pants on fire

Why Is This Law Professor Lying Her Face Off to D.C. City Council About Marriage?


Robin F. Wilson, a professor and attorney fighting against marriage equality in D.C., apparently lied her face off about case law when she wrote a letter to the D.C. City Council, and then published an op-ed column in the Washington Post, to make her point about granting broader religious exemptions. Guess who caught her in the act? Councilman David Catania, who’s the lead on marriage equality, who promptly “fired off a letter to Wilson [Thursday] morning demanding she recant her previous testimony. To make his point, Catania sent a copy of his letter to Robert A. Smolla, the president of Washington & Lee, and Rodney A. Smolla, the dean of the law school. He also copied the letter to the Chief Disciplinary Council for the State Bar of Texas, where Wilson is licensed to practice law.” Ouch!

Her excuse for lying to the D.C. Council? “They talked to me 45 minutes, it’s possible I misstated something. But the bigger proposition, the one that is important, is that” there should be a broader religious exemption.” That is: It’s okay to lie, if you really, really believe in your position.

Here’s the letter in full (PDF), but Washington City Paper grabs some of Catania’s best lines, including this one:

‘Your misunderstanding apparently led you to claim that “circuit after federal circuit” has found that Title VII requires that police departments allow police officers to refuse to guard places that violate their religious beliefs such as abortion clinics and casinos. You even told Councilmember Jim Graham that this result “may be absurd, but it is the law under Title VII.” Professor Wilson, this is clearly not the law in the Seventh Circuit, the only circuit on which your testimony at the hearing relied. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has made clear that the “undue burden” test you cite is a “de minimus” standard. I find it outrageous that you would claim otherwise.’

[Washington Post, Washington City Paper]