Several organizations and individuals from across the United States have filed an amicus brief supporting a motion to quash after the Department of Justice (DOJ) subpoenaed a conservative interest group in Alabama. Those involved in compiling the briefing on behalf of 53 entities and lawmakers said the latest move from the Biden administration is political abuse.
The DOJ is demanding information on the Eagle Forum's support and process leading up to the passing of Alabama's Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act. The law bans dosing children with hormones and puberty blockers and bans sex change surgeries, including mastectomies and castrations on children, and it's already been signed by Gov. Kay Ivey (R).
Eagle Forum wrote the first draft of the bill. However, it was amended by lawmakers before it was passed.
SEE ALSO: 'Harassment,' 'Unprecedented' — DOJ subpoenas Eagle Forum of Alabama, Demands 'all information' on promotion of Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion And Protection Act
Eagle Forum representatives have been speaking out against the subpoena for documents relating to the legislation, saying private citizens in a non-profit advocacy organization should have the right to take part in, communicate about and spread awareness of legislative issues.
"Eagle Forum is one of our greatest allies in this state. We are alarmed that the Justice Department is coming after them," said Matt Clark, president of the Alabama Center for Law & Liberty (ACLL).
Those who came together to file the amicus brief include "a wide range of organizations and individuals, from non-profit policy groups to federal and state legislators, to individual citizens."
The briefing, written by Boyden Gray & Associates in Washington and Bert Jordan at Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, L.L.C. in Birmingham, states the subpoena is a violation of the First Amendment and was only done to intimidate and chill the free speech of Eagle Forum.
"In so doing, the government seeks to force a small non-profit with only one full-time employee to pony up the resources to fight the Department of Justice, the world's largest law firm," the briefing states. "The government's message is clear and unmistakable: exercise your rights and participate in the political process at your own peril."
Clark said the ACLL has officially joined in support of the amicus brief. He said it is dangerous when the federal government comes after a group for participating in the legislative process and suggesting something should be done.
"That's the whole point of having a system of self-government," said Clark. "We ought to be able to talk to our representatives and say that they need to do certain things, but we can't force them to do anything. Passing laws is up to them."
According to Clark, one of the main concerns is how this move could impact future legislation.
"In the legal world, we call it a chilling effect on your speech," Clark explained. "It's going to shut a lot of people up because they're going to be afraid to talk to their representatives."
The parties are challenging the motivation of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division and its leadership officials.
The group is asking the Court to "quash the subpoena and prohibit the weaponization of the civil litigation process against organizations with whom the United States Government disagrees." The briefing also listed a history of governments seeking to intimidate in similar cases.
Complete list of those who signed the amicus brief is as follows:
Advancing American Freedom, Inc.
Alabama Center for Law and Liberty
America First Legal Foundation
American Family Association, Inc.
Americans United for Life
The Buckeye Institute
Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy
Center for Arizona Policy
Center for Family and Human Rights
Citizens United Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternative Concerned Women for America
Faith & Freedom Coalition
The Family Action Council of Tennessee, Inc.
The Foundation for Government Accountability
Foundation for Moral Law
Frontline Policy Council
Independent Women's Forum
John Locke Foundation
Judicial Watch, Inc.
The Liberty Justice Center
Louisiana Family Forum
Michigan Family Forum
Mountain States Legal Foundation
The National Right to Work Committee
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Parental Rights Foundation
Pennsylvania Family Council
Protect Our Kids
Public Interest Legal Foundation
The Religious RoundTable, Inc.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America
Tea Party Patriots Action, Inc. Tennessee Eagle Forum
Texas Public Policy Foundation
U.S. Congressman Robert B. Aderholt U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks
U.S. Congressman Jerry L. Carl
U.S. Congressman Barry Moore
U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer
U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers
Alabama Sen. T. Christopher Elliott
Alabama Sen. J.T. "Jabo" Waggoner
Alabama Rep. Chip Brown
Alabama Rep. Arnold Mooney
Alabama Rep. Matt Simpson
Alabama Rep. Tim R. Wadsworth
Caroline M. Aderholt
Hon. Hans von Spakovsky
There will be a hearing on the motion to quash on Friday, October 14, at 10 a.m. in Montgomery.
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