In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the following warning:

For the views a citizen entertains, the beliefs he harbors, the utterances he makes, the ideology he embraces and the people he associates with are no concern of government.  That article of faith marks indeed the main difference between the Free Society which we espouse and the dictatorship . . . on the Left.

Gibson v. Florida Legislative Committee, 372 U.S. 539 (1963).

Unfortunately, the “dictatorship on the Left” has arrived in Michigan.  But we are doing something about itAnd we need your help!

We recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Dana Nessel, the Attorney General of Michigan, and Agustin V. Arbulu, the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, challenging their recently announced policy directive to unlawfully target groups designated by the radical, leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “hate” groups.

For years now, the George Soros funded SPLC has engaged in a well-financed propaganda campaign to smear conservative, Judeo-Christian organizations as “hate” groups in order to marginalize their message in an effort to ultimately ban their ideas from public discourse.  The pernicious purpose and effect are clear.

Because of the important work we are doing, and the successes we are having, the American Freedom Law Center is on the top of SPLC’s bogus list of “hate” groups operating in Michigan.

The goal of this effort, which is now joined by the Office of the Michigan Attorney General, is to destroy our public reputation in order to drive away potential donors and clients.  In short, they want to destroy us.

Make no mistake.  SPLC is well-funded, with reportedly over $500 million (that’s half a billion dollars) in assets!  The Left always seems willing to support their anti-American causes.  Conservatives need to be just as—if not more—committed than the Left if we hope to keep the values we hold dear!

Pursuant to the challenged policy, the Attorney General’s “hate crimes unit” will conduct surveillance and utilize government resources to covertly gather and share information in order to deter the activities of groups deemed to be “hate groups” by SPLC.

Indeed, Director Arbulu admits that through this policy directive the government will be targeting law-abiding citizens engaging in lawful speech activity.  The Detroit News reported the following:

Arbulu pointed to a recent incident in Lansing over President’s Day weekend, in which fliers saying “Keep America American” encouraged people to “report any and all illegal aliens.”  The fliers included a phone number for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the website for Patriot Front, a group the SPLC has labeled a white nationalist group.

In a statement, Arbulu said he was disappointed by the fliers, “but know this, we are watching and we won’t allow hate to divide us.”

Thus, according to these Left-Wing tyrants in Michigan, encouraging people to assist ICE by reporting illegal aliens brands you a “hate group” engaging in “hate” speech, thereby subjecting you to being “watch[ed]” by the government!  This is nothing short of government intimidation designed to silence the right to free speech!

Pursuant to this policy directive, Nessel and Arbulu are going to create and maintain a state-wide, government database of “hate groups,” which will permit government officials to spy on and document groups engaging in constitutionally protected activity.

This is appalling, it is dangerous, and it must be stopped!

Nessel and Arbulu publicly announced their new policy on February 22, 2019, and within a week, we filed our civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, challenging this unlawful abuse of government power.

Our lawsuit alleges that the challenged policy directive violates our fundamental rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by unlawfully targeting us for disparate treatment based on our political views and the political views of those we represent in court.

The newly-announced policy directive should be dubbed the “Crimespeak Policy”’ because it takes a page right out of George Orwell’s famous book, 1984, where the goal of “Thinkpol,” the Thought Police, was to eradicate “crimespeak.”

In 1984, to even consider any thought not in line with the principles of those in power was “crimespeak,” subjecting the perpetrator to punishment.

Not surprisingly, this is what you get when you elect Left-Wing progressives, such as Nessel, to public office.

As stated in our lawsuit:

“It is one thing for a radically-partisan private organization like SPLC to express its falsehoods about political opponents.  However, when the Michigan Attorney General and the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights join and officially endorse this partisan attack by lending government resources and thus becoming the government enforcement agency for SPLC’s radical agenda, the protections of the United States Constitution are triggered.”

The lawsuit further states:

“None of SPLC’s reports, specifically including the reports relied upon by Defendants, cite to one example where AFLC has engaged in any criminal activity.  Plaintiff is not a criminal organization—it is a lawful, conservative, public interest law firm that defends conservative Christians and Jews.  SPLC and Defendants object to Plaintiff exercising its First Amendment rights because SPLC and Defendants disagree with Plaintiff’s political viewpoints and the political viewpoints of those it defends in court.”

Because these leftists seek to destroy our public reputation, we want to ensure you, our loyal supporters, that their “hate group” accusation is falseThey lie for political gain.

As stated in the Complaint:

“AFLC filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of several national security experts in support of President Trump’s so-called ‘travel ban,’ which the high court upheld as a constitutional exercise of executive power.  This is one example cited by SPLC for why it includes Plaintiff on its ‘hate’ group list.  Indeed, this example is listed by SPLC as one of the ‘Key Moments’ of ‘hate’ in 2018.”

Make no mistake, SPLC is a fraudulent purveyor of hate claiming to be a non-profit organization.  What legitimate non-profit hoards hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and hides millions of dollars in secret, off-shore bank accounts?  Non-profits are tax-exempt.  There is no legitimate reason for SPLC to ship money to hidden overseas accounts.

Yet, the Michigan Attorney General has partnered with this nefarious organization, and our lawsuit will expose this for the world to see.  Indeed, if any group should be investigated, it should be SPLC!

As expected, Nessel recently filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss our case.

In her motion, Nessel doubled-down, acknowledging that she is in fact relying on SPLC’s designations, which she deems “credible.”  Yet, she insists that the judge should dismiss our federal civil rights lawsuit because there is “nothing to see here. . .”

On May 14, 2019, we filed a full-throated response to Nessel’s motion to dismiss (a motion which was joined by Arbulu, who is also a named defendant).

In our response, we argue that Nessel’s motion confirms that she is weaponizing the Office of the Michigan Attorney General to publicly promote, and thus give the government’s imprimatur to and endorsement of, a false political narrative advanced by SPLC—a narrative that is intended to, and in fact has, harmed our operations.  Nessel’s objective is patent, and it is unlawful.

We further argue that as soon as this lawsuit was filed, Nessel confirmed our concerns, her unlawful intentions, and her political bias, stating on her public Facebook page in response to the filing of our lawsuit:

Only in Trump’s America do you get sued for pledging to prosecute hate crimes and pursue organizations that engage in illegal conduct against minority communities.  I will never back down on my commitment to protect the safety of all Michiganders.  Bring it.”

This is not the statement of an objective, clear-minded government official who is a top law enforcement officer disavowing an intention to abuse government power and misuse government resources to unlawfully target the American Freedom Law Center and others.  The opposite is true, requiring a court of law to stop her unlawful abuse of power.

Indeed, our response to the motion sets forth the factual and legal basis for our claims against Nessel and Arbulu.  We fully expect the court to deny their motion to dismiss.

Should the district court disagree with us, we will seek immediate review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  This case is too important.  We cannot permit the dictatorship on the Left to suppress our fundamental liberties!

Please know that as a nonprofit, public interest law firm, all of our legal work is provided pro bono (for the good).  Because we do not charge legal fees, we must rely upon tax-deductible donations from our generous supporters like you.

 We need your support because we couldn’t do what we do without it!

Will you help us defend liberty against Left-Wing tyrants?  Make no mistake, everyone’s freedom is in jeopardy!  Our cause is just!

May God bless you, and may He continue to bless America!