Bob Murray To Court: The ACLU Is Too Biased To File Its 'Eat Shit, Bob' Brief

from the eat-shit-bob dept

As you likely recall, last week the ACLU of West Virginia asked the federal court handling the very upset coal boss Bob Murray's defamation lawsuit against comedian John Oliver to allow it to file a hilarious amicus brief explaining (among other things) why it was perfectly legal to say "Eat shit, Bob." As we noted at the time, it is a very funny filing, but we weren't sure the court would allow it for a whole variety of reasons. And thus it's no surprise that Murray's lawyers are opposing the motion -- but we didn't expect that their opposition would be quite so ridiculous. There are lots of normal arguments they could make, including no need for an amicus brief at this point, or pointing out that the amicus arguments are likely to be simply duplicative of HBO/John Oliver's arguments, but... Murray's lawyers went a bit further. Apparently, they don't want the ACLU weighing in, because it has an opinion.

More troubling, the ACLU fails to disclose its indisputable and disqualifying bias, notwithstanding that several district courts have noted that impartiality is a key factor to consider when evaluating whether to permit a non-party to serve as amicus curiae.

But, uh, most amicus briefs have a bias that supports one side or the other. They just add to the overall record, often providing different perspectives on the issues, or offering an alternative way of looking at the issues. Nothing says that amicus briefs need to be totally neutral.

It's no surprise that Murray's lawyers attack the "tone" of the ACLU's brief. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if the tone alone makes the judge reject it. But, even here, Murray's lawyers' reasoning is... weird. They argue that the tone shows that the ACLU of West Virginia can't be an amicus.

From the tone of its brief alone, it is obvious that the ACLU is not a "friend of the court" offering a dispassionate view of the issues.

And then they claim that the ACLU is only supporting John Oliver because he once, many months ago, urged people to donate to various organizations, some of which may have helped the ACLU:

Moreover, the ACLU's economic motivations for assisting Defendants and its prejudice against Plaintiffs are a matter of public record. As for its economic interests, in November of 2016, Defendant Oliver used "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" to encourage viewers to donate to numerous left-leaning organizations, which—not surprisingly—resulted in an immediate surge of millions of dollars in donations to the ACLU, among others. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B hereto. Another subsidiary of Defendant Time Warner furthered the effort to add to the ACLU's coffers by reporting on Oliver's call for donations the next day. See Exhibit C hereto. Consequently, the ACLU's statement in the Motion that "no party, party's counsel, or other person…contributed money intended to fund preparing or submitting the brief" lacks appropriate and complete disclosure.

Oh come on. The idea that the ACLU is weighing in because John Oliver and other Time Warner properties once encouraged donation is ludicrous.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the court will simply reject the amicus brief as being unnecessary and unwanted at this stage, but the arguments from Murray's lawyers continue to make me wonder where he found these guys.

Filed Under: amicus brief, bob murray, defamation, free speech, john oliver
Companies: aclu, aclu of west virginia

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 9:39am


    Reality has a liberal bias, or so I've heard.

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