I will shortly post more details about our move to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari in the case of VDARE FOUNDATION vs. City of Colorado Springs. We were deeply shocked when what appeared to us to be a slam-dunk First Amendment case—about which our original attorney was so confident that he volunteered to take it on contingency—was rejected by successive courts, most recently 2-1 by the U.S. Tenth Circuit. As a noted First Amendment lawyer wrote me privately: “Essentially, the majority opinion stands for the proposition that the city is free to threaten private entities in order to suppress speech.” Happily, a parallel case in another federal court, St. Michael’s Media, Inc. vs. Mayor And City Council Of Baltimore; James Shea; Brandon M. Scott; And SMG, was recently dramatically resolved in the opposite direction [Church Militant Beats Baltimore, by Christine Niles, Church Militant, October 12, 2021]. But the city of Baltimore (at taxpayer expense) has struck back ferociously. Quite obviously, America’s Ruling Class really has decided that it does indeed have the right to suppress dissident speech. And, except for desperately expensive David vs. Goliath litigation, it’s on the edge of winning.
St. Michael’s Media Inc. publishes Church Militant, a bracingly combative webzine that is brutally critical of what it sees as liberal and lax tendencies with the Catholic Church. (This concern is definitely shared when it comes to the immigration issue by VDARE.com’s Catholic writers, e.g., here and here.) A recent, typically—ah—direct, headline: ARCHBISHOP COMPLICIT WITH GAY NETWORK: Abp. Lori must resign, October 28, 2021. William E. Lori has been Archbishop of Baltimore since 2012.
This year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose immigration and refugee enthusiasms have frequently attracted VDARE.com’s attention, is having its Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 15–18. Church Militant promptly scheduled for November 16 an adjacent “Prayer Rally,” as it did during the previous USCCB conference in 2018, this time under the combative title Bishops: Enough Is Enough. Among other proposed speakers: VDARE.com columnist Michelle Malkin. (Full disclosure: my Catholic wife and my bitter dispossessed Episcopalian self had bought tickets to go.)
But on August 5, the City of Baltimore, which owns and subcontracts out the venue, abruptly intervened to cancel the rally [Weaponizing Jan. 6 To Trample on Free Speech, ChurchMilitant, August 30, 2021].
The subsequent legal brawl has been extraordinary. And—incredibly—it still continues. (Church Militant is represented by Marc J. Randazza, below left, who has also ably represented VDARE.com, and Baltimore by City Attorney Renita Collins, right.)
But the City of Baltimore immediately appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. And it asked Judge Hollander to continue blocking the conference until the Appeals Court rules. She rejected this last Wednesday, October 19 [Court Rules Against Baltimore City — Again, by Christine Niles, ChurchMilitant, October 31, 2021].
Amid a flurry of contending motions, Church Militant’s Answering Brief was filed on Thursday, October 27. (See here.) The City of Baltimore’s reply is due this Monday, November 1. After that, there will presumably be oral arguments. And then…it could take months.
But Church Militant’s November 16 conference date is not much more than two weeks away. As Judge Hollander noted in rejecting the Stay: Baltimore “could run out the clock.” Church Militant’s opportunity to make its point in the context of the Catholic Bishops’ conference will have been lost.
Of course, Church Militant could then demand damages from Baltimore. And in First Amendment cases, these can be significant.
Furthermore, it has already won a famous victory in the shape of Judge Hollander’s rulings. For that, it deserves the sincere congratulations of all patriots, regardless of their views on religion (or for that matter on immigration, about which Church Militant is—by its standards—relatively silent).
Under normal circumstances, Church Militant’s victory should give pause to the innumerable other would-be petty totalitarians who obviously infest every level of U.S. government.
But these, notoriously, are not normal times. There are various theories as to why the City of Baltimore is now wasting its taxpayers’ money on this clearly unconstitutional attempt to suppress a rally that, as Church Militant points out, is actually identical to its 2018 rally which went off without hitch. But one key may be Baltimore’s peculiar focus, in its later litigation rationalizations, on proposed speakers Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon, whom it alleges “incite” (a.k.a., are the victims of) violence.
Both, of course, were famously prominent in the Alt Right thermal that led to the upset election of Donald Trump in 2016. The Left’s temper tantrum about that victory continues. If anything, it is growing more intense in the wake of the Capitol Insurrection Hoax.
Which brings me to a final point. The City of Baltimore alleged that Yiannopoulos and Bannon are associated with violence (which anyway it could have prevented, needless to say, by using its police power). But Judge Hollander correctly saw that this was a subterfuge. She said, in denying the Motion To Stay: “The government rarely flatly admits it is engaging in viewpoint discrimination.”
However, in VDARE.com’s case against the City of Colorado Springs, the government did flatly admit it was engaged in in viewpoint discrimination. Mayor John Suthers flat-out said:
The City of Colorado Springs will not provide any support or resources to this event, and does not condone hate speech in any fashion. [Emphasis added]
“Hate Speech,” of course, is an offense unknown to American law—there’s a thing called the First Amendment—which Suthers, who is a lawyer, should know. (And, for the record, I absolutely deny that VDARE.com is engaged in “Hate Speech,” whatever it means. I think we’re perfectly rational.)
But this is why I am so shocked by the court decisions (except for Judge Hartz’ heroic dissent) in our Colorado Springs case.
We are all engaged in a desperate struggle to remain in the “public square”—i.e., to be able to communicate with our fellow Americans at all.
Church Militant’s District Court victory suggests that there is still hope that America’s courts will defend us.
For the sake of the Union, we must all hope that this is so.
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Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of VDARE.com. His best-selling book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, is now available in Kindle format.