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The devil you say: Judge orders Satanic group to pay Boston more than $8,000 for the time city lawyers spent fighting an attempt to drag Michelle Wu up to Salem on Election Day

A federal magistrate judge ruled today the Satanic Temple has to pay Boston $8228.25 as reimbursement for the time four city attorneys spent successfully fighting what another judge called a "bad faith" attempt to make then Councilor Michelle Wu spend several hours in Salem on Election Day listening to church members give a candle-lit invocation and then answering questions about how the city council selects clergy members to start meetings with an invocation.

The Satanic Temple had sued the Boston City Council in January, 2021 on First Amendment grounds, alleging its refusal to let the group give one of these invocations in favor of mainly Christian clergy showed unconstitutional favoritism towards Christians.

In a separate ruling, US District Court Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley rejected request by a lawyer for the group to sanction Boston city attorneys over their handling of pre-trial interviews - and warned that the temple lawyer should stop risking some judicial sanctions of his own by continuing to violate basic court rules, this time over the requirement to confer with opposing lawyers before asking a judge for something drastic, such as sanctions. "Plaintiff is cautioned that in the future he may be subject to sanctions for violations of the rule," US District Court Angel Kelley wrote.

In the fees ruling, Kelley concluded the temple owed the city money for fending off the Wu deposition demand.

Kelley said the group was actually getting a bargain, because the city based its amount on the assumption its four lawyers' work should be reimbursed at $265 an hour, or what Kelley called "a strikingly low rate for legal work in the city of Boston."

She said she fully agreed with an earlier ruling by US District Court Judge Angel Kelley that the group be forced to pay up for the time because its attempt to make Wu, out of all the city councilors, appear at temple headquarters on the day she was up for election as mayor, constituted "impermissible antics and abusive tactics."

Well after the election, Wu's opponent, then City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, did travel up to Salem and sat for a deposition - after watching church members give their candle-lit invocation. The temple also "deposed" city employees with knowledge of how the council selected invocation givers.

However, M. Page Kelley did reduce the city's bill by $106 because the city's bill did not adequately account for roughly 24 minutes of lawyers' time.

This is not the first time Satanic attorney Matt Kezhaya and federal judges have crossed legal swords.

In September, Kezhaya threatened to seek to have Wu arrested and charged that Angel Kelley, who is handling the main part of the case, and city officials were engaged in a corrupt conspiracy, although he later said he was just joshing, at least about the conspiracy, and it's not his fault the Boston city lawyer to him he made the comments couldn't take a lawyerly joke.

Still, Kezhaya demanded Angel Kelley recuse herself from the case, a demand Kelley rejected.

In September, she warned Kezhaya that he needs to pay attention to basic court rules. That warning came in a ruling in which she rejected another attempt by Kezhaya to make Wu go to Salem, and in which she wrote that the way to try to get Wu in for questioning is to file a motion for reconsideration of the earlier denial, not issuing a deposition subpoena and "status reports" claiming the judge did not earlier rule the way she in fact ruled.

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Comments

Regardless of what you feel or think, The Satanic Temple is simply demanding the same advantages that abrahamic religions have had for ages

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have sought to compel a mayoral candidate to their headquarters on a mayoral election day for a deposition?

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I assume.

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... because they won their unconstitutional privileges a long time ago, and have enjoyed them for so long that folks like you don't even realize it's bad.

But obviously, if the Satanic Temple's point about the separation of church and state were respected, and our government barred all opening prayers and invocations as part of government functions, the Abrahamic religions would do exactly what you're pretending they wouldn't: they would cry that they are victims of persecution and try to apply as much political pressure on politicians as possible, including demanding an audience with them and suing them if they thought they could win.

It's so strange that we have to look to the Satanic Temple to educate folks like you about democracy, and that even when they succeed in putting up a statue of a demon on government property (a ludicrous idea that everyone agrees is stupid, including the Satanists), Christians still don't understand that their ten commandments and their crosses and their official prayers don't belong in our city halls either. Or they do understand, and they're just awful anti-American folks who want to shove their religion down other peoples' throats.

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.

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You've said a lot of words, and implied a few things about me, and yet my simple question wasn't actually answered.

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I'm all for the Satanic Temple and I think they're right to decry the opening prayers here!

But in this case, they very clearly targeted one specific person in an unreasonable way and wasted a lot of everyone's time. It's time to just admit that this particular move was a mistake and move on to better tactics.

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I'm normally a big fan of the Satanic Temple. They often make extremely valid points about separation of church and state, including the issue regarding invocations before City Council meetings from which this case derives. I'm absolutely with them on that. But they have been successful through litigation, and I see not requirement that they transition to an adversarial civic disruption approach. The effort to depose a Mayoral candidate on election day, when there were 12 other councilors not subpoenaed is not helpful to the cause, and a nuisance, rather than valid protest.

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the two mayoral candidates in that election were both sitting (at-large) city councilors. They didn't seek out testimony from Councilor Essaibi George on election day, nor do I believe they've sought to depose her at all. I suppose you could say that Wu was a former council president, but then they did not try to depose the sitting council president in this matter.

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The issue I have with this is the other churches or groups were invited and this one was not. If they were invited and then rejected they might have the case. The same way that a city councillor can choose to honor person A with a resolution but not person B.

For what it's worth I don't think religion belongs in these settings but it's currently not illegal to do so. This case is about discrimination not religion in city hall.

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If it’s so ridiculous to demand that a city councilor go to Salem on election day, why should the city have to spend anything on lawyers to fight it? The court that would need to enforce such an order should just throw it out without paying much attention to it.

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If it was anyone else they’d harassed other than my favorite God given mayor, I’d be moved by the spirit enough to contribute towards paying their legal fees and for a few masses complete with snakes and speaking in tongues to be said in the synagogue for the salvation of their blessed immortal souls.

They have earned much more than they must now pay in the publicity alone, those sinners. Inshallah and peace out!

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They weren't even allowed to introduce themselves to the City Council. I'll leave now...

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Good. There should be more decisions like this.

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… to swear, “So help me god”

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And have the judgement lowered to $666.66

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LOL.

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These people are morons and they deserve their fine. On the other hand, if their antics are helping make the case for keeping prayer (and religion) out of government, I would still give them some credit for that.

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Of churches being abject, thieving frauds.

Tax no one, but if we're going to have taxes, tax them.

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they actually agree with you and pursued religious tax status to show just how idiotic that process is.

i generally support the satanic temple for the work they are doing. are all of their methods effective or tasteful? no, but on the whole they are force for good. sadly, and partly of their own doing, coverage of them skews more to the "OMG SATAN" aspect than the "look at how [insert x] is violating the separation of church and state" that their lawsuits aim to showcase.

that all said, i still greatly enjoy that they performed a "pink mass" at the grave of fred phelps' mom. expert level trolling.

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Show me on this doll where any church "thieved" anything in this decision.

It was the City of Boston, not a church. Now put down the ax.

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Is those Jesus Super Bowl commercials, which cost millions of dollars that didn't go to an actual charitable mission instead.

Surely the also tax-exempt Satanists had a better use of 8 grand than this stunt?

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i think they got a lot more publicity from the case than 8k would buy in the Boston media market in terms of advertising.

i think their continued pursuit of Wu is misguided, but they are at their core a trolling organization, so i can't see them viewing this as a loss given the number of times they were mentioned in the news.

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The analogy I'm thinking Is those Jesus Super Bowl commercials

That's not an analogy. Perhaps you meant to say "example"? If so, it's not one that is relevant to the current situation, or even this issue more generally.

those Jesus Super Bowl commercials, which cost millions of dollars that didn't go to an actual charitable mission instead

As far as I know, they go into their own coffers so that they can continue to proselytize (this wasn't their first rodeo). It's who bankrolls them that's more alarming to me.

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And will hold his annual convention in April. He and his followers will take the T to the convention and find themselves stuck in a tunnel with T crazies and teenage punks. They will then do what the rest of us do when stuck in a T tunnel. Pray!

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If only the Satanic Temple believed in an actual Beelzebub. But they don't:

DO YOU WORSHIP SATAN?

No, nor do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.

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But good luck getting people to think that's what Satanism means.

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I caught on quick enough.

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From Adam's quoted statement, above my comment:

Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things.

If they're Satanists, do they not espouse Satanism?

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They are not in league with Satan, so no. They are not Satanists. That is not the correct word. Thinking they are Satanists and putting them in league with biblical Satan is completely missing the point they’re trying to make. Anton LaVey Church of Satan = Satanists. People who do theatrical ceremonies because they know it gets people riled up = not it.

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?

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… snagged their first choice ahead of them?

To be provocative and highlight hypocrisy

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If you're too intellectually lazy to look up a group's beliefs before deciding to vilify them then that's on you. Satanists have done more for the country in 10 years than Christians/other man made bullshit has in the last 100.

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.

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He came to Boston...

but...

nevermind the skateboard, that's just a funkin prop

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On the surface, the idea of the Satanic Temple fighting to maintain the separation of church and state sounds noble. But when you dig into it at all, it quickly becomes pretty clear that most of these people (Anton LaVey included) are just petty, Reddit-style, libertarian edgelords.

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Don't care. I'm talking satanists in general.

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the satanic temple are trolls, but they certainly aren't libertarians. but by your own admission you don't care about facts, so that distinction probably won't matter to you.

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However, I would love to see an organization with some actual constitutional chops make a run at the city over the invocations. They are ridiculous. Having been to a fair share of these hearings I can attest to the fact that the spirit of the Lord is nowhere in the vicinity. If it is? God help us all!

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invented the separation of church & state. These guys are in the wrong Commonwealth.

Their lawyer is welcome to try his cases in Arkansas or wherever he came from one wagers.

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The pilgrims were puritans, among the least tolerant people who ever lived. For them, the church WAS the state.

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Quakers, Jews and people of other religions came too. Some Puritans persecuted other pilgrims such as the Quakers.

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Not all puritans were pilgrims, but all pilgrims were puritans.

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I have noticed draws a lot of those types who are “wise in their own conceit” as a certain big old book would say.

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… read.

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… stopped by after court for lattes at that controversial new coffee shop in JP?

What a headline, you’d have then, adam.

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