Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not Their Boy/Girl

This Blog's posting of 31 July 2006, entitled "He's Not Our Boy," spotlighted attempts by various Jewish groups to distance themselves from convicted bribepayer Jack Abramoff, and by CAIR to distance itself from Seattle terrorist Naveed Afzal Haq.

Now, the Catholic League is doing similar with respect to Rhiannon O'Donnabhain, the the gender bender who now seeks an income tax deduction for the sex reversal surgery he/she paid for. The word on the street is that O'Donnabhain was the taxpayer to whom IRS Chief Counsel Memorandum 200603025 was addressed, as discussed in this Blog's post "Taxman or Taxwoman" (24 January 2006).

The Catholic League, to be sure, is a well-reputed Catholic civil rights organization which this posting does not purpose to trash. The CL in general, and its President, William A. Donohue, in particular, have earned a reputation for calling matters as they see them, and, indeed, they make some calls which need to be made.

As an example, the latest posting from the CL website throws a flag on Florida attorney Loring Spolter's motion for the recusal of U.S. District Judge William Zloch in a DUI case which Spolter is defending. Spolter's basis for the recusal motion is that Judge Zloch is overly biased towards Catholics and Catholicism, and his "proof" is that Zloch is a supporter of Ave Maria Law School, of which two of his clerks are alumni.

Though Ave Maria Law School is unabashedly a Catholic institution, it does accept students of all faiths, and does have a diverse faculty. Geography is the sole reason I have not applied for a faculty position there. If my own experience obtaining a degree from another Catholic institution is any indication, I don't see where Ave Maria's Catholic orientation would adversely affect its ability to impart a fine legal education to students of whatever religious background. And I do believe that Judge Zloch is perfectly capable of adjudicating the case without regard to any party's religious orientation. The Catholic League has, then, appropriately blown the whistle on Spolter.

Bill Donahue's hackles were raised by an article in Tax Notes which reported that Rhiannon O'Donnabhain was "born into an Irish-Catholic Boston family." Donahue did what he has been conditioned to do -- he wrote a letter to the Editor of Tax Notes, which Tax Notes published yesterday ["Catholic Group Questions Religious and Ethnic Identification in Article," Tax Notes, Aug. 20, 2007, p. 699, 2007 TNT 162-34 (Doc 2007-19017).]. In his letter Donahue implores "Can you tell me why the man's ancestry and the religion in which he was raised were identified in the piece? It does not seem as if the man's Irish-Catholic background is relevant to the story. Would Tax Notes Today mention if he were an Ashkenazi Jew or a Scottish Presbyterian?"

Tax Notes pointed out that O'Donnabhain's attorney publicly distributed literature mentioning O'Donnabhain's Irish Catholic upbringing, and that O'Donnabhain himself/herself mentioned this in his/her testimony at the trial. O'Donnabhain, then, has opened the door and made the matter relevant.

And so, the Catholic League now implicitly seeks to disclaim O'Donnabhain as one of their own, just as Jewish groups have tried to jettison Abramoff, and just as CAIR has tried to hide Haq under a burqa.

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