Gary, could you tell me a little about your background, and particularly your education?
I graduated from Miramonte High School in Orinda, California and went to the University of California San Diego in La Jolla. We used to call it Tinker Toy Tech—it was a science school. Originally I was seeking a degree in mathematics, but I ended up with a degree in economics and a minor in mathematics. I was two classes short of being able to have a minor in Black Studies. I took all the Black Studies courses I could because that’s where a lot of the radicals were and I wanted to get an understanding. I was very active in politics in college; those were the days of radicalism—Kent State, Vietnam, the Cambodian incursion.We had student strikes led by the left for three years in a row, and the fourth year we managed to take it over and stop it, because we learned from the left their tactics, and turned their tactics against them.
When you say “we”—was it a group?
Yes. There was a gentleman by the name of Karl Keating, who is now a well known Catholic author and does a lot of Catholic apologetics; Karl and I went to college and law school together. There were others—one is now an estate planning attorney, another is a doctor, another, Jim Sills, was very active in the pro-life movement and is a political consultant in San Diego county. We set up our own conservative group called the Associated Moderate Students. We learned from the left that every time there is a new issue you set up a new front group with a new name; most people were not smart enough to realize that it was all the same people. We called ourselves by a variety of names at different times.We set up a Young Americans for Freedom chapter on our campus; that way we could publish excerpts from Campus News Service, which was a conservative publication that you could just take articles out of and print. We set up a conservative newspaper to combat the radical newspaper.
I didn’t do so well in college because I was so busy combating the left, but when I took the Law School Admissions test I got the highest score in the history of the college, so I didn’t have a lot of trouble getting into law school. I went to the University of San Diego School of Law, and graduated in 1975. As soon as I passed the Bar I got involved in pro-life legal issues.
What kind of law do you do in addition to your conservative and pro-life work?
I have been a family law attorney for twenty-five years. I do child custody, child visitation, divorces, things like that.
I understand that you are the founder of the U.S. Justice Foundation.
Yes, I started that back in 1979 with a former national chairman of Young Americans for Freedom. We do lawsuits. We represent pro-life picketers in civil and criminal cases, we represent parents in suing schools when they object to things going on in the school system. We do taxpayer related suits—not the IRS but local taxes. The type of things we do can be found on our website— www.usjf.net. If it’s conservative we do it.
And you are also on the advisory board of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. What made you willing to do that, when you have your own organization which is doing many similar things?
I believe that organizations such as ours should work together. Before Life Legal obtained its 501(c)(3) status we served as a funding organization for them, where grants would be made to the U.S. Justice Foundation and we would pay Life Legal’s attorneys directly. We were there to assist in Life Legal Defense Foundation’s projects, by administering grants. Life Legal has also provided financial assistance in some of our cases, where they would pick up deposition costs, for example.
Has your organization worked together on any cases with Life Legal Defense Foundation?
Yes, we recently filed a brief together, along with California Public Policy Foundation, in the case of Catholic Charities in Sacramento; they are opposing the statute which would require Catholic and other church-based groups to provide abortion and related medical coverage to their employees, and would require an intrusive investigation into the beliefs of the employees in a church-related entity. The state appellate court accepted our brief and we are awaiting a decision.
We also appealed a restraining order which we thought was unconstitutional, on behalf of two defendants in the Wilkerson case. We divided up the clients; we’re representing two of them, Katie Short is representing one, and other attorneys are representing others. The court of appeals just overturned the parts of the injunction that we considered unconstitutional—parts pertaining to the content of the signs and their distance from the location. That was a nice victory for us.
We have had three straight appellate victories on pro-life cases, two on criminal and one on civil. We also give a lot of advice. We are going to do an opinion letter on two new pieces of proposed legislation. One would be a state F.A.C.E. law and one is a state bubble law; we are going to submit testimony to the state senate discussing the unconstitutional aspects of these laws. The bubble law means that they are proposing an eight-foot bubble around each high school student—that no one should come and try to hand them literature or try to talk to them unless the student gives permission. That flies in the face of recent court decisions as well as the U.S. constitution. The F.A.C.E. statute means that they are trying to create state penalties in addition to federal penalties for those found blocking access or egress to abortion clinics. We are also in litigation with several school districts over the violation of teacher or student rights—we do this on a regular basis. We are starting on a brief in a case of internet pornography. We do litigation!