“Just in the last few days, we’ve seen some glaring examples of instances of overreach,” Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee claims while speaking to a propagandist on Fox. “Ah, I mean, look, you-y-y-you’ve seen subpoenas issued, ah, to the Eagle Forum of Alabama, uh, trying to get in their subjective motivation for their efforts with the Alabama legislature on a particular bill. It’s really none of the federal government’s business. Err haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t even think any crime is being alleged ah er against the Eagle Forum of Alabama. You’ve got a Catholic father of seven who formed a group, ah, designed to e-encourage, ah ah, young men to be faithful to their commitments who was arrested in front of his seven children just recently. [“Wow,” the Fox hostess interjects in muted reaction.]. You’ve got all these instances of overreach.”
So let’s look into these two cases brought up by Lee: In Alabama, the Department of Justice subpoenaed Eagle Forum’s documents; the Eagle Forum is a far-right, anti-personal freedom organization that claims to promote “conservative values” but actually lobbies for oppressive, bigoted laws to punish people they don’t agree with. The subpoena sought draft legislation it presented to Alabama legislators, on a law passed by the state that would bar physicians from treating trans patients under the age of 19 with puberty blockers, hormones and surgery. The law is currently blocked from being enforced by a federal judge’s order. (To show how spurious the law is, the federal government didn’t object to the ban on gender-affirming surgery on minors because there’s not a single case in Alabama of a minor having such surgery.) Contrary to Lee’s assertion that the issue i a “state’s rights” issue, blocking medical care from patients is actually a civil and human rights issue, which the federal government is enforcing. The federal subpoena for records is part of an investigation into illegal lobbying efforts undertaken to target LGBTQ people, a federally-protected class of minorities.
Lee is far more dishonest about the case of the good ol’ Catholic man with seven kids. He’s referring to 48-year-old Pennsylvanian Mark Houck, who was arrested by federal agents this week after twice assaulting a 72-year-old man who was serving as an escort for patients entering and exiting a Bucks County reproductive health clinic. With one of his lauded seven children in tow, Houck confronted his victim twice as the man guided patients through a phalanx of protestors seeking to harass and intimidate, shoving the 72-year-old man to the ground on two separate occasions, with local police failing to take Houck into custody after the first assault. The arrest warrant has nothing to do with any group Houck was involved with and is directly connected to his physical assault on an elderly man. But to Lee, a conservative should never be held accountable for assault, whether it’s against a volunteer at a health clinic or against police officers defending the Capitol.