Montgomery's far-left legal activist group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), is involved in yet another defamation lawsuit over its controversial "hate list."
According to the Washington Times, U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins refused a request by the SPLC to drop a defamation case brought against it by the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society (DIS), an advocacy group for securing the U.S. borders.
The DIS was founded in 2005 by D.A. King. According to reports, King was influential in creating Georgia's controversial immigration bill in 2011, guiding the legislators who drafted the law.
The bill requires businesses in Georgia with 10 or more employees to electronically verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. It also made the intentional transportation of illegal immigrants a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year.
King is suing the SPLC because the organization labeled them an "anti-immigrant hate group" on its website.
For the last 30 years, the SPLC has been accused of hypocrisy, facilitating an unhealthy work environment and leveraging its influence for progressive ideological objectives. Conservatives accuse the SPLC of including groups with standard conservative agendas on the same list as violent organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.
SPLC has faced numerous defamation lawsuits over its naming of those hate groups.
In 2018, it paid a $3 million settlement and apologized for branding Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz an "anti-Muslim Extremist" in its "Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists."
In 2019, Jessica Prol Smith wrote an article on USA Today, blaming the SPLC for instigating a terrorist attack against her employer, the Family Research Council (FRC), which almost killed her.
The FRC, a conservative evangelical organization that advocates for pro-life causes, traditional marriage and religious liberty, was labeled a hate group by the SPLC. The assailant admitted to the FBI that he selected the FRC office to attack for this reason.
Smith called the SPLC a "hate-based scam" and an "obscenely wealthy marketing scheme."
The SPLC continues to designate the FRC as a hate group today.
In 2020, the Republican National Committee approved a resolution to condemn the law center's standards for identifying hate groups.
SPLC has also received criticism from the left for milking "gullible Northern liberals" for money while misaligning itself with its supposed values.
In addition to labeling organizations "hate groups" on their website, the SPLC also provides information about who it deems to be hate groups to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. It has worked with big tech organizations like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.
Earlier this year, a controversial FBI memo cited the SPLC hate group list and suggested the federal agency should monitor traditionalist Catholics through "the development of sources with access," including in "places of worship." The FBI later rescinded the memo following backlash from concerned Christians.
In the DIS case, the SPLC attorneys argued that there could be no fixed definition of being "anti-immigrant" and, therefore, there is no standard to say that the SPLC was false. They also argued that the First Amendment protects the SPLC's speech.
Watkins argued that there is a fixed definition of "immigrant" in federal law, so it's possible to establish the meaning of "anti-immigrant."
Nevertheless, defamation lawsuits are difficult to win. The plaintiffs must prove that the SPLC showed "actual malice" in labeling the DIS a hate group.
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