On December 5, 2017, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will stand before the Supreme Court and argue that discrimination against same-sex couples should be legal in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. And they’ll do it alongside the United States Solicitor General Noel Francisco. ADF gave up 10 minutes of their 30 minutes in front of the Supreme Court to Francisco, one of the organization’s “Allied Attorneys.”
According to Sarah Posner who wrote a long-form investigative piece for The Nation (“The Christian Legal Army Behind ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop”), the designation of “Allied Attorney” is awarded to lawyers who have done pro bono work for ADF and have signed its Statement of Faith, which:
“includes a commitment to believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ, that God designed marriage for one man and one woman, and that homosexual behavior is ‘sinful and offensive to God.’”
So ADF gave up a third of its time before the Supreme Court to the Solicitor General, an ADF “Allied Attorney” who has done pro bono work for them and who has committed to support their beliefs. So what’s the big deal?
It seems Francisco didn’t disclose his relationship with ADF during his Senate confirmation hearing. And he hasn’t told the justices of the Supreme Court about his long-standing, personal relationship with the organization whose position he is supporting.
In short, ADF and Francisco are hiding their relationship in the days before they stand before the Supreme Court. In fact, as soon as their relationship was exposed in The Nation, ADF started its frantic work to revise history.
In an addendum to her original story, Posner writes:
After publication, ADF contacted The Nation, claiming that Francisco has never been an allied attorney. Moments later, ADF wrote again, saying “It’s our mistake. It’s from this press release that we put out—unfortunately, our media dept. got it wrong, and I didn’t know it until now. Our media dept. is fixing it as we speak.” As of now, both press releases have been rewritten and no longer identify Francisco as an ADF-allied attorney. As we reported, the Department of Justice declined to comment on whether Francisco had undergone an ethics review in order to present arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop given his apparent relationship with ADF, one that the DOJ neither confirmed nor denied.
ADF also claimed, in the same e-mail, that its allied attorneys are not required to agree to the statement of faith we found linked to within ADF’s FAQs about applying to the program, saying that they do not have to agree to the same statement of faith as employees.
ADF can scrub all the press releases it likes, but the truth is already out. As the screenshots captured by Posner show, Francisco isn’t an impartial civil servant but rather an extreme advocate for ADF’s hateful positions.
Last month on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, ADF CEO Mike Farris had the perfect opportunity to come clean about the organization’s relationship with the Solicitor General. But he didn’t:
Hugh Hewitt: Now Mike Farris, on Thursday of last week, I had the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, on. And he implied, and it was later confirmed, that Alliance Defending Freedom will be sharing time before the Court with the Solicitor General. Can you confirm that for me as well?
Mike Farris: Yes. Kristen Waggoner will take 15 minutes. The Solicitor General himself will argue for 10 minutes, and then Kristen will do the rebuttal for 5.
Hugh Hewitt: And so Noel Francisco is actually going to argue it? And that telegraphs that the United States Department of Justice believes very much that this is a central case. The so-called 10th justice is the S.G. So that itself is a big win, isn’t it, Mike Farris, is the federal government is come in on the side of Jack Phillips?
Mike Farris: It is, and you know, of course the fact that the Court took the case was the first big win. And then the Solicitor General’s participation is the second. And we’re very hopeful that we’re going to have the ultimate win of the Court.
The so-called “tenth justice,” as Hewitt puts it, is clearly a powerful legal ally. But in this case, is the Solicitor General arguing solely on behalf of the United States government, or is he arguing in support of ADF’s belief system, which he committed to uphold? It seems like the justices deserve to know.
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