May 14, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Liberty Counsel filed an objection to a staggering subpoena from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Lambda Legal), which represents the Human Rights Campaign and other plaintiffs in the case of Karnoski v. Trump. The objection to the subpoena was filed by Liberty Counsel on its behalf and on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC), which also received the subpoena. The subpoena seeks information from Liberty Counsel and FRC which violates the First Amendment, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and civil procedure rules. Liberty Counsel and FRC have a fundamental First Amendment right to petition the government, to associate with like-minded individuals and organizations, and to engage in protected speech to advocate for their respective missions.
This subpoena in Karnoski v. Trump, requested by very aggressive LGBT activists, demands not only the information regarding the “transgender” policy for military service but wants all communications and documents regarding all public policies regarding “transgender” people, including medical treatment and anything referring to “transgender” people in general. This includes every document, conversation, note, thought and everything else concerning anything to do with “transgender” people on every topic and/or issue in government policy. That demand is clearly unrelated to the lawsuit that is challenging only the transgender military policy and is astoundingly broad. It also includes every single document, email, and communication between Liberty Counsel, FRC and the following: President Donald Trump, his office, Vice President Mike Pence, or his office, and any employee of the Department of Defense, which is the largest employer in the government and includes about 1.3 million active-duty soldiers.
This case is retaliation for military policy with which these individuals and groups disagree. LGBT activists are abusing subpoena power to deliberately harass pro-faith and pro-family groups like Liberty Counsel and FRC that are not in any way related to the lawsuit.
“This new subpoena is outrageous because it even requests ‘conversations’ on any topic related to LGBT issues,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The LGBT activists essentially want to be brought into any conversation pro-family groups have on the topic of LGBT issues. This is an abuse of the legal system, and the plaintiffs should be sanctioned for their harassment. There is no legal basis for such a breathtakingly broad subpoena. It directly challenges our Constitutional protections and is solely designed to harass and intimidate. We will not be bullied,” Staver said.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.