I’m not a Lawyer…
And so my “uh-oh” may spring from deep wells of ignorance here. But when Law’s attorney invokes the First Amendment thusly:
“Well, first of all, let me take the first issue, the First Amendment. I suggest that we agree that I can have a continuing objection as to the First Amendment. I have raised the First Amendment as a defense and feel the inquiry into the internal workings of the Church is inappropriate.”
I find myself going, “Uh-oh”.
The reason I go “Uh-oh” is that it looks to me like Law’s attorney is trying to claim the First Amendment as a blanket claim of immunity for all ecclesiats and their doings, no matter what. Granting that this is the way the Archdiocese has done business hitherto, it seems to me that a) if they think they can go on doing it that way they are living in the Twilight Zone and b) if they think they should go on doing things that way, they are mad as hatters. But more than this, it seems to me to be an insane and irresponsible course of action if I’m reading the attorney aright. If he’s seriously trying to argue that the state has no right to question the internal workings of the Church even when those workings are criminal simply because of the First Amendment, he is begging–BEGGING–for Caesar to interfere, not only in the illegitimate activities of ecclesiats, but in their legitimate activities as well (see Seal of Confessional, State Threats to Violate). If Law pushes in the “You Can’t Touch Me Cuz of the First Amendment” direction, Caesar can and will push back much harder in the direction of “I Sure as Hell Can. From Now on Report the Contents of All Confessions You Hear To Me, Little Man or I Send You and Your Uncooperative Clergy to Jail”. If you’re a lawyer, please tell me I’m parsing the Church’s argument wrong. I’d like some good news for a change. Tell me Law’s lawyer is not a fool. Please.