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Academics line up to help Scientology gaslight the US Supreme Court

On January 19, when a California appeals court stunned the Scientology-watching world with its ruling that restored Bixler v. Scientology, the lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s accusers, we spent considerable time reporting on how much the court’s ruling made a major distinction about how this case was unique.

That day, we pointed out how several times in their ruling, the three-justice panel at California’s 2nd Appellate District had gone to pains to say that they were not questioning the right of a church to hold its members to contracts which obliged them to take their grievances to “religious arbitration,” or even to question the right of Scientology to enforce those contracts against ex-members.

What made this case different, they said, was that Scientology was trying to enforce an arbitration contract against ex-members who said they had been harmed by Scientology after they left the church.

Individuals have a First Amendment right to leave a religion. We hold that once petitioners had terminated their affiliation with the Church, they were not bound to its dispute resolution procedures to resolve the claims at issue here, which are based on alleged tortious conduct occurring after their separation from the Church and do not implicate resolution of ecclesiastical issues.


(Emphasis ours.) And to make that point even stronger, the appeals court specifically cited another case, the lawsuit filed by ex-Scientologists Luis and Rocio Garcia in 2013, who alleged that they had been defrauded by Scientology while they were members.

While we find Garcia relevant to Scientology’s constitutional argument, and discuss it in that context, we recognize that the Garcias had sought the return of funds donated while they were members. The case therefore did not consider whether former members could be compelled to arbitrate claims arising from torts committed after they had left the church.

(Again, emphasis ours.) So the court recognized that Scientology could enforce its contracts on ex-members, as long as they were alleging harm that had been caused while they were still in the church. This is a central idea in the ruling and one that the court repeatedly makes in it.

And we will remind you again, the court came to this conclusion despite the fact that the attorney for the Bixler plaintiffs, Marci Hamilton, had argued at a November 6 hearing that the contracts should be null and void simply because these ex-members had left the church.

The court disagreed, but restored the lawsuit specifically because it alleges that Scientology was stalking, harassing, and even killing the pets of these former Scientologists after they had left the organization.

Naturally, however, when Scientology petitioned this ruling to the US Supreme Court last month, it made no mention at all about this distinction. Instead, Scientology is trying to gaslight the US Supreme Court by bleating like stuck pigs that its First Amendment rights are under attack because the California court ruled that its contracts are unenforceable simply because a member walks away.

Again, the appeals court went to pains to say, in several different ways, that this was not the case.

As much as we have pointed out this vital detail over and over in multiple stories, other news organizations reporting on this case almost never make the distinction, instead quoting Scientology’s language that its freedoms are under attack.

And now, Scientology has academics rallying to its cause. Two amicus briefs have been filed with the Supreme Court, urging the court to take up the case and examine its issues.

One of the amicus briefs was filed by Federalist Society member Ronald Colombo and by Emory University professor Michael Broyde, who also wrote something mischaracterizing the case for the Wall Street Journal. A second amicus brief came in from a Tennessee lawyer, Larry Crain, who runs something called the Church Law Institute.

We’re providing links to both briefs below. We will let you see for yourself that they, like Scientology in its petition, make no mention of the distinction that the appeals court was so careful to make, which said that it was not questioning a church’s rights to hold its members to contracts, or even to hold ex-members to those contracts when it comes to things that happened while they were still in the church.

Instead, all three documents — Scientology’s petition and the two amicus briefs — ignore that distinction and claim, incorrectly, that the appeals court is saying the contracts are useless as long as people can walk away from their religion.

“If former church members are permitted to ignore contractual limitations on civil litigation merely by withdrawing from the church, then the practical effect of this ruling is to render such covenantal agreements meaningless,” Crain writes in his amicus.

How’s that for some legal gaslighting.


Will these amicus briefs make any difference? It’s always hard to know. The Supreme Court receives hundreds of petitions every year and only selects a small number to take up. In any normal year, Scientology’s chances of getting the court’s interest, particularly for an appeals ruling that was “unpublished” (meaning not to be used as legal precedent in other cases) would be very small.

But this Supreme Court has shown an interest in “religious freedom” cases, and you can see in all three documents that Scientology and its friends are trying mighty hard to convince the court that a church’s freedoms have been viciously attacked by the California court. Will it work? We’ll find out in a couple of months.

Amicus brief by Broyde and Colombo.

Amicus brief by Crain.


Technology Cocktail

“We are awfully lucky to have the combination to the vault as it’s been shut thoroughly for the trillions. That’s done by a process known as R6-GPMI-or GPMs by Items. And I assure you (1) It can be done and (2) It was pure hell going it blind when I was trying to find it. It took several years and thousands of hours of research auditing to just find the pattern of it. This is the longest job (R6-GPMI) and requires now at least 14 months of daily solo auditing. And then one is 5th Stage and ready for a polish and Clear….Add to all this that one has a present time, and a body to receive the slings and arrows and one sees that it is a complex picture. But we have the way. It is the way. Many will come along selling the frightened the idea one can leap up through the numbers without pain or toil or auditing by flexing one’s chest or eating Wheaties or praying. But that isn’t the WAY. There’s no bridge there. The main point that will be stumbled on is this: Nobody has any real reality on how high up these states are or how utterly tall Clear really is.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1965


Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 9 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and Marc Headley returns to explain why he took the trouble to submit a lengthy response to a Scientologist’s nutty YouTube video. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 8 available to everyone, with Patty Moher on her career as a Scientology spy, Geoff Levin on Scientology’s celebrities, Pete Griffiths on running a mission, Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, Bruce Hines on the crazy life in the Sea Org, Jeffrey Augustine on recent Scientology court cases, Claire Headley exposing Tom Cruise, and Marc Headley on what it must be like for David Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida.. Go here to get the episodes!



Source Code

“We come along to this bird and we say, ‘Hey, bud, you’re a convict. You live on a planet called Earth; it’s part of the Marcab Confederacy….Now, is there some other planetary system, is there some other empire system which is deeper in to the heart of this galaxy which is going to backfire against this one? I would say probably yes. Probably yes. There, probably this is coming right up over the hill. I mean it probably is not long. Maybe this confederacy or this activity right now is in trouble. But conquerors nearly always spare the jails. Did you realize that? The Allied troops going in — Auschwitz, Belsen, places like that — they didn’t knock those apart. They knocked apart the belligerents’ property, but they didn’t knock apart their jails. All kinds of political situations complicate this picture.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 22, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“I’ve just okayed the recommendation to sell the Commodore Queen as unsuitable and too costly to repair. They need the Apollo and we need a new ship.” — The Commodore, August 22, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I suspect that the majority should spend time at the level of mission or field group before becoming actual Scientologists and working up the Bridge. Directly working with people on life repair services should be the #1 program for anyone and everyone. It is so obvious that the collapse of real Div 6 in the 80’s is the only reason we have failed as a group to achieve what we should have. Rectifying this is now harder but completely doable.”


Past is Prologue

2001: The St. Petersburg Times published a letter to the editor in reply to an article in which Clearwater residents described how they view the city. “Can you possibly imagine what downtown Clearwater would look like if the Church of Scientology had not restored the Fort Harrison Hotel, Coachman Building, Sand Castle, the Osceola and other properties to the pristine condition we now see them in? The Church of Scientology has brought life and citizen commitment to Clearwater and its downtown. Through the legacy of L. Ron Hubbard, church parishioners administer the extraordinarily successful literacy, drug and criminal rehabilitation programs. — Ward Wilson, Clearwater”



Random Howdy

“You should have seen me on stage. I could move, baby!”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 8: Recovering unspeakable acts from the past
[TWO years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 20: Gensler
[THREE years ago] The FBI wants recent cases of Scientology fraud? We’ve got them right here, for crissakes
[FOUR years ago] Colombian senator cites Xenu, ‘the Hole,’ in wild televised hearing about Scientology scandal
[FIVE years ago] Tonight on ‘Aftermath’: Suicide in Scientology, where sympathy and compassion are outlawed
[SIX years ago] Trump is drawing comparisons to L. Ron, but will Hillary favor Scientology as much as Bill did?
[SEVEN years ago] A revealing look inside the warped ‘kingdom’ of Scientology leader David Miscavige
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology skates (so far) as OK grand jury says ‘keep investigating’ Narconon Arrowhead
[NINE years ago] Report From the Fringe: Underground Bunker Night at The TomKat Project
[ELEVEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 18: Amy Scobee


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 2,764 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,269 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,819 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,809 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,700 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,005 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,875 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,649 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,980 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,453 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,769 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,335 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,254 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,422 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,002 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,264 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,300 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,015 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,540 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 895 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,070 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,621 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,752 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,090 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,945 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,064 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,420 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,723 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,829 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,227 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,103 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,686 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,181 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,435 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,544 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 22, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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