August 17, 2017
RE: Foundation for Moral Law Second Quarter 2017 Report
I am pleased to present to you the Foundation for Moral Law’s second quarter report for 2017. Without your generosity, we would not be able to take the opportunities that God is giving us to make a difference for Him in the legal and political arenas. We know that you have made a generous investment in us, and we are striving to be good stewards of the funds that you have entrusted to us. We therefore hope that you will be pleased with the progress you see in this report. During the past quarter, there were victories in six cases in which the Foundation had been involved, two of which were pending before the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation also took action in five new cases, one of which was pending before the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation also laid the groundwork to get involved in eleven more cases and witnessed development in four older cases. The Foundation also supported good legislation and opposed bad legislation on the national and state levels. Furthermore, our Founder authored a new book, which was an adaptation of his special writing in the API case. We also had the opportunity to be involved with numerous projects, and our staff was blessed with multiple opportunities to speak. Finally, after the Alabama Supreme Court essentially forced him out of office for standing up for marriage, our Founder retired from serving as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and is now running for the office of United States Senator.
I. Last Quarter
Before discussing what God used us to do this quarter, here is a recap of the last quarterly report. During the last quarter, the Foundation was involved in the following eight cases:
Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., in which the United States Supreme Court was considering whether federal law requires public schools to allow “transgender” students to use the bathroom of their choice;
Sterling v. United States, in which a Marine asked the United States Supreme Court to consider whether the First Amendment and federal law protected her right to display a Bible verse on her desk;
Pidgeon v. Turner, in which the Texas Supreme Court was asked to limit the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Obergefell v. Hodges (the gay marriage decision) solely to the issue of marriage licenses and not to other aspects of marriage;
In re Union City, Indiana, in which the Freedom from Religion Foundation had demanded that a police station remove John 15:13 (“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”) from being displayed;
In re Jeff Sessions, in which the ACLU filed a bar complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions accusing him of lying during his Senate confirmation hearings;
A case in which a supervisor in the Justice Department was facing termination after saying a prayer of thanksgiving over a luncheon hosted for her summer interns;
A case in which two public schools in Massachusetts were giving failing grades to Christian children who refused to participate in assignments involving pagan rituals; and
A case in which we crafted a “personhood” lawsuit as a way of attacking abortion.
In addition to litigation, the Foundation also worked on the legislative and executive fronts. The Foundation sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the United States Senate opposing the nomination of Kristin Goodwin, an open lesbian, as Commandant of the Air Force Academy. We also met with a state senator who had introduced a bill addressing transgender bathrooms and suggested ways to fix it. In addition, we supported HB95 and HB98, two pro-life bills that passed the Alabama Legislature. We also supported SB186, which would give fathers a meaningful chance to be part of their children’s lives in the sad cases of divorce.
We also hired two new staff members: Rich Hobson and Win Johnson. Our staff members, President, and Founder had many opportunities to speak. Finally, the Alabama Supreme Court, comprised of seven retired (and unaccountable) judges released its decision against our Founder and upheld the judgment of the Court of the Judiciary. As we mentioned at the end of our last report, Judge Moore was about to announce his intentions regarding his future plans.
II. This Quarter
During the second quarter of 2017, the Foundation saw victory in six cases in which it had been involved. It also took action in five new cases, saw developments in four old cases, and began preparation for eleven new cases. Our caseload has increased dramatically over this past quarter due to the grace of God, the hard work of our staff, and the generosity of our donors.
First, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious liberty in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, in which the Foundation had filed an amicus brief. In this case, a Missouri church had applied for a grant from the State to resurface the playground for its school. The grant program was open to everyone, but the State denied a grant to the church simply because it was a church. The church sued, claiming that exclusion from the program simply because of its religious identity was a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. On November 4, 2015, the church petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari review. The Foundation was one of the few organizations that filed an amicus brief asking the Court to take the case. The Court granted certiorari and ruled in favor of the church in a 7-2 decision. The Court’s opinion, which paralleled some of the arguments in the Foundation’s amicus brief, was a powerful reminder that government may not discriminate against religious organizations on the ground of their religious identity.
Second, the United States Supreme Court agreed to take the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n, in which the Foundation had filed an amicus brief. In this critically important case, a Colorado cake shop refused to bake a cake for customers of the same-sex who wanted a wedding cake. The cake shop’s owner, Jack Phillips, is a Christian. He could not provide the cake without violating his Christian beliefs. Legal action against Phillips was initiated, and the Colorado Court of Appeals eventually ruled against him. Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Phillips petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari review. On August 22, 2016, the Foundation moved the Court for leave to file an amicus brief, urging the Court to take the case. The Court granted certiorari and will hear oral arguments next month, and it also granted our motion to file the brief. The Foundation was the only organization that filed an amicus brief urging the Court to take the case.
Third, the Texas Supreme Court ruled favorably in the case of Pidgeon v. Turner, in which the Foundation had filed an amicus brief. As mentioned above, the Texas Supreme Court in this case was considering whether to extend the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges to the issue of financial marital benefits that were afforded to heterosexual married couples under Texas law. Along with the Institute for Creation Research, the Foundation filed an amicus brief urging the court to reject Obergefell altogether as unconstitutional. The court released its decision in June, declining to extend Obergefell beyond the issue of marriage licenses. Although the court did not go as far as the Foundation urged, it still came down on the right side. The case has the potential to return to the Texas Supreme Court, at which time it may consider again whether to reject Obergefell completely as the Foundation urged.
Fourth, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled favorably in the case of Barber v. Bryant, in which the Foundation had filed an amicus brief. After the Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, the State of Mississippi passed a law protecting the religious freedom of clergy, business owners, and government personnel who had religious objections to same-sex marriage. Gay activists sued the State, and a federal judge appointed by President Obama declared this religious freedom law unconstitutional. The State appealed to the Fifth Circuit, and the Foundation filed an amicus brief in the State’s support. The Fifth Circuit reversed, finding that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the suit. While the State has the potential to be sued again, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling means that religious liberty of persons objecting to same-sex marriage in Mississippi is safe for now.
Fifth, the Foundation got an abortion clinic in Montgomery to stop spraying a sidewalk counselor with a sprinkler. There is one abortion clinic here in Montgomery, and a faithful Christian frequently stands outside the clinic to try to talk the mothers out of allowing their children to be murdered. The abortion clinic frequently turns the sprinkler on to hit the Christian and attempt to drive him away. (Several years ago the clinic had sprayed a Christian counselor, and when he stepped on the grass to get away from the sprinkler, the clinic charged him with criminal trespass. The Foundation’s attorneys defended him and won an acquittal in court.) After one of the workers bragged to an online magazine that she does that on purpose, the Christian came to us with that evidence. We wrote a demand letter on his behalf, telling the abortion clinic that their failure to cease spraying him may result in legal action. The abortion clinic did not write back to us, but it did stop spraying him.
Sixth, we had written in previous quarterly reports about a case in which a Christian group that provides tours of national parks, mostly to homeschooled children, was being charged by the National Park Service with giving tours without a permit, even though this group had done so for a long time. The Foundation believed the NPS was targeting this group because it of its viewpoint on contested historical issues. The Foundation helped refer this group to an attorney in Louisiana, with a result of a total victory for the group.
2. New Cases
The Foundation also got involved in four new cases this past quarter. First, at the request of Alliance Defending Freedom, the Foundation filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to take the case of Xue v. Sessions, in which a Chinese national is seeking asylum in the United States from religious persecution. The Court is scheduled to consider Xue’s petition at the beginning of its next term.
Second, the Foundation has filed a motion to submit an amicus brief in the Mississippi case of Strickland v. Day. In this case, a former lesbian conceived a child during a “marriage” to her lesbian partner via assisted reproductive technology. After the child was born, the mother left the lesbian lifestyle and married a man. The former lesbian lover sought joint custody of the child, arguing that Mississippi law should recognize her as a parent in light of Obergefell v. Hodges. The case is now before the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Foundation filed a motion to submit an amicus brief, arguing that (1) the court is not required to presume that the lesbian is a “parent” because a woman cannot get another woman pregnant, and (2) the court should reject Obergefell altogether as having no basis in the Constitution. In 2015, two justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court argued that the court should consider whether to reject Obergefell as illegitimate. The Foundation is attempting to give the court that opportunity.
Third, the Foundation attempted to file an amicus brief in the Seventh Circuit case of Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Concord Community Schools. In this case, the anti-Christian group Freedom From Religion Foundation sued an Indiana school because it wanted its annual Christmas program to focus on Christmas. (Go figure.) The Foundation attempted to file an amicus brief, educating the Seventh Circuit on what the Establishment Clause originally meant and urging the court to call on the Supreme Court to reexamine its erroneous precedents. The court denied our motion to file a brief, incorrectly believing that we were asking it to contravene Supreme Court precedent. Nevertheless, we felt it was worth the try. Someone had to protect the Christmas program from the grinches who stole the Establishment Clause.
Fourth, the Foundation pulled together a coalition of pro-life organizations in Alabama to file amicus briefs in an abortion case. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released an opinion in the case of In re Anonymous holding that a minor could abort her child. Believing that the District Attorney would petition the Alabama Supreme Court for review, the Foundation prepared an amicus brief and asked two other pro-life organizations in Alabama to do the same. We worked tirelessly around the clock to have quality amicus briefs ready to file as soon as the District Attorney asked the court to hear the case. Sadly, the District Attorney never filed the petition for review. We pray that the mother chose life. Our work on this case leaves us prepared to file amicus briefs in the next abortion case that the Alabama Supreme Court considers.
Finally, the Foundation wrote to the Justice Department offering to assist in any lawsuits that may arise because of President Trump’s executive order defending religious liberty. The ACLU had threatened to sue, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit in Wisconsin. The Foundation stands ready to assist the Justice Department in defending the executive order that protects the religious liberties of all Americans.
3. Old Cases
There were also developments in four old cases in which the Foundation had been involved. First, in the case of Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm, the United States Supreme Court remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling after the Trump administration took a different position than the Obama administration had. The Fourth Circuit is now reconsidering the issue of whether federal law requires public schools to allow transgender students to use whichever bathroom they please, regardless of the safety, privacy, and moral concerns involved. The Foundation had previously filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the school board. When the case was remanded, the Foundation was the first organization to file an amicus brief at the Fourth Circuit in support of the school board, which argued that federal law does not require schools to permit transgender students to use whichever bathroom they prefer.
Second, the Foundation continued to assist the Massachusetts father whose children received failing grades for refusing to participate in assignments involving paganism. The father was finally able to meet with MassResistance, and the Foundation helped him submit all the necessary documentation to that organization.
Third, unfortunately the Justice Department fired the supervisor who said grace over a meal. The Foundation recently submitted a letter to Attorney General Sessions, asking him to reconsider her termination, and to Vice President Pence, drawing attention to this employee’s case in light of President Trump’s executive order.
Finally, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Sterling v. United States involving a U.S. Marine lance corporal who was court-martialed because she refused to remove Bible verses from her personal work space. The Foundation had submitted an amicus brief, along with the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, several states, many members of Congress, and several retired admirals and generals, asking the Court to take the case. The Court’s decision is disappointing to say the least, but the Foundation did what it could to get the Court to stand up for the religious rights of our troops.
Finally, the Foundation has made preparations to get involved in eleven new cases, several of which are before the United States Supreme Court. For the sake of brevity, we believe it is sufficient to say that all of these cases involve the right to acknowledge God or a strict originalist interpretation of the Constitution, which is what the Foundation exists to promote. Our staff has spent substantial time preparing to jump into these cases if and when the opportunities arise. God has not only blessed us with much work for this quarter, but appears that He is preparing to bless us with much work for the next quarter as well.
The Foundation also had some involvement on the legislative front on both the national and state level. On the national level, our Senior Counsel worked with Phyllis Schlafly's Eagles regarding fetal heartbeat legislation. Here in Alabama, our Senior Counsel also prepared and distributed testimony for Senate Education Committee regarding a Common Core bill. He also provided advice to a Christian conservative organization here regarding HB277, which would have subjected church-run daycares to licensing requirements, and worked with Alabama Eagle Forum, Alabama Citizens Action Program, and other groups for the defeat of this bill. Finally, the Foundation sent a letter to the Alabama Senate and the Governor urging them to reject HB440, which we feared would allow the state Department of Human Resources to take over Christian rehabilitation camps in this state. When the bill was signed into law, one of our attorneys published an article in the Alabama Political Reporter calling attention to the dangers of the bill and impliedly letting these camps know that the Foundation would be interested in coming to their defense. Finally, two of the Foundation’s attorneys met with fellow Christian conservative activists at the end of the legislative session to strategize for the next session.
C. New Book from Our Founder
Judge Moore recently converted his special writing in Ex parte State of Alabama ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute (“API”) into a book. As you may recall, Judge Moore wrote a special concurrence in the API case, in which he presented a hard-hitting indictment of the U.S. Supreme Court’s abuse of power in Obergefell v. Hodges. Judge Moore’s special concurrence traced the history of how a series of bad decisions from the Supreme Court led to the outcome in Obergefell, highlighted the critiques of the dissenting justices in Obergefell, discussed how marriage is defined by God, and warned of the impending collision between Obergefell and religious liberty. Finally, Judge Moore’s special writing demonstrated how a lower court’s obligation is to uphold the United States Constitution itself, not erroneous Supreme Court precedents that have no basis in the Constitution. Judge Moore discussed the view of precedent during the founding era and demonstrated how precedents were supposed to be disregarded if they were manifestly absurd or unjust, or completely contrary to reason or divine law. Because Obergefell met all of those criteria, and because a state supreme court’s obligation is to uphold the Constitution itself, Judge Moore concluded that Obergefell was due to be rejected. Judge Moore’s book, Abuse of Power, is now in print and available on Amazon. The book is published by Good Morals, which is run by Martin Wishnatsky, one of our attorneys.
D. Speaking Engagements
Our Founder and staff have had many opportunities to speak this past quarter. Our Founder’s activities will be discussed in the last section of this report. Our Senior Counsel, John Eidsmoe, was the keynote speaker for the Alabama College Republican State Convention, as well as a speaker for the Huntsville Tea Party. He also spoke at multiple churches, including churches in Tampa, FL, Montgomery, AL, and Maple Grove, MN. He also spoke to a conservative ranchers group in western South Dakota. He also was also on the radio multiple times, speaking with Jerry Newcombe of Coral Ridge Ministries, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagles, and twice on a Louisiana radio station.
The other attorneys at the Foundation had opportunities to speak as well. Martin Wishnatsky and Matthew Clark both had the opportunity to speak, on separate occasions, on a Montgomery radio talk show about recent Supreme Court decisions and other legal matters. Win Johnson, on his own initiative, held a press conference with Lori Mullins of COPE, a local pro-life organization, criticizing the decision of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in the Anonymous case discussed above. Johnson also criticized the District Attorney for not taking the fight for the child’s life to the Alabama Supreme Court. Further, Johnson and Mullins pleaded for the mother, as well as all Alabamians, to choose life and seek help from pro-life organizations in cases of unexpected pregnancy. Multiple news agencies reported about that.
E. Other Projects and Events
Around the beginning of this quarter, our Founder, President, and staff met with a delegation of representatives from the Parliament of Kazakhstan, who came to America desiring to meet people involved in governmental affairs and talk with them. That was a chance for us to talk to them about God, government, and the American Constitution. In addition, a group of students visited the Foundation from Cultural Leadership, an organization that looks at civil rights through the lens of the African-American and Jewish experience. Many of the students asked us questions from a liberal perspective, but their respect and courtesy gave us an opportunity for a friendly dialogue in which we got to share our worldview with them.
In addition, the Foundation received a grant from Alliance Defending Freedom to research which courts have implemented ABA Mode Rule 8.4(g). The ABA recently adopted this model rule, which prohibits “discrimination” in the practice of law on the grounds of “gender identity,” “sexual orientation,” and “marital status.” ADF and the Foundation are concerned that this rule is designed to punish Christian attorneys who have religious and moral objections to homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism. The Foundation therefore researched the status of every federal district and circuit court in the country to determine whether these courts had adopted Rule 8.4(g) and might use it against Christians. We recently submitted our results to ADF.
Furthermore, our Senior Counsel helped finish the petition for Col. Maxey, who was issued a letter of reprimand by the United States Air Force for criticizing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Col. Eidsmoe also helped a Montgomery citizen who was interested in challenging the constitutionality of red-light cameras. Moreover, he provided assistance to the Plymouth Rock Foundation concerning a trademark issue. He also wrote forewords or reviews for three new books. He has also continued to be very involved in his church and military duties.
Win Johnson has helped the Foundation create a better social-media presence, utilizing our Twitter account to draw attention to current issues. Win has also written articles on our webpage concerning euthanasia and free speech on college campuses. He has also been searching for opportunities to fight for the lives of the unborn here in Alabama. Finally, he has been preparing to work on a Legal-Political Strategies Group this year.
Matthew Clark was admitted to the last federal district court in Alabama this past quarter. The Foundation is now prepared to handle any lawsuit that must be brought in federal court in this state. Clark also connected a woman who was fired by the FBI for her faith to the Christian Legal Society in order to help her find an attorney licensed to practice in Washington, D.C., to help her with her case. The Foundation also employed three interns this past quarter, all of whom did a phenomenal job contributing to our successes this quarter.
F. Update on Our Founder
As we mentioned in our last quarterly report, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the suspension against Judge Moore for the remainder of his term. Around the same time, Jeff Sessions resigned as the junior U.S. Senator from Alabama in order to serve as President Trump’s Attorney General. This left open a vacancy that our Founder believed God wanted him to pursue. Therefore, on April 26, 2017, Judge Moore announced his retirement from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and announced his candidacy for the United States Senate. Rich Hobson subsequently resigned from the Foundation in order to serve full time as Judge Moore’s campaign manager. Judge Moore has spent much time on the campaign trail since his announcement and has been speaking in many places. The primary was August 15, he won that race but was not over the margin of 50% therefore will face a runoff on September 26..
We have been asking God to give us more opportunities to take stands for Him, and He has been answering that request this past quarter. Thank you for your generosity. None of this would have been possible without your investment in the Foundation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for your generosity, and may the Lord reward you for the kindness that you have shown us.
· Working for religious liberty for all and a better Alabama!
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