Friday, October 21, 2016

Looking for Eagle Forum?

Phyllis Schlafly spent her whole life organizing Republicans and communicating conservative political views. She created the web site in 1996 to help further those goals, in conjunction with many other efforts. It contains gigabytes of her works.

Now a court order has thrown the site into doubt. A group of six disgruntled eagles have filed a lawsuit, and Illinois judge John B. Barberis has sided with them.

Their main political argument is that they oppose Donald Trump, and their main legal argument is that Phyllis Schlafly's death has left a power vacuum, so that they can take over one of her several Eagle organizations, called "Eagle Forum c4".

The worst part is that they wish to use Phyllis Schlafly's name, image, reputation, and legacy to support causes opposite to what she stood for. She spent the last six months of her life trying to stop them from carrying out their vendetta.

I hope to keep her works online and available, and I hope to separate them from the platform of her opponents.

I do not know too much about Judge Barberis, except that he is the lowest rated judge in Illinois. He is busy doing fundraisers for his campaign in a election next month to be a judge on a higher court.

His Oct. 20 order is very strange. It is an amendment to a Temporary Restraining Order that issued on April 29, 2016, and that expired 10 days later. It is against Eagle Forum c4 officers as defendants, but then suspends them from Eagle Forum c4, so that they have no ability to carry out the order.

The lawsuit is against Eagle Forum c4 but orders me personally to assist in transferring "Eagle Forum [c4] Property". This is in spite of the fact that I am not a party to the case, and the court papers say that I am "not associated or affiliated with Eagle Forum [c4] in any way."

The judge ordered that all pro-Trump articles posted on since April 10, 2016 be removed. He also said the parties are enjoined from advocating any position with respect to the litigation.

I have never heard of any political advocacy organization being ordered not to express opinions on a web site. Not in the USA, anyway. I thought that the First Amendment prohibited that sort of thing.

The order has language like "All authority to communicate with any third party regarding ... is hereby revoked." Since when does anyone need permission to communicate with a third party?

Complying with this order will not be easy. I am not sure exactly what was on the site on April 10. If I remove the pro-Trump articles, I will create dead links. If I explain the dead links, I might be accused of advocating something. I am reluctant to even post the court order, as that might be construed as advocating about litigation.

I am not sure that the Eagle Forum c4 even has any property on the web site. Most of the site involves political works and activities of Phyllis Schlafly, and these have nothing to do with the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. I have tried to understand the their demands, but they have never even expressed any interest in the web site, as far as I know.

Rolling back Phyllis Schlafly's web site to purge her pro-Trump views is a dishonest and treacherous thing to do, and I refuse to do it, unless forced by the court.

So I am shutting down the web site for now. I am very sorry about this, and hope to have it back up when the legal issues are settled.

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