Last week, an Alabama nonprofit group filed a motion to stop the Justice Department from subpoenaing five years of information related to its advocacy for a law banning the chemical mutilation of children in Alabama.
Eagle Forum of Alabama has advocated for the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protect Act (VCAP) since 2017. The Act, which was signed into law in April, makes it a felony to prescribe or administer puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors age 19 and younger.
In its motion, Eagle Forum of Alabama described the subpoena seeking notes, documents, and communications related to VCAP as “broad, intrusive, and meant to harass.”
According to Eagle Forum President Kristen Ullman, what is at stake is the right of private citizens and nonprofit organizations to participate in the legislative process “regardless of their viewpoint.” She warned that if the Justice Department can “weaponize” subpoenas, then “any American can be unduly burdened and prevented from engaging in our democratic republic form of government” which would squelch the right to free speech and free association.
Describing the DOJ subpoena as “unprecedented,” Ullman said it was a “blatant attempt to intimidate and silence” Eagle Forum. “This harassment must be stopped,” she added.
Eagle Forum executive director, Becky Gerritson said the group is primarily operated by “volunteer Alabama citizens” who have the right to engage in political advocacy “free of compulsion and harassment.”
Shortly after the law went into effect, a judge in Alabama’s Northern District issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing VCAP while challenges to the law are heard in court.
A lawsuit was filed in US District Court on April 19 and the Justice Department filed a motion to join the suit as an intervener party on April 29.
Eagle Forum of Alabama is not a party in the lawsuit, and yet the Justice Department subpoenaed the group.