Twelve Retired Generals Seek to Disbar Lawyers Members of the Westboro Baptist “Church”
The generals’ goal is to obtain 1,000,000 signatures in support. To sign the petition, click: www.gopetition.com/petition/43822.html
Ann Arbor, Michigan – March 22, 2011 – Twelve retired U.S. Air Force Generals sent an addendum to their original grievance filed against thirteen lawyer members of the Westboro Baptist “Church” (WBC) dated 2/4/11. They are seeking appropriate discipline for a decades-long pattern of uncivil and unprofessional conduct which they allege violates numerous Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.
The authority to decide whether lawyers violate the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct lies with the Kansas Board of Attorney Discipline and the Kansas Supreme Court. Kansas Rule 202 clearly states: “Acts or omissions by an attorney, individually or in concert with any other person or persons, which violate the attorney’s oath of office or the disciplinary rules of the Supreme Court shall constitute misconduct and shall be grounds for discipline, whether or not the acts or omissions occurred in the course of an attorney-client relationship.”
In addition to the allegations of professional misconduct contained in the approximately 900 page grievance dated 2/4/11, the addendum adds additional evidence of misconduct and collusion on the part of the lawyer members of the WBC including the following:
Margie Phelps (lawyer for the WBC speaking for all WBC members) accused a Federal Judge of impropriety in issuing a ruling based upon personal animosity, which challenges his integrity, and asserted that Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Justice Samuel Alito (in his Snyder v. Phelps dissent) “did not feel compelled to follow his oath.” Similar remarks led to her father Fred Phelps’ disbarment in 1989 because the Kansas Supreme Court found that he violated the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.
Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion specifically cites legal precedent to show that the WBC, which had been sued by Al Snyder for picketing the funeral of his heroic Marine son, “did not dispute that Mr. Snyder suffered ‘wounds that are truly severe and incapable of healing themselves.’” Nor did they dispute that their speech was “‘so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.’” The fact that the WBC did not dispute this constitutes an admission by the WBC.
As licensed lawyers, based upon the March 2, 2011 SCOTUS decision in Snyder v. Phelps, the WBC lawyers were put on notice and now should be well aware that their protesting activities and messages are a violation of their obligation to abstain from political activity as condition to remain a 501C3 tax exempt organization. The WBC’s consistent pattern of ignoring this explicit requirement to retain their tax-exempt status is well documented in the 2/4/11 materials and constitutes tax fraud.
The WBC lawyer members’ conduct toward hundreds of strangers, military families and other people during their funeral protests amounts to a pattern of self-righteous bullying which violates Kansas Rule 8.4. Experts on bullying say such conduct stops only when someone of authority addresses the behavior. When authority ignores bullying as it has relating to the WBC lawyers conduct, it gets worse, as is the case here.
The WBC lawyers, in the name of their personal self-righteousness, have for years abused the rights and privileges bestowed on them as licensed lawyers by disparaging judges and harassing and bullying strangers and innocent people in an indecent and inhumane manner The retired Generals assert that this is not a model or standard of conduct to which any licensed lawyer should aspire to or engage.
Larry L. Twitchell, Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.)
Telephone (734) 239-0063
Article submitted by: Larry T.