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June 22, 2004

Michael Newdow Ordered To Pay His Ex's Attorney's Fees

Michael Newdow is having a bad week. On the same day he lost his Pledge case in front of the Supreme Court, a California court has ordered him to pay his ex-girlfriend's attorney's fees, which exceed $300,000. That's what he gets for running her through a revolving door of custody litigation in his quest to get 50-50 custody.

Michael Newdow is using the court system as a sledgehammer to pound his ex-girlfriend over the head when she won't buckle down and do what he demands. He said in a KCRA Channel article that believes the ruling violates his right to free speech. He said regarding his ex-girlfriend that "this woman has a right to go into my bank account and use that money to keep me from my child." He also went before a family law judge in additional litigation because his ex-girlfriend would not allow him to take their daughter to Washington in March to watch him argue the Pledge case. This guy, in his quest for his 15 minutes of fame and his bullying over child custody, sought to drag that girl into the middle of his Pledge fight. Imagine the publicity that poor child would have been subjected to if reporters had been able to reach her?

Ironically, Jill Hersh, a California family law attorney, said that the court's decision "reflects a policy that the litigants in custody disputes should be on equal footing." This is ironic because Newdow has claimed that the Best Interest of the Child standard is unconstitutional because it supposedly violates the standard of equal protection under the law. He didn't seem to be pleased with an "equal protection" ruling regarding attorney's fees when the ruling didn't go his way. No, he doesn't think it's equal protection in this case. He thinks it's money unfairly siphoned from his bank account to allow his ex-girlfriend to keep him from his daughter.

I have seen this kind of excessive litigious behavior before from fathers' rights activists, but nothing quite as public as Newdow's actions have received so much negative publicity in recent news accounts. I hope that Newdow's excessive and harassing litigation will bring some much-needed attention to all that is rotten about the fathers' rights movement. That there has been so much written about Newdow around Father's Day was a good thing.

Posted on June 22, 2004 at 06:07 PM | Permalink

Comments

All the elaborate legalisms and arguments are not so good at covering the basic argument--that that he has a basic right to purchase and maintain control over his ex-girlfriend.
Seriously, I am amazed at how much effort we humans can put towards trying to exert control over people we claim to feel nothing for....

Posted by: Amanda at Jun 22, 2004 10:02:10 PM

Havning power over someone else isn't about them, it is about the
one who has or feels s/he has the power. It is self-gratification, and
the other person is mererely the tool.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at Jun 23, 2004 7:37:31 AM

Gee - another strawman for you to trot out. While you are at it, why not trot out OJ Simpson and Scott Peterson as representative of the FR movement while you are at it.

Saying that this guy represents the mainstream of the FR movement is a little like saying Dworkin is mainstream feminism

Have your fun with this. It is well deserved (anyone who goes through such lengths in persuit of atheism is a little nuts, in my book - if I were his ex-gf, I would think twice about this guy myself). That said, his is just one over-amplified voice in the movement. There are lots of men in the movement who wish he would just shut the hell up.

Posted by: souraaron at Jun 23, 2004 11:07:04 AM

Gee - another strawman for you to trot out. While you are at it, why not trot out OJ Simpson and Scott Peterson as representative of the FR movement.

Saying that this guy represents the mainstream of the FR movement is a little like saying Dworkin is mainstream feminism

Have your fun with this. It is well deserved (anyone who goes through such lengths in persuit of atheism is a little nuts, in my book - if I were his ex-gf, I would think twice about this guy myself). That said, his is just one over-amplified voice in the movement. There are lots of men in the movement who wish he would just shut the hell up.

Posted by: souraaron at Jun 23, 2004 11:07:59 AM

Trish did point out earlier that the FR movement wants him to shut up--because he's an atheist, though.

Posted by: Amanda at Jun 23, 2004 2:33:43 PM

Apparently, Newdow's favorite weapon to use when he doesn't get his way is the court system. Family law professor Catherine Ross called Newdow a "litigious idiot" in an article by Ellen Goodman. Everything he's said about joint custody and how "unfair" the court system is is nothing different from what I've heard fathers' rights activists say (the ones who support joint custody, that is.). I doubt that being forced to pay his ex-girlfriend's legal fees will make him knock it off with his frivolous and harassing litigation against her, but it will at least cool his jets some for a little while.

Souraaron, a better comparison than O. J. and Scott Peterson is Elian Gonzalez. O. J. and Peterson don't have anything in their cases that would lend themselves to being "strawmen." ;)

Amanda, I don't think the fathers' rights movement wants Newdow to shut up. I just don't think they've taken a strong position on him. They certainly aren't riding his coat tails for publicity purposes the way they did the Elian Gonzalez case. In my opinion it's because of his atheist views. A lot of fathers' rights activists support religious right points of view. Newdow seems to be liberal, too, which goes against the right wing, conservative bend of quite a few of the grassroots groups.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Jun 23, 2004 5:03:27 PM

"anyone who goes through such lengths in persuit of atheism is a little nuts, in my book - if I were his ex-gf, I would think twice about this guy myself"

Yes, what a crack pot, trying to fix a violation of the First Amendment! Doesn't he know that the First Amendment was repealed?? Silly atheist. Convert to Christianity and then maybe the court will listen to you.

Posted by: Jebus at Jun 24, 2004 5:56:25 PM

lol..Excellent retort, Trish.

Posted by: Daniel at Jun 24, 2004 6:55:48 PM

The court system for Family Law is a joke in California,
I'm having my own trouble.... My story of how bad this
legal system is in California is the Bridget Marks story
all over again.... how is it that a 2 time convicted Domestic
Violece affender gets custody of my son.... why??? Is it
because he has more money than I do???? Is it because he
has paid off my son's attorney??? Because he's bought the
private evaluator???? We had six other evaluations in the
Family Court services in Sacramento and none of them went
his way and this one does?? can anyone help or give me some
suggestions.....

Posted by: Terry F at Jul 9, 2004 10:21:38 PM

There is no statement of "Seperation of church and state" in any historical government
documents. It is a bullshit phrase contrived to force atheism on the world...

Posted by: lol at Jan 15, 2005 10:24:54 AM

"Gee - another strawman for you to trot out. While you are at it, why not trot out OJ Simpson and Scott Peterson as representative of the FR movement.

Saying that this guy represents the mainstream of the FR movement is a little like saying Dworkin is mainstream feminism."


Michael Newdow IS very representative of the mainstream of the fathers' rights movement... Actually he is very representative of custodial fathers in general...many once they get custody (before, during and after) litigate for years over every single issue from time of pickups to how many minutes a mothers' phone call should be if she wants to contact her child...

For example, Ron Perlman and Patricia Duff are STILL ligating in court; as ever since Perlman won custody he has attempted to interfere with Patricia Duff seeing her daughter...Their last issue a few months ago was over time and duration of telephone calls...Patricia Duff's daughter is about 9 years old now btw...and this has been going on for years.

AND anybody who think that Bridget Marks' case is ending anytime soon is very misinformed... Actually her kids, like Patricia Duff's and many many other more ordinary women will age out of the system...that's when it will end...

AND this is very very common and very very representative of men in the fathers rights movement and what custodial fathers do in general...


Posted by: NYMOM at Jan 15, 2005 1:18:03 PM

"Amanda, I don't think the fathers' rights movement wants Newdow to shut up."

Probably now they do because he's an embarrassment to them...but not because he litigates too much...they encourage this constant litigation and many of their sites have lawyers who provide services for free to help them find ways to litigate everything from telephone calls to child support enforcement...

One thing they do constantly is provide information to men to handle their own cases like what Newdow does...I bet you he got his initial info and knowledge from one of these sites...one of the most popular topics, btw, is how to re-open a custody case, when there has been no change in circumstances...probably this freedom from religion STARTED as an attempt to re-open the custody case and has now morphed into something else completely...

Posted by: NYMOM at Jan 15, 2005 1:25:15 PM

The Newdow case has the mens/fathers rights movements' footprints all over it...it's straight from their standard playbook...and if a book is ever written about this, I am sure it will come out that Newdow originally either belonged to or sought information from one of their groups to get started...

Posted by: NYMOM at Jan 15, 2005 1:28:56 PM

Michael Newdow is an atheist. Fathers' rights activists lean towards the religious right, so he isn't likely to be a fathers' rights poster boy for them.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Jan 15, 2005 3:05:53 PM

No...but he's their Frankenstein monster...

Created by them, then turning against the creators...

Classic...

Posted by: NYMOM at Jan 15, 2005 3:13:16 PM

Yup, he's very litigious, but as far as I can tell fathers' rights activists haven't picked up on his promotion for joint custody - probably because he's an atheist.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Jan 15, 2005 3:31:09 PM

Why, oh why, is it the wackaloon atheists whose cases get certiorari?

"Separation of church and state" is indeed present in government documents. We call those 'precedent.'

Posted by: mythago at Jan 16, 2005 12:44:20 PM

Mythago, I think it's the wackaloons that get the press coverage because they're so wackaloony. I'm sure there have been other cases where atheists have brought cases to court. Maybe not the U. S. Supreme Court, but state courts.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Jan 16, 2005 1:07:28 PM