An organization that is suing Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for “weaponizing” her office by lending its authority to the “false political narrative” of the Southern Poverty Law Center says the trial must go on.
The American Freedom Law Center sued Nessel and Agustin Arbulu of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights when they adopted SPLC’s notorious “hate” designation for AFLC, and posted it on the state website.
SPLC has in recent years launched full scale attacks on organizations, not because they promote “hate” but because they disagree with SPLC’s social agenda on abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues.
AFLC explains it was attacked by the “radical, left-wing (and totally discredited) Southern Poverty Law Center as a ‘hate group,'” but additional damage was done when Nessel granted the organization the state’s imprimatur.”
Nessel responded by demanding that the U.S. District Court in Michigan drop the case.
TSPLC in recent years has been cut off from some federal agencies entirely, has been wracked by internal turmoil and turnover, has been targeted in lawsuits over its “hate” designations and has been the subject of a campaign encouraging people to ignore and dissociate from it. It has been so aggressive in labeling others as “hate groups” it has been described as one itself by at least one commentator.
It’s because of its agenda of labeling nationally known and reputable organizations like the Family Research Council and others with the “hate” label for its biblical positions on those social issues.
AFLC said Nessel’s motion to dismiss “confirms that she is weaponizing the office of the Michigan Attorney General to publicly promote, and thus give the government’s imprimatur to and endorsement of, a false political narrative advanced by the Southern Poverty Law Center – a narrative that is intended to, and in fact has, harmed plaintiff.”
AFLC pointed out that when Nessel was sued for adopting the anti-biblical positions of SPLC, to hurt AFLC, she wrote publicly: “Only in Trump’s America do you get sued for pledging to prosecute hate crimes and pursue organizations that engage in illegal conduct against minority communities. I will never back down on my commitment to protect the safety of all Michiganders. Bring it.”
AFLC said that “is not the statement of an objective, clear-minded government official who is a top law enforcement officer disavowing an intention to abuse government power and misuse government resources to unlawfully target plaintiff.”
“The opposite is true, requiring this court to stop her unlawful abuse of power.”
The organization’s response to Nessel’s motion to dismiss said she accused AFLC of being “so successful in defending and protecting hate speech that it must bear the burden of being labeled a ‘hate group.'”
But that’s all political, because while the First Amendment does not protect “inciting imminent lawless action, obscenity, defamation, fighting words, child pornography, fraud, true threats” and more, there is no category of speech called “hate speech.”
“The question is rhetorical because the goal of defendants (and SPLC) is obvious: falsely label your political opponents’ speech as ‘hate speech’ to marginalize their message in an effort to ultimately ban their ideas from public discourse.
“The pernicious effect is clear,” the filing continued. Just recently, a leader in defendant Nessel’s party, State Representative Yousef Rabhi (D-Mich.), ‘told The Daily that he personally is involved in crafting civil rights legislation that would fight hate speech, as well as the hate organizations themselves. Rabhi is worried, however, that some representatives are protecting hate speech by filing it under free speech. ‘Some of the negative legislation coming up, it generally is under the guise of free speech,’ Rabhi said. ‘So often times (sic) people who are wanting to support and defend these organizations like the American Freedom Law Center and others are doing it with (sic) the guise of free speech and saying that universities and other organizations denying the opportunity for hate speech to occur is a violation of free speech.'”
AFLC stated: “It is one thing for a radically partisan private organization like SPLC to express its falsehoods about political opponents. However, when the Michigan attorney general and the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights join and officially endorse this partisan attack by lending government resources and thus becoming the government enforcement agency for APLC’s radical agenda, the protections of the United States Constitution are triggered.”