On February 28, 2019, Federal District Court Judge David O. Carter upheld the United States Constitution and stood strong in support of the 1st Amendment when he declared that the United States Government could not seize and ban the use of the Mongols Motorcycle Club’s patch. At stake was the essence of the 1st Amendment- the ability to freely wear expressive symbolic speech.
Judge Carter got it right. In his 51-page order, the Court called out the U.S. government on its previous public promise to “take the jacket right off of the back” of Mongols members, and further declared that the “Government has not been forthright with this Court and the public”. Essentially, Judge Carter pointed his judicial finger at U.S. Attorney Steven Welk, and branded him a liar, without saying those exact words. The Court saw through the hollow argument that the Mongols should trust the Government not to violate their civil rights, while at the same time asking the Court to give them the power to do just that. It was a ridiculous and disingenuous request by U.S. Attorney Welk, and the Court was not fooled.
After receiving the news that his decade-long fight to ban the symbolic speech of motorcycle clubs violated the 1st Amendment, U.S. Attorney Welk left the courtroom without saying a word, and with a look on his face reminiscent of a spoiled child. His white-haired crew cut seems to radiate an aura of bad decisions and mother’s disappointment. Just the day before, Steve Welk, upset that Attorney Stephen “Bowtie” Stubbs called him out publicly by authoring an article that called out his deceptive court tactics, sent an email to the court to cry and whine about it. It was sad, really. Sad that an attorney that represents our great country would act so infantile and childish. Sad that his grand ego is so fragile that he cannot withstand even the slightest criticism- no matter how true. So sad.
In addition to rejecting the Government’s attempt to ban symbolic speech on 1st Amendment grounds, Judge Carter also stood strong in defense of the 8th Amendment. Pointing out that “the jury found that the Government did not prove the requisite nexus between the collective membership marks and the substantive RICO offense”, the Court ruled that seizing the Mongol’s patch in this case would “violate the 8th Amendment’s excessive fines clause.” Judge Carter correctly found that the seizing of the patch would “set a dangerous precedent that enables the Government to target association symbols of organizations it chooses to prosecute for RICO conspiracy.”
Bravo, Judge Carter. Thank you for standing strong to defend the Constitution and hold off tyranny. Thank you for seeing past the dishonest and empty promises of the U.S. Attorney’s office and the U.S. Government. Because of your sound judgement, the Government does not have the power to ban symbolic speech. Of course, the Government will likely appeal, and the fight will continue. Still, for now, motorcycle club members don’t have to keep looking over their shoulders and wonder whose patch is next.