Naturally, left-wing heads exploded all across the country. You can’t do that! Only left-wing judges can demand that right-wing fascists attend ‘sensitivity training’ and other bogus seminars.
More than that, the left immediately leaped on the charge that ADF was a “hate group” because the Southern Poverty Law Center says so. Since they’ve never been wrong, it must be so. Well, almost never.
The fact that the judge in the case was appointed by Donald Trump only added to the left’s hysteria.
The Southwest Airlines lawyers got exactly what they deserved. District Judge Brantley Starr sanctioned the lawyers for violating his rule in a religious discrimination case. In a case involving flight attendant Charlene Carter last year, a jury found that both Southwest and Transport Union Workers discriminated against Carter when they fired the flight attendant after she “expressed her pro-life beliefs to her union president.”
It’s what happened after the verdict that got the Southwest Airlines lawyers in trouble with Judge Starr.
Following the verdict, Starr ordered Southwest to reinstate Carter and take several other corrective actions, including requiring both the airline and the union to “inform Southwest flight attendants that, under Title VII, they may not discriminate against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs, including – but not limited to – those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.”
But in messages sent by three Southwest attorneys to the company’s employees, according to a sanctions order handed down by Starr, the airline instead said that “Southwest does not discriminate against our Employees for their religious practices and beliefs.”
The judge said Southwest also sent around a memo to flight attendants in which the company “lambasts Carter” by taking issue with the conduct she was fired over.
Blatantly violating the orders of a federal judge is not a way to win friends and influence people — unless the judge was appointed by Donald Trump and the people you want to impress are left-wing hacks.
“The Court concludes that training on religious freedom for three lawyers at Southwest the Court finds responsible (Kerrie Forbes, Kevin Minchey, and Chris Maberry) is the least restrictive means of achieving compliance with the Court’s order,” the judge said. “The Alliance Defending Freedom (‘ADF’) has conducted such training in the past, and the Court deems that appropriate here.”
Actually, ADF has no such formal training program on religious freedom, although they indicated they would be happy to create one for Southwest Airlines. And the choice of ADF to conduct the training is a little strange, considering that the Alliance Defending Freedom wasn’t even formally involved in the flight attendant’s case in the first place.
That will probably matter a great deal when the appeal is filed.
In fillings submitted ahead of Monday’s order, attorneys for Southwest urged the judge not to order the trainings, saying that “ordering religious-liberty training would be an inappropriate remedy for the alleged civil contempt.”
“Although Southwest contends the Email Notice still substantially complied with the judgment, Southwest has already offered to purge this alleged contempt by providing a corrective notice replacing the ‘does not discriminate’ language with ‘may not discriminate,’” they wrote. “Put another way, there is no conduct for religious-liberty training to remedy.”
Law Dork Chris Geidner, who broke the news on the sanctions, wonders how the religious liberty training was added to the punishments.
It’s not precisely clear how religious-liberty training, let alone ADF, became a part of this. ADF is not representing the plaintiff, Charlene Carter, or in any other way involved in the case at all that I can tell.
Carter and her lawyers did not ask for anything like this “religious-liberty training” when she filed her motion for sanctions on Dec. 30, 2022.
It wasn’t until Starr filed an order on May 16 that he announced he was considering adding “religious-liberty training” into his sanctions order in the case.
Judge Starr apparently took it upon himself to include the religious liberty training in the sanctions against the Southwest lawyers. And those sanctions — regardless of whether they pass muster on appeal — were well-deserved, considering the arrogant dismissal by the attorneys of the judges’ orders.