One of America’s top law firms is now representing Southern Baptist Will McRaney in a dispute that the SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) has appealed to the Supreme Court.
In a video released on Facebook, McRaney and his wife Sandy announced a “leading national law firm” has joined their case. McRaney said, Scott E. Gant of the Boies Schiller Flexner law firm would take point as the case potentially heads to the Supreme Court. Presently, SCOTUS is considering if it will review the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the case back to the trial court for discovery and other motions.
Boies Schiller Flexner is a “national litigation powerhouse,” according to the Wall Street Journal the law firm brags on its website.
Gant argued cases before the Supreme Court and taught a constitutional law seminar at Georgetown. He is an expert on First Amendment law and his book, We’re All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age, was published by Simon & Schuster’s Free Press.
“He has argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court in the last four years,” McRaney said.
Also, other attorneys including many with Southern Baptist backgrounds contacted McRaney and want to assist on the case because they see the problems with Kevin Ezell, McRaney said.
As reported by CR, many Southern Baptists were concerned by arguments advanced by NAMB and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Specifically, the ERLC filed an amicus brief in the case filled with intentionally misleading information. This follows the ERLC’s filing of a false amicus brief before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ERLC was forced to repudiate its deceptive amicus brief but so far, no word on any sanctions from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
NAMB faces an increased need to settle this case before it is heard by the Supreme Court. No matter what happens, the Southern Baptist Convention loses.
If NAMB’s case is heard by SCOTUS and NAMB wins, it establishes a right to slander independent SBC churches along with increasing centralization that exposes the SBC to liabilities in sex abuse cases.
If NAMB loses before the Supreme Court, it will set a boundary on the ministerial exception that might one day undermine the ability of a Southern Baptists to rebuke doctrinal errors.
Neither outcome is good—and in fact, the most dangerous is likely a NAMB victory as it would be Pyrrhic providing a win against McRaney while opening a floodgate of lawsuits against the SBC and its entities based on NAMB’s claims of rights and privileges over state conventions and churches. Not to mention the damage done by the ERLC’s amicus briefs to SBC polity.
Ezell and his buddies like Russell Moore are willing to risk the entire SBC for Ezell’s own self-aggrandizement.
Perhaps the naming of an intimidating law firm like Boies Schiller Flexner will sober Ezell and his friends. However, that seems doubtful.
The question now is will any Southern Baptist leaders stand up to repudiate Ezell’s and Moore’s attempt to deceive SCOTUS? Who has the integrity and courage to do it?