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Scientology to US Supreme Court: Valerie Haney predicament is not a First Amendment case

In May, Valerie Haney’s legal team (specifically constitutional scholar Marci Hamilton) filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, asking it to step in and prevent the Church of Scientology from forcing Valerie into its “religious arbitration.”

Scientology’s response was due yesterday, and attorneys Robert Mangels (RTC) and William Forman (CSI) got their filing submitted in time. We have it for you below.

Valerie filed her lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige in June 2019, alleging that she had been kept a prisoner for years at its secretive Int Base near Hemet, California, and finally managed to escape it by hiding in the trunk of a car. She then went to work for Leah Remini as her assistant and made an appearance on Remini’s A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath. In her lawsuit, Valerie alleged that the church had retaliated against her with harassment, stalking, and with libelous attacks on the Internet.

Scientology countered that Valerie had signed contracts that obliged her to take any grievances to its own internal brand of religious arbitration, and not a court of law. Judge Richard Burdge agreed, granting Scientology’s motion to compel arbitration and denied Valerie a right to trial. Valerie’s legal team then filed a motion to reconsider that was denied, as well as petitions to a state appeals court and the California Supreme Court.


Now they’ve taken their petition to the US Supreme Court, with a focus on what they say is a First Amendment issue: How can Scientology force a former member into what is essentially a religious ritual, its “arbitration” proceeding, even though Valerie is no longer a Scientologist? Hamilton argued on Valerie’s behalf that this is a clear violation of her First Amendment religious rights.

Scientology in litigation tries never to argue the facts of a case (which almost always make the church look horrible) but instead prefers to argue law. And in their response, that’s exactly what you get.

Mangels and Forman argue that Hamilton can’t, at this point, make a First Amendment argument when Valerie didn’t make that argument at the trial court level. It was only after Burdge had made his decision, granting the motion of arbitration, that Valerie’s team brought up the First Amendment argument for the first time in their motion for reconsideration.

Petitioner never argued in her Opposition to the Motions to Compel that Scientology arbitration was a “religious ritual” or that participating in a Scientology arbitration would violate her First Amendment rights. She raised those arguments for the first time in a reconsideration motion, the denial of which she has never challenged in the state courts.

And besides, they add, there was no evidence presented that Scientology’s arbitration is a “religious ritual.”

While the Petition never explains what “religious ritual” or “religious service” means, Lynn Farny, Corporate Secretary of Respondent Church of Scientology International, submitted an unchallenged declaration in opposition to Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration stating “there is no requirement that one must be a practicing Scientologist or a Scientologist in good standing to participate in [Scientology arbitration] procedures. Furthermore, a party to Church dispute resolution procedures, including Church arbitration procedure, is not required to make a profession of faith, undergo Scientology auditing, or participate in any religious ceremony or service as part of presenting a dispute.”

So, once again, while Valerie Haney and her attorneys are trying to get a court to hear her allegations that she was kidnapped, that she had take extreme measures to escape, and that she was then submitted to years of frightening stalking and harassment as retaliation for speaking out about the church, Scientology never discusses those issues and instead continues to characterize this as a simple contract dispute, and one that does not involve Valerie’s religious rights being violated.

Please give the document a look and let us know what else strikes you about it.

Any petition to the US Supreme Court is a longshot; the court doesn’t take up the vast majority of petitions it receives. So the odds are against Valerie here. But it’s always interesting to see how Scientology defends itself in a court of law.


Haney v. Scientology: SCOTU… by Tony Ortega



Jon Atack and Jeffrey Augustine

Talking Scientology contracts.



Bonus items from our tipsters

Says our tipster: “The Teamsters Union Convention is online this year, and a number of celebs cut short greeting videos that they’re using as bumpers between Convention business. I’ve had the show on in the background as I’ve been working, and when I heard Jason Beghe’s voice, I clicked over to watch it. It was a heartfelt shoutout to Teamsters that he’s worked with on site – but what caught my attention was his T-shirt. Must have been very triggering for any OT Teamster delegates.”



Source Code

“The president of a law school had been employed to obtain this warrant and the Chief Federal United States Marshal, I think they have a sort of a feeling like they’re still western marshals or something. They go around with big guns hanging on them and so forth. The only trouble is they normally pick people off Skid Row to have these jobs, and it’s rather incongruous, you see. And this fellow, he was utterly mad-dogging because he was sure that I had just beaten up two of his marshals. Actually, I hadn’t beaten up a marshal. I had taken the gun away from one and told him how to use it and put it back in his holster, because I thought he would get into trouble. I explained it to him. I said, ‘You’ll get in trouble waving that about and so forth; and this is the hammer, and this is the trigger.’ And he handed it over to me, and I said, ‘These are the butt plates, and there’s the ammunition,’ and so forth, and slid the cartridges out of the chamber and told him to put them in his pocket, and put the gun back. Nobody was picking on him, and it was all all right, and he did it. You think I’m kidding you, but he did it. ” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 26, 1961



Avast, Ye Mateys

“There’s lots of good work being done — it’s in the majority. For instance the great majority of sessions today were excellent. And on changing anchorage all hands, bow and stern anchors, there wasn’t a single flub. And I had a fresh lobster dinner beautifully done. And several people handled the naval visit beautifully indeed. So I can quote an old poem: A HEALTH UNTO THE HAPPY/A FIG FOR HE WHO FRETS.” — The Commodore, June 26, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“If it were to be the case that some extraterrestrial beings do in fact eat human bodies, would it be ‘better’ if those ETs audited the humans they were going to consume? Just as we eat chickens and cows and pigs. Shall we audit the chickens, cows and pigs? So as to reduce the ‘entheta’ coming in? It is a well known fact that sheep or goat meat has toxins and tastes bad if it is not well ‘processed.’ In Mexico, the ‘processing’ starts by getting the sheep or goat drunk with alcohol, so that it does not suffer from stress. And there is also the Jewish concept of Kosher food. It is intended so that the animal does not suffer unnecessarily from the killing process. ‘The ‘entheta’ generated in the crazy ‘farm factories’ (birth, rising and killing) is enormous and needs to be dealt with.”


Past is Prologue

1999: The San Jose Business Journal published letters to the editor this week concerning their story on the reversal of Amazon’s decision to not sell Jon Atack’s book, A Piece of Blue Sky. “Thanks for having the courage to publish the excellent editorial by Dennis Taylor. Hope you don’t have too much of a hassle from the Scientologists afterward. Those who felt positively about the editorial indubitably outnumbered the rest, but they may have been too afraid of Scientology’s notorious litigiousness/harassment of critics to write. Paulette Cooper, Author, ‘Scandal of Scientology’.”



Random Howdy

“You’re the bee’s knees, i-Betty. You’re the one.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: June 18 pretrial conference delayed until July 9.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology has until June 25 to respond.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court grants review on May 26, asks Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Derek Bloch: Why is Scientology keeping a dying mother away from her son?
[TWO years ago] Scientology destroyed her family, but this former Sea Org worker has a surprise ending
[THREE years ago] VIDEO: ‘Chicago Fire’ star Christian Stolte’s tribute to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s sneaky strategy: Suck up to police departments through ‘Drug-Free’ campaigns
[FIVE years ago] David Miscavige gets ribbon-happy in Florida: It’s the Scientology social media review!
[SIX years ago] Jefferson Hawkins on how Scientology closes minds — a new podcast
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology has a new recruitment video to get you to sign up for a billion years!
[NINE years ago] Luka Magnotta’s Scientology Screed: ‘I Wished Every Night That Tom Cruise Would Adopt Me’


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,343 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,848 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,368 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,388 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,279 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,586 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,454 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,228 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,558 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,032 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,348 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,914 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,833 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,001 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,582 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,843 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,881 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,594 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,119 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 474 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,649 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,200 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,349 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,669 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,524 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,643 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,999 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,302 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,408 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,810 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,682 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,265 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,760 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,014 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,123 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 26, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 15 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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