Abortion, Lawsuits, The Satanic Temple

December 22, 2023

2023 was a very bad year for The Satanic Temple in court

TST started two new lawsuits in 2023, but they lost eight existing cases and seem to have completely abandoned two others

Yet again, the legal performance of The Satanic Temple was disappointing and incompetent at best, but just as likely the worse conclusion is true: it was a needless waste of much-needed resources by attention-seeking malefactors.

The Temple often utilizes overly credulous liberal media outlets to advertise itself off of the possibility that their litigation might one day prove effective. But in 2023, the bill came due on many of those promises, and the result was failure upon failure.

TST lost two major abortion-ban challenges (“Ann Doe I”, “Indiana”). TST lost an invocation challenge (“Boston”). TST lost a cluster of fruitless appeals for misbehavior in Belle Plaine (“Minnesota city monument case”). TST lost its Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or “SLAPP” targeting former members (“Queer Satanic”) and had its SLAPP against Newsweek whittled down to a single libel claim. A lawsuit against a billboard company (“Lamar II”) concluded after the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars, apparently on the same terms as if the lawsuit hadn’t been filed at all. And two other lawsuits in Texas were seemingly abandoned with no further activity in more than a year (“Ann Doe II”, “the Satanic Housewife”).

Compare the below chart with the state of affairs in December 2022 to grasp at a glance just how badly 2023 went for The Satanic Temple in the most recent year. If it could go wrong, it did for TST in 2023.

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For a more in-depth look at the specific attorneys involved in this failed litigation, see our article from earlier this year looking at Matthew Kezhaya and W. James MacNaughton.

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chart of all TST court cases as of December 2023

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The Satanic Temple Inc. court cases

v. The City of Chicago – Ongoing

TST started this case this year, and so far they haven’t lost it.

The Satanic Temple Inc. and Adam Vavrick, an ordained minister of the Satanic Temple and a leader of TST’s Illinois congregation, sought to deliver an invocation before a Chicago City Council meeting. However, they were not invited after, TST claims, more than three years of asking to deliver an invocation and not being given an explanation for why they were not invited.

TST sued the city in federal court on May 3, 2023, alleging violations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Notably, this case is being led by Chicago-based lawyer Adele D. Nicholas, rather than the Temple’s usual stable of incompetent clowns, so it’s possible this will be more successful than TST’s previous failed invocation cases against the cities of Boston and Scottsdale were.

That said, it faces some of the same fundamental challenges that cropped up in both of those cities.

A religious organization is not owed an invitation to deliver an invocation before a city council meeting because there are many more organizations that exist than there are months in the year to invite them. The problem TST runs into when it engages in litigation is that the reality of organization is more strictly analyzed, and embarrassing things tend to come out.

The tricks that work on cub reporters tend not to work on lawyers, and there’s a very good chance that if this cases progresses to the point of gathering evidence, the evidence gathered will be damaging to the Plaintiffs.

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v. Jessica Snow – No Movement

TST started this case in 2022, and so far have done nothing beyond filing a complaint, including serving the Defendant.

The Satanic Temple has been suing Snow for “Business Disparagement” and “Defamation – Libel” over a video posted to TikTok on May 3, 2022.

We’ve shown in detail before how this is yet another bogus SLAPP action by the Temple, and this year Snow, “the Satanic Housewife”, also spoke to the blog Satanic Europe and the podcast Hail Satan to try to get the word out about her situation. However, since filing the lawsuit in November 2022, there has been absolutely no action in the Travis County civil case.

This is very good news for the Defendant, but it also goes to show how the whole point was just to try to intimidate a person critical of TST with little thought beyond that to what would happen next since even among TST loyalists, the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative.

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v. Little – Ongoing

TST started this case in 2022, and so far they haven’t lost it.

This lawsuit against government officials of the state of Idaho is one of two nearly identical abortion challenges the Temple filed in 2022. Both argued that unspecified TST members who can become pregnant suffer financial harm by a hypothetical involuntary pregnancy curtailing their hypothetical desire to rent out their wombs for paid surrogacy.

The Satanic Temple amended their complaint late last year because they originally named Idaho Gov. Brad Little and state Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, but the governor had immunity and Wasden had lost the Republican primary to Raúl Labrador, so Labrador and Ada County prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts replaced the two men as named defendants.

Notably, the amended complaint to update and attempt to cure it of its deficiencies included the revelation that The Satanic Temple’s abortion clinic in New Mexico would launch in the future, coming several months prior to the official announcement. This was part of an argument that the Temple’s business interests were harmed by “a diversion of TST resources from other programs and the corresponding reduction of TST’s ability to promote the TST (sic) Tenets by other means.”

That indirect argument and claims that — were it not for this ban — TST might someday, somehow serve Idaho residents seeking an abortion was not sufficient to establish standing for Indiana, but Trump-appointed Federal District Court Judge David Nye only heard the oral arguments for the case Dec. 6, 2023, and had yet to issue a ruling by the end of the year.

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v. Rokita – Failed and Appealed (Ongoing)

TST started this case in 2022, and they lost it in 2023.

This is the other of two almost identical lawsuits the Temple filed last year, but this abortion-ban challenge was filed against government officials in the state of Indiana.

We wrote in detail about the failures of this case, which the judge tossed out for its inability to first establish standing for a lawsuit because TST did not have a specific party to represent in the case who could be shown to be suffering some specific harm the court had the power to repair.

Again, that article went into much more detail, but the person who tossed that case was Federal District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, an Obama-appointee who worked on the staff of Indiana Democratic politician Evan Bayh.

There are very basic things any litigant needs to do in order to get even a sympathetic court to allow them to progress their lawsuit in the face of an expected preliminary motion to dismiss challenging it, and The Satanic Temple was incapable or unwilling of doing any of them.

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v. Lamar Media Corporation – Dismissed (Unclear)

TST started this case in 2022, and it finished in 2023, but the exact circumstances of that were not made public.

The parties “resolved all issues” in the incomprehensibly one-sided dispute between The Satanic Temple and a billboard company, and TST’s attorney said the agreement terms were confidential.

Despite being accused by TST of anti-Satanist bias, the billboard company only ever refused to run a particular ad campaign for TST back in 2020 based on the Temple’s weird demand that the company’s let TST make provably false advertising claims about TST’s abortion ritual; in reality, the Satanic Temple has never helped someone circumvent state abortion restrictions.

While we’re unlikely to ever get the terms of the settlement released for independent review, this case was an astounding and clearly expensive comedy of errors full of self-inflicted wounds on the part of The Satanic Temple.

It was the second lawsuit TST brought against Lamar after TST gave up on a similar state court action in February 2021, but this one progressed far enough for TST to admit in filings they spent something like $200,000 between an $80,000 billboard in Arizona they bought, plus leasing the land it sits on for 18 years at $450 per month, and plus the costs of numerous sloppy filings as well as embarrassing admissions during the depositions of the lawsuit itself.

Screenshot of Deposition by TST co-owner Cevin Soling as "Malcolm Jarry"
Exhibit Combined Exhibits — Document #47, Attachment #1

All of that to get the same deal from Lamar that Lamar offered TST for free back in fall 2020: “we will run other ads of yours — just not this one”.

LifeNews.com of all places seemed to confirm this when they reported on a new billboard in Arkansas promoting TST’s abortion clinic in New Mexico immediately after the lawsuit was dismissed.

Calling this result “unclear” is very generous because if a TST apologist can make an argument for what exactly the Temple won in all of this nearly four year odyssey, we’d love to hear it.

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v. Newsweek Magazine LLC – Ongoing

TST started this case in 2022, and while most of it was dismissed in 2023, what little remains is ongoing as of the end of this year.

The Satanic Temple sued the magazine Newsweek and its reporter Julia Duin in 2022 in retaliation for Duin writing and Newsweek publishing a critical article about TST in 2021.

The article quoted us and other former members talking about how the Temple and its owners engage in abusive litigation against critics called SLAPPs — Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

You can only imagine how darkly funny it was to see TST move on to hitting Newsweek with a SLAPP of its own for talking about this.

And in March 2023, Federal District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump appointee, dismissed nearly everything in The Satanic Temple’s lawsuit.

While the whole thing decision is worth reading, one statement in particular stands out:

Simple as.

Somehow it seems only the Volokh Conspiracy blog for Reason.com took notice of this happening at the time, which is unfortunate because SLAPP suit against news orgs ought to be relevant to journalists in media even if theirs isn’t the specific outlet being sued.

Anyway, from TST’s perspective in terms of their claims surviving, we have:

For all of the above, a “checkmark” just means TST’s claim that the court has been treating as true gets to survive a little longer. We have not gotten to the point where the court starts to look at what happens if the Temple’s claims are not assumed to be true.

What this left behind is still not particularly good for the Temple.

The Satanic Temple’s issues with sexual harassment and abuse are much worse than any one person’s experience or incident. Of course, the fact that TST’s go-to response is to threaten lawsuits over talking about it tells you a lot in itself.

In August, the Temple’s lawyers began seeking to depose all of the members of Queer Satanic; that is, the four former members TST has been suing since April 2020.

Ultimately, only David Johnson and Nathan Sullivan had to schlep over to Mercer Island to get deposed by the Temple’s lawyers, and only narrowly about our knowledge of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse within the Temple since we (rightly) worried TST would use the deposition as an end-around to pursue their goals in their existing lawsuits against us.

Evaluated in the abstract on the standards of the litigation, the whole thing has been a failure so far.

But judged as a weapon to try to intimidate other critical former TST members and journalists by raising the specter of needing to prepare for an expensive legal defense or for doxing in retaliation, “Scientology for mall goths” might consider this lawsuit working as intended.

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The Satanic Temple, Inc., et al v. Young et al 
(“Ann Doe II”) – No Movement

TST started this case in 2022, and since June 2022, there has been no movement in the case.

This is a peculiar case even grading on the curve of The Satanic Temple’s litigation history.

The good news is that — unlike the Temple’s more recent Indiana and Idaho abortion ban challenges — TST does have an actual, specific pregnant person they can represent as having been harmed by abortion restrictions in the state of Texas, and this allows them to pass one of the first hurdles of establishing standing.

The bad news is that The Satanic Temple utilizes the same TST member from their federal abortion-ban lawsuit the year prior; the complaint states the “Ann Doe” had her last period in December 2020 and discovered she was pregnant in January 2021, seeking an abortion in February 2021. While this was partially sufficient for establishing standing for the federal lawsuit filed in February 2021, that would no longer be true a year later. At least as it comes to initiating a lawsuit, the court needs a specific and redressable harm; having been pregnant in the past doesn’t cut it in terms of overturning a law.

The most recent activity in this case was an “attorney vacation notification” on June 3, 2022, so TST has nothing at all to show for 2023 regarding their state-level challenge of the abortion ban in Texas, and that’s actually probably the best they could hope for.

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The Satanic Temple, Inc. et al v. Hellerstedt et al 
(“Ann Doe I”) – Failed

TST started this case in 2021, and they lost it in 2023 then (apparently) also abandoned their appeal.

This was the Temple’s first abortion-restriction challenge in a while, and it attempted to make use of religious liberty arguments, which liberal media always loves for its “dog-bites-man quality”. When SB8, the Texas “bounty bill”, was signed into law in September 2021, it led to a huge new influx of attention for TST and many breathless articles like “Why Satanists may be the last, best hope to save abortion rights in Texas.”

Salon headline from Sep. 4, 2021: “Why Satanists may be the last, best hope to save abortion rights in Texas: The ‘nontheistic’ organization joins the fray with a last-ditch legal maneuver to save abortion rights in Texas”

TST literally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars off of credulous articles just like this one that treated this specific lawsuit as the “one weird trick” that could save abortion rights for tens of millions of people.

Then the lawsuit was paused in December 2021 pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and when the high court allowed Missouri’s abortion ban to go through in June 2022, the case was given a chance to start over. TST did, and it lost completely and utterly.

It is really difficult to convey just how much of a clusterfuck this case was on behalf of The Satanic Temple and its legal team.

Before we get there, though, let’s try to make some excuses for them.

As stated above, the Temple did the bare minimum here of identifying an actual TST member in Texas who was pregnant in 2021, who did not want to be, and who sought an abortion but faced barriers established by state law. TST called this person “Ann Doe” following in the previous examples of ultimately failed Missouri abortion-ban challenges representing involuntarily pregnant TST members “Mary Doe” and “Judy Doe”; so far, so good.

But you’ve heard us say before, “It’s a legal system, not a justice system.” There’s nothing fair about any of this. To successfully utilize legal challenges to effect policy change, you need to pick the right example to represent and you need the right facts for your case, but you also need to make sure you initiate your challenge in the right circumstances, draw the right judge, and have a reasonable path to success through the partisan supra-legislatures that judicial panels represent.

The rightwing movement in the United States has spent decades making their work much easier in the federal courts by investing in organs like the Federalist Society that will tip odds in the favor of their causes at the levels of district, appellate, and supreme courts. That’s not fair, but that’s how the game works if you elect to play it.

The Satanic Temple filed this case in the Southern District of Texas, and they drew a Trump appointee: Charles Eskridge III. There were some Clinton and Obama judges in the mix, but overall, Republican presidents nominated the vast majority of federal judges in this district. If you are going to blame judicial bias for your failures, as the Temple and its apologists are wont to do, this is very much a self-inflicted injury to your lawsuit’s chances.

Worse, Texas lies within the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; the Fifth Circuit is famously the most reactionary appellate court in the entire country. No matter how good your performance and draw at the district court, this reality looms ahead of you.

Finally, due to the Trump regime, the US Supreme Court holds a 6-3 Republican majority composition. Cases that might have succeeded in 2015 have no chance after 2020 purely because of who now sits on the high court.

So is successful litigation in this environment hard for ostensibly progressive causes? Yes, it is hard.

But none of that actually matters for The Satanic Temple, because it and its lawyers are so grossly incompetent, the venue they argue in is completely irrelevant.

Again, we covered a lot of this in more detail in our previous article from January and especially in our analysis of the dismissal in July.

But when Judge Eskridge officially admonished TST lawyer Matt Kezhaya and The Satanic Temple for their conduct in this case, he was not being an unreasonable MAGA justice. Eskridge pointed to two previous examples of Kezhaya being sanctioned in other jurisdictions (by Obama- and Biden-appointed federal judges) before moving on to review Kezhaya’s conduct in the present case.

The “motion for TRO” or “Temporary Restraining Order” was denied at the federal district court level by Eskridge, and that ruling was appealed as “Satanic Temple v. TX Hlth and Human Service Commission“, which also was dismissed when it reached the Fifth Circuit.

You really have to read the actual documents filed by The Satanic Temple in this case to appreciate how unforgivably sloppy this was. A “play in five acts” consisting of a series Venn Diagrams, demanding a ruling within days after a year and a half of ongoing litigation, a filing consisting of nothing but testimonials from pseudonymous TST members — not pregnant TST members, just people willing to write something under a fake name in support of the Temple. The judge was not amused.

On July 3, 2023, the district court judge dismissed the case for its failure to state “factual allegations either to support Plaintiffs’ standing or to overcome [Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Cecile Young’s] immunity to suit.” The judge felt the behavior of TST’s lawyers had been so woeful in its most recent amended complaint, he did not allow them the chance to amend the suit again but (strangely) the order did say the dismissal was without prejudice. In September 2023, the Fifth Circuit granted a motion by TST to dismiss TST’s appeal, referencing TST’s “desire to avail themselves of the right to replead.” However, so far, that seems to be the end of the case, and if the Temple were to restart it, it’s not obvious what their path forward would be.

For all of the attention that this hope-grift lawsuit got when people were at their most fretful and worried, its end got virtually no attention, and no one learned any lessons except maybe TST in again proving they didn’t have to actually do anything to get all of the attention and credit as if they had.

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v. Belle Plaine, City of – Failed

TST started this case in 2019, then started the same case again in 2021, lost both in 2021 and got sanctioned for it, then in 2023, lost their appeal of the sanctioning and its fees, as well as losing the appeal for the main case(s).

If that short description seems confusing, fair enough, but basically The Satanic Temple is very bad at taking “no” for an answer or respecting decisions they don’t like, and when it comes to the courts, that tends to get them in even more trouble.

Here are all the relevant court cases relating to the Temple’s proposed veterans’ memorial monument in the city of Belle Plaine, Minn.

Ostensibly the Temple’s monument was intended to stand in contrast to a Christian veterans’ monument endorsed by the city, but the fundraising campaign ended up getting more donation money than TST spent on the monument itself and which never left TST’s for-profit headquarters, where the Temple further sold admission tickets for the right to come inside and view it.

receipt of $16,943.40 sanctioning fine paid by Kezhaya Law LLC
Document #69, Satanic Temple, Inc., The v. City of Belle Plaine, MN

The Satanic Temple (and its attorneys) got in trouble with the federal district court judge, Obama-appointee Wilhelmina Wright, after they responded to Wright dismissing their claims and disallowing them from repleading the same issues in the first case by trying to replead the same issues in a new case before a different judge. Instead, Wright was handed back the new case and ruled against TST in September 2021, further applying almost $17,000 in penalties against TST lawyer Matt Kezhaya to recompense the city of Belle Plaine for having to pay the city’s lawyers for time spent dealing with a second, frivolous litigation TST should not have pursued.

Well, in August 2023, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court dismissal and also upheld the sanctions on Kezhaya.

(Sad trombone noises intensify.)

Taking a step back, by all rights, this whole situation should have been a rare victory for The Satanic Temple and its owners to point to.

There was an example of religious favoritism in a city that did not think through its policies; TST came in to challenge it, had a successful fundraising campaign, produced an actual, physical monument that could counter to Christian one already present; and the city was so put off by the idea of this coming to pass that they revoked their OK for the Christian monument in such a way to belatedly but undeniably re-establish secular principles.

But the Temple’s owners were too arrogant to just take a win, so they incompetently pursued a lawsuit that embarrassed them, revealed they paid one TST owner about a third of all the fundraiser revenue while another third disappeared entirely, got caught lying about doing this, and also got caught using fake names on official documents multiple times. Plus however much donor money was spent fruitlessly over four years pursuing a failed and unnecessary cluster of sloppy lawsuits.

It’s hard to pick a “worst” anything with The Satanic Temple, but given how easy this was for them to just quit while they were ahead yet electing to do the exact opposite until failures compounded on failures, this might just be it.

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v. City of Boston – Failed and Appealed (Ongoing)

TST started this case in 2019, and they lost it in 2023.

Unlike most of the lawsuits on this list, this one was actually steadily covered by media outlets throughout its lifetime, particularly by Universal Hub.

For that reason, we’re just going to include the August 2023 article about TST’s appeal in full since it saves us some work concisely includes the whole saga.

The appeal is ongoing, but so far The Satanic Temple’s owners, lawyers, and advocates don’t have a better explanation for their failures than that TST is the victim of a conspiracy between the city of Boston and federal judiciary against them, so it’s hard to see how the First Circuit is likely to give them a better answer than the magistrate and district judges Kelley did at district court.

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United Federation of Churches LLC court cases

United Federation of Churches, LLC, is a Domestic Limited Liability Company doing business as and holding the trademarks for The Satanic Temple and Lucien Greaves. A listing without the “LLC” also holds a trademark for “TST”.

It was organized Feb. 14, 2014, in Salem, Massachusetts at 64 Bridge Street, a property shared by several other corporations owned by Cevin Soling, including 64 Bridge LLC, which owns the location.

The registered agent of United Federation of Churches is Douglas Misicko, while its manager is Cevin Soling.

It is distinct from the tax-exempt church The Satanic Temple, Inc.

v. Johnson et al – Ongoing

TST started this case in 2020, and they lost it in 2023 but unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story.

Here’s the four cases involved (so far):

For more specifics, we have a whole article on that.

More broadly, this suit, its appeals, and re-filings are just a SLAPP suit against former members where all of the frivolous activity makes complete sense given that the goal of litigation is to force the Defendants to answer everything and exhaust our limited resources when our assailants can call upon so much more.

The first time a judge dismissed the federal district court case was in February 2021; TST re-filed the same year and the federal district court judge dismissed it again in January 2023; TST quickly appealed part of the case in federal court in January 2023 and re-filed a new case in Washington state court in April 2023. The state court appeal has been stayed awaiting the outcome of the federal court proceedings, which the Ninth Circuit has allowed to be revived on the issue of defamation back at federal district court.

If you were someone who cared about how The Satanic Temple’s owners are stewarding the collective resources provided to them by TST’s members and donors, a really good question would be demanding to know how much they’ve spent trying to hurt us over these past few years and what that has actually gained any of TST’s members or the people the Temple claims to be helping.

What does victory look like for The Satanic Temple here, and in what way does that advance the interests of Satanists more broadly?

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Cave et al v. Thurston – Ongoing

TST joined this case as an Intervenor in 2018, and as of 2023 they haven’t lost yet.

The saga of the ACLU’s challenge to a 10 Commandments monument in Arkansas is about to hit year six without a trial, and much of that delay can be placed squarely at the feet of The Satanic Temple and its owner Doug “Lucien Greaves” Misicko, who seems to have pursued this originally out of an ongoing personal feud with former Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert.

November 2023 saw the 317th filing in the case which has gone on so long one of the original Plaintiffs died two years ago, and late last year, the ACLU found themselves on the same side as the Defendants in urging the court to “get on with it“.

This has also been an expensive, unnecessary, and counterproductive legal action for The Satanic Temple that the ACLU was more than capable of handling on its own and which further has produced some of the absolutely worst moments for Misicko and the Temple when he was put under deposition and questioned about things he couldn’t wriggle out of as if it were a news interview.

Much of the last two years have also involved the Temple dealing with information that Misicko’s former good friend and early TST collaborator Shane Bugbee dropped in a declaration, including old email correspondence that confirmed what had long been rumored: Misicko hadn’t actually changed that much from their Internet radio shows 10 years before.

In March 2023, the case also produced perhaps the best, most concise, and thoroughly documented summary of TST’s entire history up to that point as the state of Arkansas tried to untangle the “constellation of affiliate entities” that is the Temple:

There is no reason that The Satanic Temple should ever have forced their way into this case, and there has been no benefit — to anyone! — since they did.

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Cases by others involving TST

The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. Saucon Valley School District – Success

The ACLU started this case in 2023, and they settled it favorably in 2023, as well.

“Y’all are propagandists! You never talk about the good things The Satanic Temple does.”

Look, if you want to read pro-TST propaganda, you are already awash in it. That’s not our role.

And the ACLU was right to crow about their $200,000 settlement victory suing the Saucon Valley School District after it revoked its OK for TST to use district facilities for an After School Satan club. That is undeniably a win, and it’s their job to trumpet it.

But this was a win for the ACLU, not for The Satanic Temple.

Screenshot from GuideStar showing "Lucien Greaves" and "Malcolm Jarry" as names of the two principle officers of The Satanic Temple Inc as well as board char Doug Misicko

As the numerous example have hopefully showed, the Temple’s own lawyers are not nearly so competent as to box their legal targets into a defeat, and TST’s owners aren’t likely to actually take a win when it’s offered to them.

Further, given the actual nature of The Satanic Temple, its history, and the performance of its key figures under deposition, even this case was likely to have unraveled had the school district decided to fight it and ask questions like, “Are the names these TST leaders are using to sign official documents their actual names?”

If you are inclined to be sympathetic to The Satanic Temple, this case is a perfect example of how important and vital TST is to challenging Christian Nationalism in the USA.

But, we are not inclined to be sympathetic to them, we find their efforts to be largely aiding their supposed opponents.

And we would point out that this case seemingly undercuts all of the excuses that The Satanic Temple makes for itself and its own legal failures. Rather than losing case after case because Satanists just have a raw deal when it come to dealing with biased judges, this reinforces that the fault seems to lie squarely with TST and its own behavior in courts.

The ACLU has plenty of problems but “incompetent legal representation” is not one of them. If TST never sued anyone, if its owners could shut the fuck up, go away, and just let serious, competent people handle lawsuits for them utilizing their members, maybe The Satanic Temple would not be such a consistently miserable failure in the courts.


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Hunt, Lance vs. Kenai Peninsula Borough AP – Update

Now, this almost isn’t fair because this is another ACLU case representing people in Alaska of multiple religious traditions who challenged policies a local government policy regarding invocations.

Started in 2016, the lawsuit ultimately was successful in a summary judgment, forcing a policy change.

We can’t blame The Satanic Temple here because it honestly seems that the national organization — Doug, Cevin, and their clown car of default lawyers — weren’t involved at all, and that their members in Alaska did it “the right way” by being one of many challenging the local invocations rules.

But we do think it shows how ultimately ineffectual this legal challenge strategy is at effecting positive change on its own, even when done competently as a legal matter.

This is at least the second time where the result of The Satanic Temple challenging local invocation practices has resulted in less not more secularism or religious plurality.

This is not a criticism of the fight itself. The fight and the friction involved in it is worthy, regardless of the ultimate outcome.

But it is a criticism of “one weird trick” appeals based on the grift that a proper legal argument is a solution to these problem. It isn’t.

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The Satanic Temple has been suing us since April 2020, and we are still here.