Bill Barr's Dept. of Justice is spreading its tentacles far and wide. While it has every legal right to do so, most might not expect the federal government to weigh in on a case filed in a state court, even a state superior court. And yet, it has.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division have filed a "Statement of Interest" telling the Indiana Superior Court it should rule against a teacher who is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis for firing him because he is gay and married to a man.
"The Archdiocese determined that, consistent with its interpretation of Church teachings, a school within its diocesan boundaries cannot identify as Catholic and simultaneously employ a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage," the DOJ's statement reads. "Many may lament the Archdiocese’s determination. But the First Amendment forbids this Court from interfering with the Archdiocese’s right to expressive association, and from second-guessing the Archdiocese’s interpretation and application of Catholic law. For these reasons, this action must be dismissed."
The question many should have is why this case? And why did the DOJ feel the need to weigh in at all?
It seems the DOJ may be laying groundwork.
Attorney Mark Joseph Stern, who writes at Slate, offered this disturbing analysis:
The DOJ argues that the high school's First Amendment right to "expressive association" allows it to fire a gay tea… https://t.co/SKOHbl0q7k— Mark Joseph Stern (@Mark Joseph Stern)1569609495.0
Duhaime's Law Dictionary defines "expressive association" as a "group that engages in some form of public or private expression," and pulls this quote from a legal case:
"The courts have long understood as implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends."
The DOJ's "Statement of Interest" uses the term "expressive association" twelve times.
Imagine where they might be going.
Forewarned is fair-warned.