You may recall that unhinged anti-gay bigot Scott Lively was sued in the United States by a Ugandan gay rights group a few years ago, claiming that his advocacy of harsh anti-gay laws in that country led to much pain and suffering. The court dismissed that case and that was legally the correct decision, but the judge also hammered Lively for his disgusting views on the matter, so Lively appealed his own win in court and asked an appeals court to strip that criticism from the ruling. The appeals court rejected that argument,but his attorneys from Liberty Counsel are lying and pretending that he won.
“Court vindicates American pastor,” says their headline. It had asked the court to strike statements from the district court ruling, including that the judge had referred to Lively’s “crackpot bigotry” and to his “ludicrously extreme animus against LGBTI people.” The appeals court refused to do so. But Liberty Counsel put out a press release declaring victory anyway.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vindicated the name of Pastor Scott Lively, in an appeal Liberty Counsel filed in June 2017. Lively filed the appeal after winning summary judgment against the foreign LGBT activists, Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), which had sued Lively in 2012 for sharing his biblical views on homosexuality during three visits to Uganda in 2002 and 2009.
Although Lively’s summary judgment win put an end to SMUG’s attempt to silence him, he filed the appeal to strike the outrageous statements and unnecessary, unsupportable findings made against Lively by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor in the order delivering the win. The court of appeals’ opinion neutralizes the gratuitous language, making it clear that Judge Ponsor’s statements have no legal effect…
With SMUG promising to use Judge Ponsor’s order against Lively in other courts, Lively appealed his win, but only to have stricken Judge Ponsor’s improper and prejudicial statements. The court of appeals made it clear that Judge Ponsor’s statements “lack any binding or preclusive effect,” and “should not be accorded any binding effect in future litigation…”
This appeal reminds us that federal courts of appeals have no roving writ to review either a district court’s word choices or its run-of-the-mill interlocutory orders. Given these limitations, we are left with two questions, the first of which can be resolved through principles of judicial estoppel and the second of which can be resolved through a recognition of the district court’s broad discretion with respect to supplemental jurisdiction. When all is said and done, we dismiss some portions of this appeal for want of appellate jurisdiction and otherwise affirm the district court’s dismissal of the underlying action.
They lost the appeal but they’re claiming to have won. The language they wanted removed from the original ruling remains in the ruling. But that’s what happens when your attorney is Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman.