Group Denying Legal Representation? Traditional Values Under Attack: Tune in today as we talk with Matt Staver from Liberty Counsel about how a group out of the American Bar Association is pushing for those that hold to traditional values to be denied legal representation. What can we do about this? How should the process work? Join us to find out more!
Air Date: 08/27/2018
Guest: Matt Staver
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about the day’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. We always do that though from a biblical, historical, and constitutional, perspective. It’s so important to have that perspective if you want to find the right position on any issue. And that’s the three areas we look at – biblical, historical, and constitutional.
We’re here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton’s with us, national speaker and pastor, and our president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator.
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Later in the program Matt Staver will be with us today. Our topic is on the legal community and how now there are threats from one part of the bar threatening law firms and telling them, “You can’t work with people like Liberty Counsel or Alliance Defending Freedom.” These groups that are arguing before the Supreme Court. These are good organizations that are winning cases on the Constitution, defending the Constitution, and now we’ve got the LGBT arm of the American Bar Association telling people not to do business with these law firms.
The Tolerance of the Tolerant Left
So, once again, guys, it’s the intolerance of the supposedly “tolerant left”. And this time it’s targeted at an area– obviously, I’m passionate about as an attorney. I think everybody should be represented, and have their day in court, and have good legal counsel. And so in this case for them to say, you’re wrong if you do business with these law firms that are defending religious liberties and fighting for constitutional issues. This is the American Bar Association that’s doing this – or an arm of the American Bar Association. This is not good for the legal system.
It’s not good for the legal system, Rick. There are a lot of different legal entities out there. And even the legal entities I vehemently disagree with, I still believe they should definitely have their day in court and they should get access to every constitutional right. Even if I vehemently disagree with their politics. And there’s groups like that. As a fairly conservative person politically one group of attorneys that is usually on the opposite side of where we are is what has been known as trial lawyers.
Now, granted, anybody that practices law goes into court as a trial lawyer. If you’re a prosecutor and have a trial against a defendant, you’re a trial lawyer. If you’re one of the religious liberty law firms, you go into courts arguing for religious liberty, you’re a trial lawyer. But the one that traditionally is known as the group of trial lawyers are the ones that in former days they were kind of called ambulance chasers. They’re the guys who will have the ads on TV that if you spilled coffee on yourself at McDonald’s we can get you 3.2 million or whatever.
So, they would sue on anything and they sue with what’s called contingency fees. We’re going to go after really high numbers, we’re hitting insurance companies, we’re hitting businesses. And we get to keep half, a third, two thirds, whatever it is, of whatever we bring in.
So, that’s their commission.
That’s their commision.
Yeah. They’re drumming up business by suing.
“Bring Me Your Problems Let Me Sue This Guy”
Yeah, “Bring me your problems, let me sue this guy. And if we win then I’m going to keep a percentage of whatever we make.” Which, by the way, seems like they’re getting the really good end of the deal–
Because if they’re trying to sign up all these people, right, under one of these claims against whatever industry or corporation, then all the people that are signed up maybe get five dollars of the pay out. But if they get 10 percent, or 20 percent, or 30 percent, they’re getting–
Millions of dollars.
Well, a great example is in the state of Texas a number of years ago when the tobacco settlements were going forward, and people were suing the states over having done tobacco, and they were suing the tobacco companies etc. Here in Texas our attorney general was a very liberal progressive guy and he brought in several of his friends to help to help prosecute that case. And by the way, why doesn’t the attorney general prosecute this case for the state of Texas? He brought in private lawyers to do that. And the settlement, these guys ended up with, I think, it was like 2.2 billion dollars is what they got for their portion of the settlement – five or six guys.
Pretty Good Pay Day
That’s pretty good payday.
That’s a pretty good payday.
You probably don’t have to get a second job after that payday.
Well, it’s interesting, I think it’s for like the next 10 years nearly 90 percent of the funding of the Democratic Party of Texas came from those attorneys. They were the cash cows for the Democratic Party. And on the national level, those that are known as trial attorneys, these guys that they sue over anything they can, and looking for suits, and drum up suits– And by the way, Abraham Lincoln, who was an attorney, he has this great speech where he said it’s unethical for an attorney to go seeking business, to try to drum up business, to have high fees, or to do contingency cases. So, Lincoln had a lot of trials, but he wasn’t what is typically known as a trial attorney.
But I will say that even for this group of attorneys with whom I vehemently disagree. I think they need full representation every time they have an issue. If they need to go to court, go for it. They get all the due process rights, they get the right to trial by jury, they get the right to an attorney, they get the right to confront witnesses and compel witnesses on their behalf. And I would even say that for criminal defendants– I’m not soft on crime. And let’s say a guy has pled guilty to a murder. I still think he needs to be defended by someone who will stand for his constitutional rights – even though he’s pled guilty, you never violate their rights.
Group Denying Legal Representation?
Now, we’ve got a group out of the American Bar Association affiliated with the ABA saying we think that this group over here that supports marriage should be denied legal representation. So, if your attorney, don’t represent these guys, don’t go to court with them. Man, I disagree with all sorts of legal groups, but I still think they have their right to go to court and use the process. And now we’ve got the ABA with an affiliate saying, “Cut off all legal help and representation if these guys believe in traditional marriage or traditional sexuality.” How wild is that?!
Well, and one of the guys that obviously knows what it’s like to be on the frontlines arguing these cases that this of the ABA is complaining about is Matt Staver. He’s had some of these cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Obviously, they represent wonderful people all over the country for free. They did do fantastic work. But it’s Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom are two of the main ones that the LGBT attorneys are going after and saying you shouldn’t do business with. So, Matt’s going to tell us a little bit about that.
As we go to break, I just had to point out, David, that Attorney General you were talking about ended up going to jail for some of the deals that he made for those fellow Democrats and getting them billions of dollars. So, justice does end up getting served at some point in most cases. Stay with us, folks. Matt Staver our special guest when we come back on WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Matt Staver back with us from Liberty Counsel. Matt, good to have you back, brother. Thanks for staying with us.
Good to be with you.
Boycotting For Giving Representation For Religious Liberty Cases
Alright, so this bar association looks like, I guess, this LGBT Bar Association, is that part of the American Bar Association?
Yeah, it’s an affiliate of the American Bar Association. So, this is essentially the world’s largest bar association of lawyers and this is an affiliate of the ABA.
And they’re basically saying, “Look, if a law firm or an attorney works with these religious liberty organizations and legal groups then we should not give them any business at all.” Basically, boycott them for giving representation for religious liberty cases is the way I’m looking at it.
Yeah, it’s actually a boycott and as asking other law firms to boycott Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel because we have done other issues that they don’t like on the LGBT and same sex marriage issue. In fact, we’ve won cases as high as the United States Supreme Court on this issue.
And they point out those cases. And it’s amazing because they might as well just boycott the United States Supreme Court because the Supreme Court and other courts have agreed with us on these issues.
That’s right. That’s exactly right. And in many cases, you guys and ADF both, you have local counsel, right, that you’re working with that you want someone in that state or that particular community–
“Don’t Team Up With Liberty Counsel”
–to be teaming up with you. And that’s who they’re targeting here to say, “Hey, don’t team up with Liberty Counsel.”
That’s exactly right. Now, understand that this is a lawyers association, a bar association, affiliated with the American Bar Association. And the basic tenets have always been with lawyers and bar associations to keep open the doors to have access of individuals of all different kinds of communications, issues, controversies, that they can ultimately bring these into the court.
But this bar association, these lawyers with the ABA as an affiliate, this group is saying, “Shut the door on groups like ADF, and Liberty Counsel, and those that they represent.” In other words, slam the door on millions of Americans so that they no longer have access to the courts. That’s a shocking statement that this bar association is making.
But of course it’s completely tolerant, right? That’s their whole montra.
Yeah, that’s– their tolerance is a one way street that you have to tolerate their radical views, but they’re not going to tolerate yours. And in fact, they don’t even want you to be able to bring your claims in court. And understand, these cases, some of them that they refer to, they’ve gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States has sided with us on some of these issues. Particularly, the clashes so far between religious freedom and the radical LGBT agenda. They don’t like it.
Not a Live and Let Live Type Attitude and Playbook
They’re free not to like it, but because of that they want to boycott us. And essentially what they’re saying is, “No person that believes like this – in marriage between a man and a woman, or in biblical natural human sexuality should even have access to the courts. Slam the door on every single American that believes that way.”
Years ago before they were gaining so much in the culture we talked about the militant homosexual agenda and the militant sexual just gone awry agenda. This is kind of their playbook, right? They don’t, in other words, I haven’t seen them operate from a standpoint of, “We just want to be free to do what we want to do.” They have very much said, “We are going after anybody that disagrees with us, doesn’t celebrate, or doesn’t participate with us.” It’s not a live and let live type attitude and playbook.
Not at all. In fact, when they first began they said, “Well, we just want to be able to have equal rights and we want to be tolerated. We are asking for tolerance.” We always knew that that was just a smokescreen. That what they really wanted to do was to get their views accepted, get their lifestyle put out in the public, and then to crush anybody that disagrees. And the particular ones they’re going after are Christians and people of faith. And now they’re not going to stop at just trying to boycott these organizations, Liberty Counsel and ADF. I’m sure they’re going to look at other things as well.
Understand that ABA, for example, is an accrediting body for law schools. And if they’re going to be targeting Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom, no doubt they’re going to eventually start targeting these law schools. It’s no wonder why the American Bar Association has really recently had to lay off people. They are bleeding because of lack of funds.
People are abandoning the ABA and for good reason. If they act like this, no one ought to be associated with this kind of organization that is discriminatory, frankly bigoted, and that instead of asking for access to justice they are shutting the doors of justice. And indeed, they’re even– they might as well protest five, six, seven, of the justices. They might as well boycott the United States Supreme Court and many of these other federal courts in which we’re winning these issues.
Look At Canada
Well, Matt, for any of our listeners that might be thinking, “Oh, they’re not going to go that far.” Just look to our friends in the north because what you’re saying I hadn’t thought about this being a step in that direction. But as you were saying that I was thinking about Canada. Exactly that has happened. They’ve–
Exactly the same thing. A Christian law school in Canada has been basically shut down. It can graduate students with a law degree, but they can’t take the bar exam because they’re not accredited. And they’re not accredited, the reason being, is because they believe the same as millions of Americans and people around the world that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that God made male and female, and that human sexuality is in that construct of male-female relations as husband and wife. For that alone, and that alone is the reason why they can no longer have their graduates take the bar in Canada.
This is the ultimate objective to not only shut down access to the courts to millions of Americans, but also go after attorneys, and then also shut down the law firms. Particularly the Christian law schools as well that are graduating and that are employing these Christian attorneys.
Last thing, Matt, before let you go because I know a lot of attorneys across the country listen to the program and then work on cases with you guys and with ADF. What would you say to them? This is not an official– they should not fear that because this LGBT Bar Association is making this threat that they should not participate with you guys or they’ll somehow lose they’re standing with the ABA. They need to push back against this.
From a Practical Immediate Standpoint
Well, we have a lot of affiliate attorneys that are like minded and they’re not going to pay attention to this and they shouldn’t. So, from a practical immediate standpoint does this have any impact on us? No. But what the message is is stunning and we need to make sure that we are not taking this for granted. Because they’re not going to stop that just trying to shut down the access to the courts to try to have law firms boycott Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defending Freedom. They’re going to go further than that and they’re going to work behind the scenes. And we need to make sure that we’re doing the same thing, that we’re standing strong.
We can go to the Department of Education. The Department of Education is what allows the ABA to do its accrediting. If they start acting in a bad way we’re going to go there and ultimately stop them at the very source of where there accrediting power is affirmed. And if that happens the NBA is going to lose more members, and more authority, and more clout than it ever dreamed of losing.
LC.org is the website. Matt Staver, appreciate you, brother. And folks at home that if you want to help push back against this kind of thing, best thing to do is go to LC.org, get on the e-mail list, make a contribution, help Matt and his team continue to fight for our religious liberties. Matt, appreciate you, brother. Thanks for your time.
Thank you. My pleasure.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling. If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor’s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to Matt Staver for joining us as well. Be sure and visit his website today at LC.org. Not only to keep up with those cases, and to donate and all that, but hey, you may need help as well and you need to know Liberty Counsel. So, check that out at LC.org.
The ABA In Decline
Back with David and Tim Barton now. Guys, so it’s just like what we were saying. Matt was targeted in this case because of a view, basically, just having a biblical worldview. If you have a biblical position on marriage and on sex then you’re a persona non grata and should not be getting any business as a law firm.
I tell you, Matt had, to me, what is some fantastic news. I was not aware that the ABA is in decline right now. That is so good. There are so many things about the ABA that I don’t like. One of which is they work their tails off to keep judges from being accountable. They’re the ones who push the systems that are known as the Missouri and the Tennessee plan where that the ABA in the state chooses the people who need to be the Supreme Court justices. And they go give the governor three choices, he chooses one of their three choices to be Supreme Court nominee in the state. The Senate, the House, has no ratification over it, the people don’t get to vote on it.
The ABA is pushing these two plans known as the Tennessee Plan and the Missouri Plan because it gives them control over the kind of judges. And to hear that the ABA is in decline, that is so good. And by the way, at some point, citizens have got to stand up and say, “Hey, we want to elect our judges.” If you have elected judges they’re accountable to you. If they’re not elected, they’re not accountable. It’s just that simple. We see that all the time at the federal level and states need to pay attention to that.
But I just can’t tell you how great that was to hear that the ABA is in decline right now. Hopefully that means we can start getting the judiciary back under control at the state level.
What All Attorney’s Do?
Yeah, and I would argue as an attorney, I tell my friends that are attorneys and conservatives all the time, “I don’t do dues to the ABA. You don’t have to do that to be an attorney. And I used to do that early on as an attorney. I thought, “Well that’s just what all attorneys do.” And, man, I saw all the liberal things they were doing, and the positions that they were taking, and I was like, “I don’t want my dollars to go to that.”
So, you definitely do not have to do that. Attorneys that are making that donation because you want that “I’m a member of ABA” on your letterhead, it’s not worth it. They’re helping to fund the left.
And hopefully ABA is going to get the same kind of declining reputation that Southern Poverty Law Center is now getting and they’ll become radioactive and something that fewer and fewer attorneys want on their letterhead. So, that’s good that standpoint.
The other thing that’s good is you remember it was just a few years ago we were talking to Supreme Court attorneys and they were warning that the ABA is wanting to withhold certification for attorneys if they hold the wrong views on marriage and sexuality. They want to withhold certification for law schools who don’t have the right views, their right views, on marriage and sexuality. And they wanted attorneys not to be able to be licensed bar members if they had the wrong views. So, they were really trying to to control the entire legal system and punish those that did not have their views.
And again, as I said at the beginning, there’s a whole lot of attorneys that don’t have my viewpoint, but I’m going to fight for their right to have the same access to all the constitutional protections and rights that we all should have. And the ABA has not been willing to move that direction.
Quick break, guys. We’ll be right back. Folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. We’re talking about the ABA and legal representation. And, David, Tim, just, if you could comment, give a little bit of the background. 25-30 years ago when WallBuilders first started, there weren’t all these Christian attorneys and people representing kids that had been reprimanded for praying in school, or whatever the example is. Now, we’ve got an army out there. So, it is a totally different environment. People should be more willing to exercise their constitutional rights and realize that there are people that will come alongside them if they do.
Yeah. Back 30 years ago there was one legal group I knew and it was a tiny little legal group that defended religious liberties. And it was run out of the basement of a house in Atlanta. It was run by a New York Jewish guy who had become a Christian. A guy named Jay Sekulow. And Jay Sekulow, I was good friends with Jay, and man, hanging with him back then was like hanging with the guy who runs the mechanic’s shop at the end of the street. He was unknown, there was no real such thing as any kind of religious liberty legal group, but Jay started winning cases at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Birth of Christian Legal Groups
I remember when he won the case Westside vs Mergens, unanimous decision of the court, where the court said, “You cannot keep kids at public school from having Bible clubs, and having prayer clubs, and having evangelism clubs.” Jay just went in and did so many good things and then over the next eight to ten years you had all these groups start coming. You had Kelly Shackelford with First Liberty. You had Matt Staver at Liberty Counsel. At that period of time there were a lot of legal groups being born.
And the one that I remember most because I was most closely associated was Jay Sekulow, the man you look today and whether it’s Beckett Fund, or Thomas Moore, or Pacific Justice Institute, or whether– There are so many groups that are out there contending for these rights. And, Tim, you often point out that the groups like First Liberty, despite the fact that they have to argue in even hostile courts like the Ninth Circuit, they’ve got an over 90 percent win rate.
Yeah, one of the things that Kelly Shackelford has told us on many occasions is the hardest thing they have to overcome to winning these cases is finding the defendant that will be willing to fight the fight so they can win. He says so often people just acquiesce and when a kids told “You can’t pray graduation”, their parents, or their pastor, or somebody says, “Hey, don’t do it. It’s not worth the fight. It’s not worth messing up your career, your future, your college.”
And Kelly says, “No, if we can get somebody who’s willing to fight we are going to win this case.” And really, this is what you see on the side of religious liberty. Which is why even it’s a little ironic that you have these groups who, like a First Liberty, like a Liberty Counsel, like an Alliance Defending Freedom, who argue cases and win cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. And then for whatever reason they’re told, “Well, you’re not really a real law firm, and people shouldn’t recognize you, and you shouldn’t get business because you’re not a real law firm.” They’re winning at the U.S. Supreme Court right.
The Biggest of the Big
This is kind of like the biggest of the big. This is the World Championship of law is the U.S. Supreme Court. And these guys are the best at what they do. History, law, precedent, is on the side of religious liberty. And we really are in a place now where there’s no reason for Christians not to practice their faith for fear of whatever kind of legal repercussions there might be. Because there are so many groups who are willing to defend for free those Christians.
And by the way, even beyond Christians, right. Any anybody practicing religious liberty who gets attacked, they will defend any religious group under attack for free because that’s how important religious liberty is.
Guys, I would say real quick for our listeners out there there’s some that are listening going, “Man, that’s what I want to do.” Well, we need you in that field. If you’re an attorney and you want to be a part of this kind of protection of constitutional rights then you need to get in touch with first Liberty Institute or Alliance Defending Freedom. Go to some of their trainings and become one of their affiliated attorneys.
Group Denying Legal Representation? Traditional Values Under Attack
And even some of our young people that are listening right now you’re saying, “Yeah, that’s the career I want. I hadn’t thought about being a lawyer, but if I could do that, if I could defend the Constitution, and defend religious liberty.” God’s got a purpose for you. He’s kind of pricking your heart right now and saying that might be your arena, so pursue it. We need you in this culture. Believe me, the religious hostility is only increasing. And we need more and more attorneys out there that stand for these principles.
Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.