Don't be deterred by the legalese quoted in this article. I promise that reading the orders of the Court will be fully worth the reader's while in entertainment value. The Court's discussion appears in italics.
I. On August 9, Patrick and Miller filed motions for leave t0 appear as Amici Curiae in the sonogram case. Federal District Judge Sam Sparks responded thusly, denying the motion:
Both parties (Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion Services) and David Lakey, M.D.) "are well represented by competent and diligent counsel, and neither they nor this Court needs assistance from Senator Patrick or Representative Miller--particularly when much of their "assistance" is nothing more than thinly-veiled rhetoric. This is a federal lawsuit about the constitutionality of a statute, not a soapbox for politicians or a sounding board for public opinion. The Court is confident counsel in this case can protect their clients' interest all by themselves.
II. Just three days later [August 12], Patrick and Miller filed the exact same Motion for Leave to File an Amicus Brief. The Court wrote:
On August 9, 2011, the Court denied a similar motion filed by Senator Patrick and Representative Miller. The Court denies this one for the same reason, namely, counsel for the parties in this case are more than capable of advocating for their clients' positions without outside input. This is especially true where, as here, that input comes in the form of, among other things, commentary by legislators on "the clear legislative intent of H.B. 15's severability clause."
If the severability clause as clear as the Representative indicate, their interpretive assistance will not be required. And if it is not, it would be unhelpful, if not improper, for the Court to look to statements made by a subset of the Legislature, in a document prepared for the purpose of litigation, to determine legislative intent.
As stated in its August 9, 2011, Order, the Court will not allow this lawsuit to be used as a vehicle for advancing a political agenda, or as a platform for rhetorical grandstanding. Although the outcome of this case will likely have repercussions outside these proceedings, the resolution of this case will depend solely upon the legal issues presented. The Court's time is better spent considering the arguments of the parties than addressing the opportunistic petitions of outsiders.
III. Not to be deterred, Patrick and Miller tried yet again. On August 22, the Court wrote:
BE IT REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the above-styled cause, and specifically the latest in an unfortunately long line of motions for leave to file an amicus brief. Having reviewed the document, the relevant law, and the file as a whole, the Court now enters the following opinion and order DENYING the motions:
The Court has already turned down two extremely tempting offers to transform this case from a boring old federal lawsuit into an exciting, politically charged media circus. As any competent attorney could have predicted, the Court declines the latest invitation as well.
However, the Court is forced to conclude that Allen E. Parker, Jr., the attorney whose signature appears on this motion, is anything but competent. A competent attorney would not have filed this motion in the first place; if he did, he certainly would not have attached exhibits that are both highly prejudicial and legally irrelevant; and if he foolishly did both things, he surely would not be so prejudicial as to file such exhibits unsealed. A competent attorney who did these things would be deliberately disrespecting this Court and knowingly shirking his professional responsibilities, offenses for which he would be lucky to retain his bar card, much less an intact bank balance.
For Mr. Parker's sake, and because the Court has not time to hold a sanctions hearing--in part because it must take time out of deciding the actual legal issues in this case to address the self-serving entreaties of attention-seekers like Mr. Parker--the Court assumes Mr. Parker is as incompetent as he appears. Rather than sanction him, the Court simply does what Mr. Parker would have done if he was a competent professional, and seals attachment 7 to his motion.
IT IS ORDERED that Parker's motion for leave to File an Amicus Brief is DENIED.
[Allen E. Parker is an attorney with the Justice Foundation, based in San Antonio]
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After I posted this article, I received an email from Senator Patrick, which I will publish below, in accordance with his request:
Your blog post about the sonogram litigation is incorrect and mean-spirited. The sonogram bill has been a legislative priority of mine since 2007. I have carefully crafted and negotiated this bill throughout my five year tenure. That is why I agreed, with Rep. Miller, to have the Liberty Institute file an amicus brief regarding the intent and constitutionality of our bill.
I did not, however, have anything to do with the motions filed on August 12 or August 22, as you state in your post. Your facts are just flat WRONG. Your bias toward me, which is on full display in your article, apparently stopped you from doing any research or fact checking before posting your article? The motions you reference were filed by others. I had nothing to do with them. One phone call would have answered any questions you had regarding this issue. You obviously never bothered to make that call.
I would appreciate it if you would release a correction with equal exposure to today's posting. I do not apologize for wanting women to have all the facts before receiving an abortion. My philosophy may not win you or your readers to my side, but the facts should not be distorted in order for you to launch an attack on me or anyone else.
Senator Dan Patrick
I'm not sure what Senator Patrick wants me to correct. He appears to be concerned that I said that he filed various motions, when in fact they were filed by others. I based my reporting of this item on the language used by the Court. The Court states, "On August 9, Patrick and Miller filed motions for leave t0 appear as Amici Curiae in the sonogram case." Additional motions were filed on August 12 and August 22. About the August 12 filing, the Court says, "The Court denies this one for the same reason, namely, counsel for the parties in this case are more than capable of advocating for their clients' positions without outside input." Concerning the August 9 motions, the Court says that the motions were filed by Patrick and Miller. Concerning the August 12 filing, the Court does not say who filed the motions, though Senator Patrick, in his letter, says that he and Rep. Miller had the Liberty Institute file an amicus brief (but makes no mention of the date). He does say that the motions filed on August 12 and August 22 were filed by "others." If I have made a grievous error or omission, I apologize to Senator Patrick, but, frankly, I don't know what it was. I do not think that I have demeaned him in any way or questioned his commitment to his principles. I published his letter word for word, as he requested. It is the Court that has criticized his behavior, not I. My quotes of the Court were taken directly from the orders of August 9, 12, and 22nd, which I obtained from the clerk of the Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas.
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8/26/12:15 a.m. I have learned from a source familiar with the case that Joe Nixon and Trey Traynor may have filed motions on behalf of Senator Patrick and Representative Miller. Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute may have filed motions as well. My information came from a telephone conversation and was to have been repeated in an email. I have not received it. If Senator Patrick's concern is that I attributed actions to him that were actually performed by others acting on his behalf, I apologize for this, but it seems like "harmless error." If the email comes through and provides more facts, I will publish the information.
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