Tuesday, February 22, 2005

In a tent down by the river

Here's a great WaPo story about Thomas Van Orden, the plaintiff in the case that I'm writing a brief for, and arguing. He objects to a Ten Commandments monolith being placed on public property, arguing that it violates the Establishment Clause.

There is no question that this doesn't violate the Establishment Clause, but that doesn't really matter. The Court stopped actually reading the Constitution a long time ago. Instead, the apply extra-Constitutional tests cooked up by prior Justices.

Anyways, the WaPo story is hilarious. Of Van Orden, we learn that:

He's homeless; he's destitute; and his law license is suspended.

But never mind all that, Thomas Van Orden admonishes anyone who gets stuck on the fact that he sleeps nightly in a tent in a wooded area; showers and washes his
clothes irregularly; hangs out in a law library; and survives on food stamps and the good graces of acquaintances who give him a few bucks from time to time.

And why did Van Orden decide to challenge the monolith?
Why not him? As he likes to say, "I have time; my schedule is kind of light."

Van Orden isn't necessarily against religion:
Van Orden is a self-declared religious pluralist who was raised Methodist in East Texas and joined the Unitarian church in Austin in the 1990s. That was before he sank into a major depression that destroyed his family life and legal career and rendered him homeless. "I miss it," he said about church. "But it's hard to get up and go on Sunday morning when you live in a tent."



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