The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a subpoena to Alabama-based conservative non-profit Eagle Forum for exercising its constitutionally protected free speech rights in a case involving transgender treatments for children.
Eagle Forum had lobbied the Alabama legislature to pass a law that blocks children from treatments that alter their gender. Earlier this year, the legislature passed the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, which bans hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and surgeries aimed at changing the biological sex of a minor. Left-wing organizations sued the state and the DOJ intervened in the lawsuit claiming that the new law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The DOJ then issued a subpoena to Eagle Forum, which is not even a party in the lawsuit. The subpoena is asking for five years of records of Eagle Forum on anything having to do with the issue of gender dysphoria.
Ullman points out that the issue of puberty blockers “is not really key” to the case. The issue at heart is that the DOJ is attempting to “harass” a nonprofit group into silence because the federal government “does not like their stance” on a specific issue.
Pressuring NonprofitsEagle Forum has filed a motion to quash the DOJ subpoena. According to Ullman, a hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 14 when a judge will decide whether or not to throw out the subpoena.
If the judge decides that the subpoena is valid, Eagle Forum will either have to hand over five years of documents or face contempt of court.
Ullman points out the chilling effect this has already had on other nonprofit groups that now fear getting involved in contentious issues due to the risk of being subpoenaed. And if all necessary documents are not turned over, the government can “hit you with criminal contempt.”
“We're urging everyone and we have over 60 groups that have spoken out in favor of our petition to quash the subpoena. Please speak up and say the DOJ does not have this right to harass nonprofit groups in this manner.”
“It's important, I think, for the Department of Justice to realize, and the entire federal government—their power and authority is derived from the consent of the governed. And if they continue to act in the way that they are, I think you're going to see a whole lot less consent,” he said.