"God's Lawyer" Aids College District in Prayer Suit
It's mentioned here that Raghu Mathur, chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD), hired David L. Llewellyn, Jr. to represent him, district trustees and Saddleback College's president in a federal lawsuit over prayers recited during official district ceremonies.
Llewellyn, who was called "God's Lawyer" on the cover of the California State Bar Association magazine California Lawyer, has represented churches, school districts and Christian groups and individuals since the early 1980s in local, state and federal cases dealing with such thorny issues as abortion, evolution, home schooling, prayer in schools and the right to die. He's filed appeals and amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and other state and federal appellate courts. He was hired in 2005 by the California Family Bioethics Council, which is affiliated with James C. Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry, to oppose the state's $3 billion embryonic stem cell research program. The council and another group ethically opposed to the research lost in the end.
The Llewellyn + Spann law firm is based in Citrus Heights near Sacramento, where God's Lawyer also serves as "Mr. Constitution" on John Snyder's radio program In the Public Square--which "exists to provide an intelligent and genial forum for the discussion of important issues in contemporary life from a Christian perspective"--on KTKZ 1380 AM. But Llewellyn has especially close ties to Orange County.
He was a founder, president and senior legal counsel for Sacramento-based public interest law firm the Western Center for Law and Religious Freedom, which, among other things, helped the Kern County school district defend its ban on Gabriel García Márquez's book One Hundred Years of Solitude for its "profanity" and "vulgarity." The WCLRF received $62,500 from Gustavo Arellano's favorite "fundie-funder supreme"--and SOCCCD trustee Tom Fuentes' pal--Howard Ahmanson, Jr. of Corona del Mar.
Llewellen was formerly a dean and law professor teaching constitutional law, international human rights, jurisprudence and legal advocacy at Trinity International University's Trinity Law School in Santa Ana. The non-profit law school was founded in 1980 as Simon Greenleaf School of Law in Anaheim and named after a 19th century Harvard law professor who wrote The Testimony of the Evangelists, which was a work of Christian apologetics concerning the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When the American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits in 1981 against the Mission Viejo-based Saddleback Valley Unified School District for allowing religious clubs to meet at its high schools, Llewellyn reportedly agreed to represent trustees for $100. But it was later discovered Saddleback Valley board members had secretly agreed to authorize Llewellyn to seek payment of legal fees totaling more than $24,000 from the district insurance carrier. The attorney sobbed to a Los Angeles Times reporter that he believed getting the funds was God's way of helping him continue his work.
Llewellyn in 1987 represented Dan L. Worthington of Worthington Reunion Photographers, which was under contract to produce reunion photo books for 135 high school reunions but was going to exclude from Irvine's University High School 10th reunion book a photo fo two men posing as a couple. Broadway actor David Engel, who appeared in the picture with Eric Underwood, sued, claiming Worthington was violating the state's civil rights statute. That prompted Llewellyn to indicate Worthington was not going to publish a University High memory book at all. Orange County Superior Court Judge Tully H. Seymour sided with Worthington, but Engel, with famed attorney Gloria Allred at his side, scored a gay-rights victory on appeal.
Llewellyn was retained in 2007 to advise Orange Unified School District trustees who tried to ban the student Gay-Straight Alliance from meeting at El Modena High School. The club won its federal civil rights lawsuit.
He is an associate professor at Chapman University's School of Law, where he teaches constitutional law and the First Amendment. That school's dean, John C. Eastman, in 1999 founded the conservative Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, which has participated in dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court defending such "liberty" causes as school vouchers, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and "the constitutional principles adopted by our nation's Founders." Ronald Reagan's former attorney general Edwin Meese sits on the center's Board of Advisors. Llewellyn is the center's litigation director, and together with Eastman and UC Irvine School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky, he weighed in on keeping home schooling legal in California before the state appeals court in 2008. God's side won.
Chemerinsky is on opposite sides of Eastman and Llewellyn when it comes to same-sex marriage outlawing Prop 8, which the UCI law dean has filed a brief opposing while Eastman, Llewellyn, center director Anthony T. "Tom" Caso and assistant director Karen Lugo this year registered an amicus brief that declares "the constitutional obligation of the courts to treat it as a binding amendment to the California Constitution."
Opposing gays in so many ways has kept Llewellyn very busy over the years.
The new suit against the SOCCCD was filed last week by Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of Saddleback College faculty members, former and current students and one Irvine Valley College professor, Roy Bauer. Writing as the ever-lovable "Chunk Wheeler" on his Dissent the Blog, the philosophy prof points out that the Western Center for Law and Religious Freedom is now known as the Pro-Family Law Center of Abiding Truth Ministries.
The resource center presents writings by its president and lead attorney Scott Lively, who co-wrote with Kevin Abrams The Pink Swastika, which denounces as a gay myth the fact that the German Nazis were anti-homosexual. Bauer blogs that Bill Berkowitz of Buzzflash called The Pink Swastika a "Holocaust revisionist anti-gay book" and said Lively declared "war against the Southern Poverty Law Center for refusing to remove his Abiding Truth Ministries from its list of hate groups."
Another anti-gay book Bauer came across was As We Sodomize America by O.R. Adams Jr., who mentions a documentary that Llewellyn partly narrated called The Gay Agenda. Adams, who Bauer labels "a nutjob," describes The Gay Agenda as "an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of the homosexual movement, and homosexual activity." The film's other narrators are Dr. Stanley Monteith, author of AIDS, The Unnecessary Epidemic, and Joseph Nicolosi, who wrote Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality.
"Wow. Lawyer Llewellyn, it seems, hangs out with a far-out crowd not dissimilar to Mr. Frogue's 'Liberty Lobby' gang," concludes Bauer, making a reference to former SOCCCD trustee Steven Frogue and the rag-tag bunch of Holocaust deniers who loved him.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts