Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


US Supreme Court: Valerie Haney fires back at Scientology about its ‘religious ritual’

[Marci Hamilton and Valerie Haney]

After Scientology told the US Supreme Court that Valerie Haney’s predicament is not a First Amendment issue, Valerie has fired back with a reply we think you’re going to want to see.

Scientology is unhappy that the attorneys seeking appeals in California and the US Supreme Court keep referring to its internal brand of arbitration as a “religious ritual.”

The church’s attorneys counter that former Scientologists signed agreements while they were members or employees obliging them to take any grievances to Scientology’s internal justice system and not to a court of law. A contract is a contract, Scientology argues, and it doesn’t matter if these former members are no longer adherents. Subjecting them to arbitration (even though it requires a panel of arbitrators who must be members in good standing) is not putting them through a religious ritual.

But Marci Hamilton, the Constitutional scholar writing for Haney, argues forcefully in the reply she filed yesterday that the court should consider Scientology’s arbitration to be exactly that…

The Religious Services Enrollment Application Agreement and General Release expressly state that any dispute subject to the agreement would be, “by its very nature” “a matter of religious doctrine.” Farny Decl. in support of CSI Motion, Exhibit 9. This language alone provides sufficient evidence on the record that the arbitration agreements were religious services or rituals, notwithstanding that the religious arbitration will be adjudged by members in good standing in the Church of Scientology and will be governed according to the doctrine and bylaws of the Church.


Hamilton also deals with Scientology’s argument that Haney’s legal team brought up these First Amendment concerns too late in the case. She counters that the highest court in the land isn’t restricted by those concerns and has the jurisdiction to tackle this issue.

And as for the state appeals court denying Valerie’s petition for being untimely, which Scientology points out time and again, Hamilton minces no words…

The Court of Appeals denied Petitioner’s writ on procedural grounds by dismissing it as untimely. The state courts utilized state procedural grounds to trample on the constitutional rights of Petitioner.

Hamilton also suggests that courts have been inconsistent on the question of First Amendment rights and religious arbitration in previous cases, inviting the Supremes to clear up the situation.

And again, she reiterates that Valerie Haney, who is no longer a Scientologist, should not be asked to subject herself to the religious rules of a group she no longer belongs to.

The Trial Court overlooked this principle of constitutional law when it compelled Petitioner to participate in religious arbitration wherein her secular tort claims must be resolved through application of “Scientology Doctrine.” The requirement that she arbitrate such claims — long after having renounced Scientology no less — in a forum governed by the very religious principles she has rejected is forbidden by the Establishment Clause, and turns the court into an enforcer for a religious organization, coopting courts to marshal believers into their ranks.

It’s an impressive document, and we’re looking forward to your thoughts on it. As we said earlier, the Supreme Court has scheduled Valerie’s case for discussion on September 27, but the odds are still long that the court will take up her case.

Here’s the document:

Haney v. Scientology: SCOTU… by Tony Ortega


Bonus items from our tipsters

What are you waiting for?




Your proprietor on the air

We joined Chris Shelton in Seth’s latest podcast.



Source Code

“All sorts of disastrous things will occur If you become an expert Dianetic auditor. Then we’re all in trouble because we will start curing everything, you know, and knocking out psychosis and neurosis and doing all those poor doctors out of their jobs. And you don’t want to do any doctors out of their jobs. But I say this in all sincerity, this leads you in to the fact that you can heal, and that is not your profession. You’re trying to clear people, and these processes will heal people, even badly run. They’ll cure migraine headaches and arthritis and lumbosis and medicosis and all kinds of wild illnesses. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s uniform. In other words, you don’t get one for one for one, you see, for the excellent reason that the whole reactive mind is the reason for very severe illnesses. It’s the whole mind. And you can key out parts of it and make somebody quite well, you see. You can key out some very specific illness like that and have it go away but don’t be too surprised if it comes back. So therefore, ‘cure’ is not well used. It’s ill-advised as a word.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 21, 1966



Avast, Ye Mateys

“WWIII: The 18 July statement of Russia that it would back Arabs against Israel after an apparent squeeze play on Nasser is the first whiff of World War III. Yesterday’s news items of Soviet Rocket tests north of Hawaii is a confirming item. The Soviet has the US will to fight very knocked out internally in the US and is now following up to pressure the Middle East and the Pacific as a strategic action. They have of course misgauged the US reaction and a belligerent response wrongly done can tip over the cold war into a hot one. This is mentioned because it becomes a factor in our operations to be alert, preserve reserves, and beef up UK and EU.” — The Commodore, July 21, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“You’re just investigating the havingness, getting viewpoints all over, just looking at it. You can see all time that has taken place since the beginning to now in even in the future, if you are OT enough, and even see what’s going to happen in the future. I once did this when I went way back to when I was a huge disembodied OT toward the beginning of my track. It’s like a bunch of particles all moving, co-acting and coming together in different positions to create whatever realities that happened or will happen. We can change the future, no doubt, and I have changed the weather without a doubt and still do when I feel the desire. Time doesn’t really exist, it’s simultaneous, i.e., the present is all that’s really real, but we have stretched it out and created motion in order to have action; i.e., having particles move in space is what having is, which is what time is, but once it’s gone, it’s gone. I just urge you to study all the ACCs from the PDC on up to the eighth American, if you have any doubt.”


Past is Prologue

1996: In the wake of Time Magazine’s court victory over Scientology, Richard Behar, author of the article that sparked the lawsuit, was invited to the CNN studios to discuss the case. “I stated that the loss of the Time suit was a resounding defeat for Scientology, and that we told the truth about them in 1991 and we suffered the consequences. We published the story even though we knew that it might lead to years of expensive litigation and harassment. I went on to mention that Scientology s own doctrine states that the purpose of a suit is to harass and not to win, and that in this way they chilled the media from covering them closely. I mentioned that I have filed a counterclaim against the Church which is still pending, in which I charge that I was tailed and harassed by private eyes and my credit report was illegally obtained, and that even that my office telephone records were nefariously secured. The interview was at 5:30 and three hours later CNN contacted our attorney, Floyd Abrams, the country’s premier first amendment expert. They were panicked because the Church had pressured them and they were worried about what I had said in my interview, and they discussed the details of the interview with Floyd. He explained to them that they had nothing to worry about: that the information that I had given them was either in the article itself which had just been exonerated by the judge or in my counterclaim, which was part of the public record. Floyd suggested that they run my comments along with Scientology s denial but they cowardly chose to spike my interview entirely.”


Random Howdy

“He’s found the right balance between non-sequitur sesquipedalian punster and heartfelt commenting.”



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: Next pretrial conference set for Sept 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 responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
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: Third 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] ‘We’ve talked to the FBI’ Leah Remini says in first podcast, calling for Scientology raid
[TWO years ago] Evidence that Scientology is adopting an anti-vaxx strategy, and with political aspirations
[THREE years ago] From Sands Hall’s excellent ‘Flunk. Start.’ — the paradox of ‘Keeping Scientology Working’
[FOUR years ago] As Leah Remini’s second season approaches, more Scientology survivors are opening up
[FIVE years ago] Scientology goes shopping for a new top cop in L.A., and a new video from Chris Shelton!
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s speechwriter, the word of God, and a Hubbard bio that will never see the light of day
[SEVEN years ago] Surviving Scientology podcast: Former treasury employee Mat Pesch spills the beans
[EIGHT years ago] Neil Gaiman’s Nephew Fights for Scientology Marriage Rights in the UK
[NINE years ago] Why Do Scientologists Accept the Xenu Story?
[TEN years ago] Jamie DeWolf, L. Ron Hubbard’s Great-Grandson, Spins a Spine-Chilling Performance About His DNA


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 2,368 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,873 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,393 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,413 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,304 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,611 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,479 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,253 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,583 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,057 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,373 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,939 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,858 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,026 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,607 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,868 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,906 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,619 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,144 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 499 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,674 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,225 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,374 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,694 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,549 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,668 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,024 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,327 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,433 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,835 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,707 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,290 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,785 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,039 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,148 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 21, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email