Hale files federal lawsuit against state

By Gus Bode

Hale files federal lawsuit against state

SIU School of Law graduate and racist leader Rev. Matt Hale filed a multi-million lawsuit against the state of Illinois Friday, claiming officials violated his constitutional rights when they refused to grant him a law license two years ago.

Hale, leader of the World Church of the Creator, stated in a 17-page complaint that members of the Illinois Committee on Character and Fitness conducted a Spanish Inquisition-like interrogation of his political and religious beliefs before they denied his application for a law license on June 30, 1999.

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The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois, asserts that the line of questioning and the reasoning used in final judgments of the committee represent a violation of Hale’s rights under the First and 14th Amendments.

While the committee claimed it denied his license because his views make him incapable of representing clients without bias, Hale suggested it was denied because he would not admit to them that his views are inappropriate and insulting.

In addition to the committee members, Hale has named the Illinois State Supreme Court and the Board of Illinois Bar Admissions as defendants.

The lawsuit also contends that by not reviewing his case the state Supreme Court condoned what Hale considers a violation of his rights. However, the U.S. Supreme Court did review Hale’s case and upheld the committee’s decision one year ago.

Committee Chairman Gordon L. Lustfeldt would not comment on the lawsuit when contacted by the Daily Egyptian Monday. Lustfeldt is a circuit judge in Iroquois County and said he was not even aware that a lawsuit had been filed against him.

Press Secretary of the Illinois State Supreme Court Joseph Tybor was also not aware that a lawsuit had been filed by Hale.

Representing Hale in the lawsuit is New York attorney Glenn Greenwald of the firm Greenwald, Christoph and Holland. Although Greenwald is Jewish, he said he thinks that the admitted anti-Semitic church leader was definitely wronged by the state’s decision.

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I think the denial of his law license is the most reprehensible act from the government in a long time, Greenwald said. They’re basically requesting a citizen to renounce his political views in order to have a livelihood.

Greenwald has represented Hale several times in legal action that resulted from an incident involving a member of Hale’s congregation. Two years ago, white supremacist and Hale-follower Benjamin Smith targeted minorities in Indiana and Illinois when he went on a shooting spree that killed two, including SIUC alumnus Yun Won-joon, and wounded nine. Smith then killed himself, ending a standoff with police.

The public was outraged after investigators tied Smith to Hale’s white supremacist church. The Illinois Attorney General’s office tried to make Hale submit his church’s financial records, but Greenwald had the request dismissed in court.

Families of Smith’s victims attempted to make Hale liable for the crime through civil lawsuits, but Greenwald was able to get those attempts rejected by a judge.

Now Greenwald is attempting to win millions for Hale and he said he is confident that the lawsuit will end favorably even if he doesn’t care for Hale’s racist rhetoric.

I think it’s very dangerous when anybody loses their right to express their views no matter what those views are, Greenwald said.

In a press release, Hale said he will use the lawsuit as a way of gaining compensation and finally getting his much-awaited-for law license.

The final result of the suit will see my church stronger than ever before financially, numerically and passionately, Hale said. It will see me in the courtrooms of this state as a licensed attorney battling for what I know to be right.

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