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Our Wizard Behind The Equality Curtain

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Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 7 months, you undoubtedly have seen the lawsuits and court cases to advance equality that have sprung up throughout the United States. One by one, states are coming in on the right side of history and accepting all families, allowing them to join their love together in legally recognized marriage.

What you may not have seen, or what tends to get overlooked, is the magic that happens behind the equality curtain and the names of those who are working to make these cases successful. From drafting complaints to the never ending responses and appeals, there are many long hours that are given to advance equality in the courts. There is a whole list of people shepherding these cases down the road to equality. Lawyers who work without pay, keeping long hours, away from family, giving up their personal time, pushed to the limit. One such lawyer is Scott J. Spivey. (Photo above)

Scott is a local New Orleans lawyer who was born in Orlando. Scott moved to Alexandria in 1976, and graduate from Alexandria Senior High where he was a nationally ranked swimmer. He was offered scholarships by both Tulane and Dartmouth and appointments to all of the service academies except West Point, (They said that he was not physically fit because he couldn’t do the long jump.) He accepted the appointment to the US Coast Guard Academy in 1985, and graduated in 1990. He was commissioned as an ensign  in the Coast Guard and served on board the USCG Cutter BEAR WMEC 901.

In June 1992, Scott transferred to Coast Guard Command District 8, here in New Orleans.  In August of the next year, he began law school at Loyola Law School in the evening program, while serving as detachable law enforcement duty officer and on-call law enforcement duty officer with Operations . In January 1996, he resigned his commission and began clerking with local law firms and practicing criminal law as a law student under the now Judge Darryl Derbigny.  He graduated December 1996 and was licensed in 1997.

Scott practices multiple areas of law, including general civil practice with concentrations in business, commercial and real property transactions and litigation, contract preparation, business formation and dissolutions; federal and state workers’ compensation; property tax and business personal property tax appeals and sales; family business planning and litigation, wills and successions; immigration and customs enforcement defense; and traffic and criminal defense.

In July 2012, when my husband and I were contemplating the idea of suing the state of Louisiana to have our legal marriage recognized by the state, we didn’t know at the time that Scott would take on this fight singlehandedly. After putting out feelers to several lawyers, we got a response back. It was from our friend Scott, informing us that not only would he gladly take on our case, but much to our surprise, take it on PRO BONO.

There is much to be said about Scott, and still it would not be enough. Whether you needed a will, someone to represent you in court, or any other area that he can help in, Scott has always helped the LGBT community.

As Scott told us:

“I resigned my commission and became a lawyer because I wanted to advocate for those in need.  I wanted to provide the last line of defense to an individual’s rights and freedoms.  That can only be found in a court of law or with zealous legal advocacy.”

So it came as no surprise that he would risk his neck and reputation for our cause. (At the time, we were getting a lot of pushback from different organizations and public opinion, saying that it wasn’t the right time here in Louisiana to attempt this.)

Just this week, our original complaint and motion to amend was denied, forcing us to re-file a new case, naming as defendants those the judge considers are the “proper parties”. When this happened, two days earlier than expected, Scott did not waiver in his dedication, nor did he flinch at the court’s decision. He woke up the next morning and filed the appeal for the original motion to amend, then immediately filed a new complaint with the “correct” defendants, adding more work to his already full plate.

We, as Scott’s friends and plaintiffs, are grateful for the work that he is doing. Not just anyone would take on this colossal work load without anything in return. The payoff he sees in the distance goes far beyond money. It is the betterment of the LGBT community that he considers as his reward, someday being able to marry his partner legally.

Most of the praise that gets dished out by the media in these cases, talks about the brave and heroic plaintiffs who expose themselves to the world. But in my opinion, the praise should also fall upon the lawyers and their families, who endure just as much exposure.

I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of what Scott is doing for us. He has reached out to several more organizations, and we are proud to say, is on the cusp of joining us with resources for our case. With the trend that is being set in red states like Utah and Oklahoma, Louisiana doesn’t seem like that far of a stretch for marriage equality any longer and people are taking notice. Finally we are starting to see support from some of the bigger guns in our nationwide community.

Our cases have a long way to go, and we know that Scott will work hard all the way to what we hope will be a victory for all families here in Louisiana. We knew when we started the journey, that it would not be a smoothly paved nor a short path; we will see it to the end

If you would like to follow our cases you can like us on Facebook and visit our website.

We appreciate your support and vow to continue our fight no matter where or how long it takes us!

 

Photo via Facebook

Catch up on Derek’s previous posts on his lawsuit against the State of Louisiana:

The Benefits Of Marriage
Robicheaux vs. Caldwell – Why We Are Suing To Be Married In Louisiana
A Blanchard Family Christmas

 

derek penton Derek Penton, 35, is a native of Mississippi and a longtime resident of New Orleans.  He holds degrees in computer information systems and paramedicine.  After more than five years together, Penton and his husband, Jonathan Robicheaux, were legally married in Iowa on Sept. 23, 2012.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’

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Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”

“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.

READ MORE: ‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid

Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.

Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”

Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”

And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”

READ MORE: ‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.

Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”

READ MORE: ‘Sitting President Asking for Civil War’: Parscale Blames Trump for Insurrection – Says His ‘Rhetoric Killed Someone’

“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.

Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:

“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”

“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”

“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”

Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”

 

 

 

 

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News

‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid

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Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.

Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.

But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.

READ MORE: ‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.

“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.

“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.

READ MORE: ‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.

We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”

Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.

Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.

“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.

“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.

Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”

“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”

“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”

Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”

“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.

Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’

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Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee for Pennsylvania who was at the US Capitol on January 6 and is seen as a central figure in the plot to overturn the election, complied with a subpoena to appear before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack but didn’t answer any questions.

“Trump ally Doug Mastriano’s virtual appearance Tuesday before the House January 6 committee only lasted about 15 minutes,” CNN reports, adding that “‘he didn’t answer a single question,’ according to a source familiar with the matter.”

New York Times reporter Luke Broadwater confirms, adding that Mastriano is “pledging to sue the committee,” although it is unclear on what grounds.

READ MORE: Mastriano’s Consultant Just Posted Video Declaring ‘We Have Multiple Candidates…Who Are Christian Nationalists’

Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist with strong ties to far right wing extremists including antisemitic Gab found Andrew Torba.

CNN adds that “Mastriano’s attorney cut off the virtual appearance soon after it began, the source said. His lawyer, Tim Parlatore, took issue with several procedural matters related to the deposition, and raised questions about the legality of the subpoena that Mastriano received from the panel, the source added.”

As of May the Committee had already interviewed over 1000 people and it appears few, if any, have made these claims.

The New Yorker in May called Mastriano “a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th.”

“He urged his followers to attend the rally at the Capitol that led to the riots, saying, ‘I’m really praying that God will pour His Spirit upon Washington, D.C., like we’ve never seen before.’ Throughout this time, he has cast the fight against both lockdowns and Trump’s electoral loss as a religious battle against the forces of evil. He has come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the insurrection.”

The founders repeatedly made clear the U.S. is not nor was created as a Christian nation.

 

 

 

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