Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Truth About The SPLC's War Against Casey Nethercutt And Ranch Rescue

The Truth About The SPLC's War Against Casey Nethercutt and Ranch Rescue

Originally filed on the Vanguard News Network website, I've decided to archive it here since I refer to this case from time to time.

Subject: race traitor James McElroy, on SPLC board, behind Nethercott ranch theft

Cross-hating lawyer part of border-ranch grab

ACLU attorney working to oust memorial chairs group that helped illegals

By Allyson Smith
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

San Diego attorney James McElroy -- known for his iconoclastic quest to help an atheist remove the Mt. Soledad War Veterans Memorial cross overlooking the Pacific Ocean and his litigious attacks on pro-lifers -- is also board chairman of the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which recently won a lawsuit resulting in the transfer of an Arizona ranch from its American owner to two Salvadoran illegal aliens.

Camp Thunderbird, a 70-acre ranch located in Douglas, Ariz., about two miles from the Mexican border and formerly owned by Ranch Rescue as a training ground for Americans to help provide security for border-area ranchers, was turned over last week to trespassers Fatima Leiva and Edwin Mancía.

According to a press release on the Southern Poverty Law Center website, "In April the Center obtained a pair of judgments totaling $1 million against [Casey] Nethercott and Torre John 'Jack' Foote, another Ranch Rescue member. Those awards came six months after a $350,000 judgment in the same case and coincide with a $100,000 out-of-court settlement with Texas rancher Joe Sutton. Sutton had invited the anti-immigration group to his property to repel Latinos who regularly cross his land."

According to the New York Times, Mancía and Leiva were caught on Sutton's Hebbronville, Tex., ranch "in March 2003 by Mr. Nethercott and other members of Ranch Rescue. The two immigrants later accused Mr. Nethercott of threatening them and of hitting Mr. Mancía with a pistol, charges that Mr. Nethercott denied. The immigrants also said the group gave them cookies, water and a blanket and let them go after an hour or so.

"The Salvadorans testified against Mr. Nethercott when he was tried by Texas prosecutors. The jury deadlocked on a charge of pistol-whipping but convicted Mr. Nethercott, who had previously served time in California for assault, of gun possession, which is illegal for a felon. He is now serving a five-year sentence in a Texas prison."

The article quotes Southern Poverty Law Center co-founder Morris Dees as saying, "Certainly it's poetic justice that these undocumented workers own this land." The case has sparked outrage throughout the United States, including recent tirades by nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Michael Savage and others. McElroy has chaired the SPLC board since 2003. He describes his initial meeting with Dees this way:

"By sheer coincidence, Morris Dees was in San Diego working on the Tom Metzger case," recalls McElroy, referring to the Center's landmark lawsuit against Metzger and his hate group, White Aryan Resistance (WAR). "I heard he was in the same office building where I was working. I wanted to introduce myself to him, so I strolled down and said hello. I told him, 'I know this is a Portland case, but if you need any help in San Diego, let me know.'"

McElroy's bio on the SPLC website continues:

Dees was in San Diego to take Metzger's deposition in the case that ultimately resulted in a $12.5 million judgment against Metzger and WAR. The Center filed the suit on behalf of the family of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student killed in 1988 by a Portland, Ore., skinhead gang trained in WAR's methods. ...

In the weeks and years after that meeting, McElroy's role in the Metzger case grew. When the case was over, he assumed responsibility for seizing Metzger's assets and making sure they got to Seraw's family, including his son, Henock, in Ethiopia. In the end, the funds from the settlement ensured Henock would have an American education, paid for by Tom Metzger.

In 1996, McElroy joined the Center's board of directors. Four years later, he assisted the Center in Keenan vs. Aryan Nations in Idaho, which resulted in a $6.3 million judgment against the Aryan Nations and its founder, Richard Butler. In 2003, he was elected board chairman."

An Illinois native and graduate of the Catholic University of San Diego Law School, McElroy is well-known in San Diego pro-life circles for targeting Christians who minister to abortion-minded women in front of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, for thwarting efforts to compel the abortion giant to report suspected cases of child sexual molestation and for threatening to financially bankrupt pro-life attorneys.

During an April 1999 speech at the University of San Diego, Dees praised McElroy, calling him "a very courageous lawyer here in this town." Dees also recalled his receipt of an honorary doctorate of law from the school a few years earlier and praised the university for its "strong religious base." USD permits "gay pride" groups on campus and regularly hosts heterodox pro-homosexual and pro-abortion-rights speakers.

McElroy's Southern Poverty Law Center biography states he "has also worked with Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics to protect patients, staff and doctors from violence. In 1994, Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy appointed McElroy to the State Commission on the Prevention of Hate Violence. He has testified before various congressional committees on hate-crimes legislation, taught courses to lawyers on how to prosecute civil hate-crimes cases and has published a collection of judgments in civil rights cases.

"McElroy has received many awards for his work. In 1994, the Anti-Defamation League recognized his pro bono work by giving him its National Civil Rights Achievement Award. In 1995, he received the Margaret Sanger Award given by Planned Parenthood for his work on behalf of women's rights."

Another San Diego abortion provider, the now-defunct Womancare Health Center, "recognized McElroy in 1996 for 'outstanding work in protecting the rights of women,' and in 2004, the San Diego County Bar Association recognized McElroy as its Outstanding Attorney of the Year."

More recently, McElroy has gained national attention by assisting atheist Philip Paulson in his lawsuit to remove the Mt. Soledad Cross, a 43-foot high, 52-year-old cross overlooking the Pacific Ocean dedicated to American soldiers who fought and died for the United States during the Korean War.

After 15 years of adverse court rulings, more than 75 percent of San Diegans who came to the polls last month voted to keep the Mt. Soledad Cross as it is, where it is. Yet, before and since that vote, McElroy has made several attempts to thwart the will of the people. In June, he filed a lawsuit against five San Diego-area personalities and backers of the cross initiative, including well-known radio talk-show hosts Roger Hedgecock and Rick Roberts, over the proposed wording of the ballot initiative.

Just days before the historical vote, McElroy also sought -- and won -- a judicial decision to change the ballot majority from a simple majority to a super two-thirds majority. The voters passed the initiative overwhelmingly, exceeding the higher threshold sought by McElroy. Despite this victory, additional state and federal court cases brought by the ACLU attorney challenging the constitutionality of the cross and the July 26 ballot measure are scheduled to be heard in October.

* * *

James McElroy
Chair, Center board of directors

Like much of the United States at the time, racial tensions in James McElroy's Illinois hometown ran high during the civil rights era. Many of his friends and family were either neutral or hostile to the Civil Rights Movement, leaving McElroy, now chairman of the Center's board of directors, to look to figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond and the Freedom Riders for inspiration.

That inspiration led to a number of early activist efforts for McElroy. Many of his friends turned against him one day in high school when he decided to join dozens of his fellow students in a walkout to protest a racial incident at the school. He carried that activism to the University of Illinois, where he was known for engaging members of the Ku Klux Klan in debates at a campus bar.

Ultimately, it was the early inspiration from the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement and their pursuit of justice and equality that led McElroy to a career in law. It also led to his eventual relationship with the Center, which began almost by accident 15 years ago in a San Diego office building.

"By sheer coincidence, Morris Dees was in San Diego working on the Tom Metzger case," recalls McElroy, referring to the Center's landmark lawsuit against Metzger and his hate group, White Aryan Resistance (WAR). "I heard he was in the same office building where I was working. I wanted to introduce myself to him, so I strolled down and said hello. I told him, 'I know this is a Portland case, but if you need any help in San Diego, let me know.'"

McElroy figured that would be both the first and last time their paths would cross.

"I was sure he had people doing that kind of thing all the time and I wouldn't hear from him, but lo and behold, a half-hour later Morris walked into my office."

Dees was in San Diego to take Metzger's deposition in the case that ultimately resulted in a $12.5 million judgment against Metzger and WAR. The Center filed the suit on behalf of the family of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student killed in 1988 by a Portland, Ore., Skinhead gang trained in WAR's methods.

Minutes after McElroy's chance meeting with Dees, Metzger filed a counter suit, stopping the deposition. Dees sought McElroy's help with the San Diego arm of the case.

"Well, the deposition did not take place," says Dees. "Metzger filed for bankruptcy and filed a civil suit against me. I walked into Jim's office and said, 'Well, you got yourself a client.'"

In the weeks and years after that meeting, McElroy's role in the Metzger case grew. When the case was over, he assumed responsibility for seizing Metzger's assets and making sure they got to Seraw's family, including his son, Henock, in Ethopia. In the end, the funds from the settlement ensured Henock would have an American education, paid for by Tom Metzger.

In 1996, McElroy joined the Center's board of directors. Four years later, he assisted the Center in Keenan vs. Aryan Nations in Idaho, which resulted in a $6.3 million judgment against the Aryan Nations and its founder, Richard Butler. In 2003, he was elected board chairman.

In addition to his work for the Center, McElroy has spent more than 25 years taking on civil rights cases in San Diego.

In 2000, the University of San Diego law school graduate successfully represented a black Camp Pendleton Marine brutally beaten and left a quadriplegic by white supremacists. The case ended in a $1.2 million settlement against some defendants and a $9 million verdict against the main perpetrator.

McElroy has also worked with Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics to protect patients, staff and doctors from violence. In 1994, Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy appointed McElroy to the State Commission on the Prevention of Hate Violence. He has testified before various congressional committees on hate crimes legislation, taught courses to lawyers on how to prosecute civil hate crimes cases and has published on the collection of judgments in civil rights cases.

"I am a very lucky lawyer in that I get to do a lot of cases that are of great public interest and of great personal interest to me and my staff," says McElroy. "But it seems the more interesting and more important they are, the more likely they are to be pro bono cases. I tell other lawyers that must be an inverse relationship between how much you get paid and the satisfaction you get from handling a particular case."

McElroy has received many awards for his work. In 1994, the Anti-Defamation League recognized his pro bono work by giving him its National Civil Rights Achievement Award. In 1995, he received the Margaret Sanger Award given by Planned Parenthood for his work on behalf of women's rights.

Womancare Health Center recognized McElroy in 1996 for "outstanding work in protecting the rights of women," and in 2004, the San Diego County Bar Association recognized McElroy as its Outstanding Attorney of the Year.

No comments: