Sen. Brownback Wants to Stop Litigants in Establishment Clause Cases from Collecting Fees

Senator Sam Brownback reintroduced a bill that would prevent activist groups from collecting attorney's fees from towns and cities in cases related to the Establishment Clause in the Constitution.

According to the Presidential aspirant, legal activist groups recover hundreds of thousands of dollars from state and local governments because of a provision in a 1976 Civil Rights law.

The Civil Rights Attorney Fees Awards Act was originally designed to help underpriviledged plaintiffs get representation. Groups that win a lawsuit related to the Establishment Clause of the Constitution are also entitled to compensation.

"It is not fair for the taxpayers to pay the legal bills for the likes of the ACLU," said the Republican Senator. "Currently many small towns comply with the demands of the ACLU rather than risk going to trial and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to the ACLU if they lose the case."

The bill, entitled the Public Expressions of Religion Act would require parties in Establishment Clause cases to pay their own attorney's fees.

Sen. Brownback went on to assure that, "(t)he legislation I introduced today would still allow plaintiffs with legitimate claims to have their day in court. However, it would prevent local cities and towns from being coerced into settling claims out of fear of huge monetary losses."