It’s been a couple weeks since Glib Fortuna said something really stupid (or at least since I’d noticed it), which may be a record for him. But he’s back with another utterly clueless post about HR 2679. He’s accusing the ACLU of being disingenuous for arguing that this bill deprives “citizens” of the ability to recover legal fees in successful establishment clause cases.
To whom do attorneys fees go? Attorneys fees go to attorneys, not “citizens.” The ACLU’s disingenuousness oozes through this entire release. The fact is, this bill would cut them off from millions of dollars. Their lament about citizens being “required to pay their own legal fees” is phony to the nth degree.
I think Glib is projecting again. The fact is that almost all civil rights cases are handled by public interest law firms, including lots of firms that are on his side. Without those firms, the citizen plaintiffs would have to foot the entire bill themselves and that is precisely what the current law is designed to avoid. When the ADF or Liberty Counsel handles a case for a plaintiff and they win, the attorney’s fees go to them and not the plaintiff. Why doesn’t Glib complain about those cases? Because he agrees with the outcome, of course.
Then there’s this astonishingly stupid statement:
Under the law which would be amended by PERA should it pass the Senate, the ACLU may file suit after suit and even if it loses, the prevailing defendant may not recover attorneys fees or costs associated with the suit. So the ACLU could never lose and the resource-poor town or school stalked by the ACLU and its giant endowment could never win. How is this a level playing field?
If anything, the playing field is tilted the other way. The ACLU’s suits are almost always against the government. And in most cases, it’s not an ACLU attorney that handles the case but a law firm that handles it and runs the risk of losing all the money. The ACLU just last year managed to have enough funds to have a single staff attorney in all 53 chapters, which is why they rely on private law firms doing pro bono work for so much of the legal work. And remember, they can only get reimbursed if they win the case. Like all the other anti-ACLU types, what really bothers Glib is that they keep winning the cases. They can’t beat the ACLU in court so they’re trying to reduce their ability to get to court in the first place. It’s the Tonya Harding strategy – if you can’t beat them, take out their kneecaps on the way to the ice.