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Justice Department Lawyer Smears Religious Liberty Advocate as ‘Hate Group’

Posted on Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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A senior Justice Department official referred to a highly regarded religious liberty organization as a “hate group” in a recent LinkedIn post. 

Eric P. Bruskin, assistant director of the commercial litigation branch in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, used the term to describe Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group founded in 1993.

The Justice Department’s social media policy discourages employee comments that could be “perceived as showing prejudice” toward characteristics such as religion.

Bruskin, previously a lawyer with the ACLU of Massachusetts, appeared to follow the lead of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing group that regularly calls Alliance Defending Freedom and other conservative organizations “hate groups.”

Bruskin used the term “hate group” in responding to a LinkedIn post by Jason Weida, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Massachusetts who now is a state health official in Florida. Weida’s message also praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who routinely is attacked by Democrats.

In his post, Weida wrote: “Honored to speak with [senior counsel] Matt Sharp at Alliance Defending Freedom about the work we’re doing in Florida to protect kids from experimental medical interventions and to defend parental rights, all thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis.” 

Bruskin referred to Alliance Defending Freedom in his reply to Weida, writing: “Jason, this is a hate group. You’re speaking at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, then it’s time we end our professional association.”

Bruskin’s title, workplace, and the preferred personal pronouns “He/Him” appear next to his name. 

The Daily Signal sought comment from the Justice Department on Bruskin’s public comment on social media. Justice Department public affairs specialist Danielle Blevins replied Thursday in an email: “I received your inquiry. We’re going to decline to comment.”

Bruskin left the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts to work for the Justice Department in 2009, Barack Obama’s first year as president. In July 2020, he moved into his current career position as assistant director of commercial litigation. 

The Justice Department includes a standard of conduct regarding personal use of social media as part of an employee manual.

This employee policy states that department employees are required at all times to adhere to certain government-wide standards of conduct that apply to online communications, regardless of whether at work, off duty, or using government equipment. The policy says: 

All department employees should be aware of the following requirements governing the use of social media, and department attorneys should consider obligations imposed by applicable rules of professional conduct: 

… Department employees should not make comments that can be perceived as showing prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected basis. To figure out what other protected classes means, the DOJ Civil Rights and Civil Liberties website states [that] federal law prohibits discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status.

In late August, the Justice Department applied restrictions to prevent even non-career, political appointees—in addition to career employees such as Bruskin—from attending partisan political events, Politico reported.

“As department employees, we have been entrusted with the authority and responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States in a neutral and impartial manner,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a memo to Justice Department employees about the new policy. “In fulfilling this responsibility, we must do all we can to maintain public trust and ensure that politics—both in fact and appearance—does not compromise or affect the integrity of our work.”

On its website, Alliance Defending Freedom describes itself this way: “ADF is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.”

“Alliance Defending Freedom is recognized as among the most effective legal advocacy organizations dedicated to protecting the religious freedom and free speech rights of all Americans,” Greg Scott, the group’s senior vice president for communications, told The Daily Signal in an email. 

Scott said he couldn’t speak directly about Bruskin. 

“[Alliance Defending Freedom] has prevailed in 14 Supreme Court cases since 2011, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned Roe v. Wade,” Scott said. “Additionally, [Alliance Defending Freedom] has secured more than 400 victories protecting the free speech rights of students on college campuses over that same time frame.” 

 “[Alliance Defending Freedom] will continue to do the hard work of preserving liberty and leave the name-calling to others,” he added.

Bruskin did not specify in the short post on LinkedIn where he came up with the “hate group” characterization. 

However, the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group. The left-wing group routinely lumps in conventional religious organizations and mainstream right-of-center groups with extremist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis on a list of hate groups. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been viewed as largely discredited since a discrimination and sexual harassment scandal rocked the outfit. 

The organization was forced to apologize to British activist Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in 2018 after listing them in its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” After Nawaz threatened to sue for defamation, SPLC settled the claim and agreed to pay $3.3 million in damages and post an apology video.

In 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center placed Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon then running for the Republican presidential nomination, on its “extremist list.” 

Carson went on to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration.  

Weida declined to comment. The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, where Weida is an assistant secretary, did not immediately reply to inquires for this story.

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Texas Resister 64
Texas Resister 64
1 year ago

These people need to be cleaned out of every department in Washington, and then several divisions just shut down. That kind of prejudice is supposed to be illegal, isn’t it?

K
K
1 year ago

It’s disturbing to say the least when the Reprobate Minded Left continually put groups or individuals on lists of “Hate Groups and People”. When in reality the ones doing this are the haters!! If Anyone Or Any Group Doesn’t Agree With The Reprobate Minded Left, They Are Immediately Declared Haters!! It’s exactly what the Nazi’s did led by the Biggest Hater Of All, Hitler! Wake Up America! You All Have A Brain And You All Can Think For Yourselves. Don’t Be Taken Down A False Path That Will Only Lead To The United States Being Taken Over By Socialism Which Leads To Communism.

Juanita
Juanita
1 year ago

There again wanting to create a fight among conservatives
This judges are frauds
The know that we conservatives are are afraid against their lawless and criminal doings
Why don’t this people go and make a country like sodom and Gomorrah
They want to change people to their twisted mind
But they do not just want to live among themselves they want to show off their nasty obsessive behavior where they have no respect for children

All adults should go their not children to be used and abuse

Where they can do their wrong and criminal doings

AL ADULTS

Why is this departments not cleans out
Because they are using the side of the law that is criminal law where they call bad good and good bad
Why because we participate in putting them in power because we gain pleasure from what they are doing

If we didn’t gain pleasure in what they do
They would not have an audience

They have big audience because we go and vote for this people that do not uphold the law no matter who they are

Criminal is criminal
The pay to our desires is that our children are also criminals advocating for adults abusing or engaging in sex with children and teenagers

Let the children grow to adults
Allow them to choose as adults

Not as children as children we should just be equipping to get skills to be good productive citizens

Where is God’s morals in all of this behavior
God is not there

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

When you control all aspects of government, you can label anyone or anything who goes against your narrative.
Weaponizing the DOJ against opposing views is no different than rounding up your political opponents and lining them up for later. These tyrants are always experimenting with what they can get away with, they just try to appear Constitutional without actually being it.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

All socialist regimes despise all forms of religion and will actively try to vilify them to turn public sentiment against them. So it is not unusual. It’s been a common practice throughout the history of socialism. One should expect this is what will happen, when Socialists are allowed to gain political power.

Harry Guzaliak
Harry Guzaliak
1 year ago

This Bruskin character should be fired and disbarred, Period!

Max
Max
1 year ago

Another clear example of more future attacks on Christian/religious organizations that Socialists will instigate on the people.

Phil
Phil
1 year ago

As an Orthodox Jew, I’m dismayed that the public face of American Jewry is this rogue’s gallery of G_d and America-hating evil doers in the House, Senate and DOJ. How can Americans of average intelligence NOT conclude that Jews are at the heart of America’s decline? Rabbis MUST summon the courage to speak up and condemn these people, even if it costs a few donations.

Phil
Phil
1 year ago

Like Hitler many Socialist regimes believe that they are the true “gods” .therefore condem any other thought

Rik
Rik
1 year ago

The Devil just LOVES getting LAWYERS to reside in HELL! . . . probably half of ALL residents in HELL ARE LAWYERS already!

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
1 year ago

The so-called “Southern Poverty Law Center” which doesn’t give a flying you-know-what about Law or Poverty put ADF and other s on their “hate map.” “Haters” are ANYONE who believe in God and actually use their First Amendment right to “free exercise” of religion. (This is NOT the “freedom to worship” which some name it.) Exercise involves ACTIONS!

Gabe hanzeli kent wa
Gabe hanzeli kent wa
1 year ago

The stage is dark.

Blood red flowing from the ceiling

Demons silhouetted in the background.

The undead joe biden emerges from the depths of hell and slithers toward the gates of hell.

As his slithering recedes the hells spokesman biden begins to spew out his venomous screeching.
“nothing is normal, Muaga is not normal, ulter muaga is terrorism”. .

Having exhausted his energy to maintain human form the biden turns and descends back through the gates of hell and to the depths from which he came.

The Demoncrats bare witness to their religious renewal.

As the biden descends the demoncrats applaud that go forth to commit new violence and hateful acts renewed in their knowledge that their is life after death for the demoncrat true believers.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
1 year ago

In my opinion the Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group!

SPLC denounced as ‘thoroughly disgraced’ after labeling pro-life, family organizations as ‘hate groups’

catholicnewsagency.com/news/246334/splc-denounced-as-thoroughly-disgraced-after-labeling-pro-life-family-organizations-as-hate-groups#:~:text=Critics%20of%20the%20Southern%20Poverty%20Law%20Center%20%28SPLC%29,groups%2C%E2%80%9D%20which%20included%20numerous%20pro-life%20and%20family%20organizations.

Wealthy ‘Southern Poverty Law Center’ Engulfed in Scandal After Years of Anti-Conservative Agenda
cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/march/wealthy-southern-poverty-law-center-engulfed-in-scandal-after-years-of-anti-conservative-agenda

Southern Poverty Law Center
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Poverty_Law_Center

VikkiC
VikkiC
1 year ago

The DOJ should be renamed to the Department of Injustice…

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