The lawyer for the Satanic Temple in Salem provided a "status report" on the group's lawsuit against the City Council over its religious invocations to the judge in the case yesterday. It's pretty easy reading and explains the group's First Amendment claim about how the council starts its meetings and why he wants Michelle Wu to sit for questioning, so have at it at the link below, but some highlights:
Satanic attorney Matt Kezhaya is now promising a "Boston II" suit over City Hall flagpoles.
The Satanic Temple has been trying to get permission to run its flag up one of the flagpoles outside City Hall ever since, under a Supreme Court ruling, the city announced it would let ex-Bircher and former West Roxbury resident Hal Shurtleff fly what he considers a "Christian" flag for a couple of hours last month - and then declared it would no longer let anybody's flag fly there without a City Council vote. With no such permission forthcoming for Baphomettians, Kezhaya assures the judge in the group's invocation suit, a second suit will be coming unless the city relents and pronto, because what's good for the Christian goose is good for the Satanic gander under the First Amendment and the Supreme Court ruling in the Shurtleff case.
The Christians got to have their flag displayed on public property, Shurtleff, so both I and TST have entered demands upon Boston for equal treatment under the law. To date, nobody has acquiesced to the demand. We will be in touch through the appropriate channels. As to Boston, all of its current and former counsel of record, and all who have acted in concert with them to exclude TST from the public sphere: YOU ARE NOTIFIED to preserve all evidence, both as to the Free Speech retaliation claim and as to Boston's public flag pole.
Free Speech retaliation claim? First, recall that Kezhaya last week e-mailed the city lawyer on the case, Nicole O'Connor to, among other things, ask:
Speaking as a reasonable third-party observer, it feels an awful lot like public funds are being abused to insure to Wu's private benefit. Something smells fishy. Please tell me, lawyer-to-lawyer, if there is any form of official corruption going on between the City of Boston and USDJ Kelley, D. Mass.
Please also be honest, because when my curiosity is piqued I tend to start demanding evidence.
Yesterday, he told that judge, Angel Kelley, that, no, hell forfend, he was not accusing her of being corrupt; it's just unfortunate O'Connor wouldn't recognize sarcasm if it bit her in the nose, why he certainly didn't file the "affidavit of bias" that is required for a formal accusation of bias against a judge:
But regardless whether O'Connor suffers from "simple incompetence" or a "pernicious desire" to misstate things, she mischaracterizes my sarcasm-laden communications as an accusation of public corruption between Boston and the Court. I expected O'Connor to take note of the absence of an affidavit of bias. See 28 USC § 144.
But then he brings up corruption again:
There will be an investigation into public corruption, but that pertains to the forthcoming Free Speech retaliation claims and the Free Speech / Free Exercise claims pertaining to Boston's decision to hoist Christianity's flag while refusing to treat TST the same.
But in the meantime, O'Connor's request to Kelley to levy sanctions on him for trying to make Michelle Wu site for a deposition even after the judge said nope, is an attempt to squelch the group's freedom of speech, he tells Kelley.
Oh, and, he adds he will make Wu come up to Salem to answer all his questions, even under threat of arrest if that's what it takes; if not next week, then Sept. 20 or maybe next month. Why Salem? The Satanic Temple is based there and Kezhaya really wants to make her think about what she did when she was a councilor refusing to bring in a Satanist to offer an invocation:
She needs to see the people who she is excluding from the public sphere. She needs to hear the congregants’ blessing ceremony. She must then answer why she refused to invite them, for favor of inviting someone else.
Kezhaya adds that the group is planning its national SatanCon convention in Boston next April and that there will be hell to pay, in the form of a "Boston III" suit, should the city try to interfere with it or the Satanic Temple's First Amendment rights related to it.