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Interesting Tidbit About Herdahl Case

I have a very interesting footnote to the case I wrote about the other day, in which Lisa Herdahl filed suit over a variety of clearly unconstitutional behavior by the schools in her Mississippi town. Her attorney in that case was Danny Lampley. You may remember that name because he’s the guy who was thrown in jail in 2010 by a judge for refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance in his courtroom. Thankfully, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a public reprimand of the judge, Talmadge Littlejohn, and fined him for his clear abuse of authority.

I did a long interview with Mr. Lampley this weekend. One of the interesting things he told me was that he and Judge Littlejohn had an exchange on the subject a few months prior to the arrest. During a hearing in the same case he had before that particular court a few months earlier, Littlejohn began by having everyone say the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Lampley stood respectfully, but silently.

The judge interrupted the recitation and said, “Mr. Lampley, you don’t say the pledge of allegiance?” Lampley replied, “No sir I don’t, I don’t like it.” And Littlejohn said okay, then please go out into the hall while everyone else recites it. Lampley did so and then the hearing commenced. I asked him why he thought the judge would handle it in this manner one time, then a few months later suddenly decide that a refusal to say the pledge was a case of criminal contempt of court. He didn’t really want to speculate too much, but said that he and the judge had argued over the Herdahl case when Littlejohn was still an attorney practicing in that district and Littlejohn had called the case stupid. Still, he thought the immediate reaction was probably due to the judge just being irritated over how that case, which was a divorce, was proceeding.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Is it possible for a *case* to be “stupid”?

    You might argue that one side or the other in a given case is “stupid” – but that would imply the opposing side has a point, if only self-defense.

  2. iknklast says

    I’ve known a lot of people who take refusal to say the pledge as a personal affront. My son encountered that in his history class in high school. The teacher knew he couldn’t force him to say the pledge, but did inform him that he didn’t have to do anything to assist him in his school work if my son didn’t say the pledge. Of course, he did, since that was his job as a public school teacher, but not having any base of support (either financial or social) at the time, not knowing there was a network of people like the FFRF, AU, etc, I told him to go ahead and say the pledge, but if he wanted to leave the Under God part out, probably no one would notice it. Today, I would complain to the school, because I know there is someone who has my back.

    My father was also outraged when my son failed to say the pledge at a gathering where they both went – he took it personally, too. They both invoked their status as veterans, and felt he was disrespecting veterans. I feel that forcing anyone to mouth religion or patriotism against their will is disrespecting veterans, at least if those veterans are telling the truth about fighting to “preserve our freedoms” (which I have some doubt about – I think they’re fighting to preserve our hegemony).

  3. kantalope says

    Hey – I’m a veteran and I think saying the pledge is stupid. And I have thought it was stupid since at least the third grade and probably sooner. So there.

    If you are a sleeper-cell commie-symp or whoever the enemy is today (I’ve always never trusted those eastasia guys) wouldn’t you be the first to stand up on a box and proclaim your loyalty?

    If you question MY loyalty you come over here and do it to my face. I’ll use some of my Marine Corps training on you – I can still stand there completely bored and not show a thing for hours.

  4. Michael Heath says

    If the government is using its power to administrate the citing of the Pledge and a dissenter disrupts the proceedings, who does the courts favor*, the dissenter or the government? It seems to me it should be the dissenter, even if every non-governmental citizen in this venue wants to cite the pledge with the sole exception of the single dissenter.

    From my perspective standing in silent dissent is not the full extent of protected rights a dissenter enjoys, actual disruption seems lawful to me as well given the government is violating the Constitution. However IANAL nor do I know the case history on this sort of dissent which is why I ask the question.

    *I assume some action would have to take place to get the courts involved, such as the arrest of the person disrupting the proceedings for disorderly conduct or a similar charge.

  5. Ben P says

    Is it possible for a *case* to be “stupid”?

    You might argue that one side or the other in a given case is “stupid” – but that would imply the opposing side has a point, if only self-defense.

    I think it’s entirely possible for a case to be stupid regardless of the merits of either side’s case. I see cases all the time that have dragged on over petty little shit just because the clients want to impose pain on one another. Divorce cases are notorious for this. Judges hate it.

  6. abb3w says

    @1 Pierce R. Butler:

    Is it possible for a *case* to be “stupid”?

    You might argue that one side or the other in a given case is “stupid” – but that would imply the opposing side has a point, if only self-defense.

    Hm. What about a case where both plaintiff and defendant are idiots, represented by lunatics, and using arguments connected neither to statute, case law, nor evidence? Say, plaintiff A is suing defendant B for sixty-nine quadrillion dollars over B having murdered A, and B’s defense is that A is in fact a cleverly disguised stem of brussels sprouts.

  7. Chiroptera says

    Ben P, #6:

    Heh. There was a Bloom County cartoon where Opus was watching “People’s Court.” The punch line had Judge Wapner saying, “Bailiff, kick these two nuts in the butt.”

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