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Breaking: Judge Quashes DOJ and Merrick Garland’s Subpoena Harassing Alabama Eagle Forum Over Trans Legislation

 Eagle Forum of Alabama, a 501(c) (4), successfully drafted a bill that was shared with the Alabama legislature that would make it a felony to administer puberty blockers or gender hormones to anyone under the age of 19. The felony charge would also apply to gender reassignment surgery for individuals under the age of 19.

On April 8, 2022, the Alabama legislature passed the bill based on the Eagle Forum’s draft.

The bill mimics Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill by forbidding teachers to withhold information from parents about their children’s feelings that their gender does not match their biological sex. This applies to both public and private schools.

Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill SB184, and on May 8, 2022, the bill became law in Alabama.

On August 10, 2020, Joe Biden’s DOJ served the Eagle Forum with a subpoena demanding they turn over all of their records related to the bill they drafted. Incredibly, Eagle Forum of Alabama is also compelled by America’s most highly politicized and crooked DOJ to turn over all communication related to the drafting of the bill, including emails, social media posts, summaries, analysis, fact sheets, talking points, drafts of legislation including those from third parties, policies, goals, strategies, initiatives, polling, public opinion data, minutes, records, presentations, interviews, mass mailouts, emails, videos and all communications with government and non-government organizations or individuals including member legislators, employees, the Attorney General, lobbyists, consultants, etc., from 2017 which detail EFA’s legislative activities related to the VCAP. 

in September, John Mark Graham of Phelps Dunbar, LLP, filed a motion to Quash the subpoena on behalf of Eagle Forum Alabama.

The Eagle Forum’s draft of the bill was made public and was publicly available on their website.

On Monday Judge Liles Burke released his decision.

A Little Background:

In April, the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP) was passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law. This law prohibits healthy children from receiving puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgeries for the purpose of changing the appearance of their gender. Shortly thereafter, a group of people sued the State of Alabama claiming that the law was unconstitutional. The Department of Justice decided to join in the suit as “intervenor” party. Eagle Forum of AL (EFA) is not involved in this litigation. However, in August, EFA received an unprecedented subpoena from the Department of Justice. The DOJ demanded EFA turn over all records regarding VCAP. These included all communications with legislators, government and non-governmental third parties, EFA’s policy goals and strategies for passing the bill, interviews, videos, newsletters, presentations, social media posts, and more going back 5 years!

EFA has always been upfront in our advocacy for this common-sense legislation. EFA is constitutionally permitted to engage in this type of legislative activity and the subpoena demanded information the DOJ was not entitled to and that was outside of the scope of discovery. On September 7th, EFA filed a motion to quash the DPJ’s subpoena.

On October 14th, Judge Liles Burke held a hearing on the motion to quash. Late this afternoon we received the notice of the Judge’s order to grant our motion to quash. See an excerpt of the Judge’s order below.

The Court Findings:

“The Government’s nonparty subpoenas seek material outside the scope of discovery. The subpoenas command Eagle Forum and Southeast Law Institute to produce eleven broad categories of evidence, ranging from draft legislation, to communications with the Alabama Legislature, to polling or public opinion data, to social media postings. These materials are unlikely to reveal or lead to any information that would help resolve the fundamental issue in this case, which is whether Section 4(a)(1)–(3) of the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act is constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, the requested material has little—if any—relevance for purposes of discovery.”

“Furthermore, the burden of the requested material greatly outweighs any slight relevance it may have. Eagle Forum and Southeast Law Institute are nonprofit organizations staffed almost entirely of volunteers. The nonparties’ counsel, John Graham, represents them pro bono in this matter. To produce the requested material, the nonparties’ volunteer staff and pro bono counsel would first have to review thousands of documents, determine which, if any, of those documents are responsive, and then omit or redact any privileged information contained in those. Accordingly, the burden of the requested material outweighs any slight relevance it may have.”

“The Government has provided neither evidence nor argument to refute these conclusions. To the contrary, the Government’s eleventh-hour “narrowing” of the requested material suggests that the subpoenas, as written, are overly broad and unduly burdensome given the limited resources of the nonparties.

Considering the relevance (or lack thereof) of the requested material, the burden of production, the nonparties’ resources, and the Government’s own conduct, the Court finds that the subpoenas exceed the scope of discovery.”

Read the entire order here.

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