Yesterday, I reported on an outlandish effort to shake down a Christian pastor about his views on Islam by the Justice Department in an Obama-era holdover case.
Today, a federal court entirely dismissed the Justice Department’s case.
United States District Court Judge Norman Moon ruled that the case was moot because the mosque settled with Culpeper County. The mosque obtained a settlement allowing it to pump and haul sewage from the land.
The United States had sought to keep the case alive, and to conduct wide ranging and intrusive discovery against third parties such as Pastor Steve Harrelson of the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church. Harrelson, as discussed in detail in yesterday’s piece, had been served with a Justice Department subpoena compelling him to testify about his views on Islam and to deliver any papers or documents he had about Islam to the government.
The court ruled that because the county had settled with the mosque, the case was done. This means that DOJ won’t be able to probe the Christian pastor for his views on Islam.
Judge Moon wrote:
Taken together, the Government’s additional measures are marginal quibbles that overlook the forest for the trees. They are based on a presumption of bad faith by the County, a presumption supported by little more than bald assertions and which the County has overcome with compelling and unimpeached evidence.
Moon’s ruling means this hunt is now over, as long as the Trump-run Justice Department does not appeal, something it had better not do. I was all set to appear with Tucker Carlson to discuss this abuse of power, and the particular people at DOJ behind it! Too bad. Judge Moon may have mooted that also.
This opinion does raise serious questions, however, about how an abusive and intrusive effort was launched to go after Christian pastors and to ask them to reveal their beliefs about Islam even after a case settled. We’ll be seeking answers.
Next week, Eric Dreiband will have his confirmation hearing to finally fill the vacancy for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. I doubt that abusive and intrusive discovery against Christian pastors about their theological views of Islam is a top agenda item for Mr. Dreiband.
You can read the full opinion here.