry Boykin, tells me, ‘I don’t hate gay people. And I know gay people, and I have worked with gay people.'”
Stossel noted that lambasting someone with a “hate group” label makes them a target, referring to the attack on the Family Research Council by Corkins.
Stossel also noted SPLC smeared the Ruth Institute, “a Christian group that believes gays should not have an equal right to adopt children.”
The institute’s president, Jennifer Roback Morse, says they’re not “haters.”
“I like gay people. I have no problem with gay people. That’s not the issue. The issue is, what are we doing with kids and the definition of who counts as a parent,” she said.
For that, Stossel said, SPLC put the Ruth Institute on its “hate map.”
‘That led the institute’s credit card processor to stop working with them. In a letter to the institute, the processor company said that it had learned that the ‘Ruth Institute … promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse,'” he reported.
Stossel said: “SPLC is now a hate group itself. It’s a money-grabbing slander machine.”
See Stossel’s video report on SPLC: