Here’s the background:
Earlier this year, the Alabama legislature passed the “Vulnerable Child Compassion And Protection Act” (VCAP). VCAP seeks to protect children from medical interventions – puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatments and transition surgery – upon children experiencing gender dysphoria. Following VCAP’s passage, the Biden Administration immediately and publicly put the state on notice that it would be held accountable, and soon thereafter the Department of Justice joined a raft of private plaintiffs (e.g., ACLU, Transgender Law Center, Lamda Legal, SPLC, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, etc.) suing to stop the law from going into effect.
During an early hearing the presiding judge asked who drafted the text of the original statute. Based on this information, the DOJ issued federal subpoenas upon non-party private organizations that “may have had some involvement in drafting the legislation.” Eagle Forum of Alabama, who has a single full-time employee, was one of those named.
For a non-governmental, non-party, to the litigation the subpoena is sweeping in scope, requiring:
- All communications and documents between the Eagle Forum and anyone in the state legislature or governor’s office about the legislation.
- All communications between the Eagle Forum and any other group (beyond state government) about the legislation.
- Any drafts of the legislation that Eagle Forum wrote, assisted in writing, or merely reviewed.
- Any “materials considered” in preparing the legislation, including any text from other third-party organizations and any “medical studies, opinions, or evidence.”
- The Eagle Forum’s “policy goals, initiatives, and/or strategies” regarding trans issues.
- Any internal “polling or public opinion data” related to the “medical care or treatment for transgender minors or youth.”
- Any “presentations, videos, interviews, and/or speeches” given regarding trans or “gender identity” issues.
- Any communications sent to Eagle Forum’s grassroots activists regarding the legislation.
- Any social media postings regarding the legislation.
The subpoena demands records going all the way back to January of 2017, four years before VCAP’s passing.
What was Eagle Forum’s offense? Concern for the children of Alabama and the harms of so-called “gender affirming care.” As Hans A. Von Spakoovsky writes:
“Members of the Eagle Forum made their worries known by doing things every American has an absolute right to do: they spoke out, made speeches, organized meetings, talked to other residents and organizations in the state, and contacted their elected state representatives. In other words, they exercised their constitutional rights to engage in “freedom of speech,” to “peaceably assemble,” and “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” They also exercised their right to associate, recognized by the Supreme Court as implicit under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
One can draw their own conclusions about the DOJ’s motives here, but it’s hard not to see in it a deliberate intent to intimidate and chill Constitutional rights. This is the same DOJ, after all, who colluded with the National School Board Association (NSBA) to tag parents protesting CRT curriculums as “domestic terrorists.”
Today it’s the Eagle Forum of Alabama; tomorrow it could be POK or one of hundreds of other grassroots organizations advocating for our nation’s children.
In governments of the people, by the people, and for the people…vigilance is the price of liberty.
Read the Amicus brief here.