The poison pen and personality of Judge Michael Ponsor

First published 5/27/24

I’ve never laughed so hard in my life as when I read The Gateway Pundit story on Massachusetts Federal Judge Michael Ponsor accusing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito of unethical conduct for supposedly flying his U.S. flag upside down during the J6 excitement. Leaving aside the fact that Justice Alito has proffered a very plausible explanation for why his wife (not he) flew the flag that way over a political argument with a nasty liberal neighbor who called her a “c**t” – which Ponsor simply ignored as if the reigning leftist narrative was proven fact – it’s simply hilarious for this left-wing wing-nut political activist in black robes to call anyone unethical.

Ponsor is the judge who abused his power and sacrificed the dignity of his courtroom to put me through a legal meat-grinder for four years on the preposterous charge that I was guilty of “Crimes Against Humanity” for nothing more than speaking against the LGBT agenda in Uganda in 2009 in reasoned, civilized and compassionate terms. At best Ponsor allowed a team of lawyers (that peaked at 14, led by his former law clerk) to wage, and at worst personally orchestrated from the shadows, politically motivated lawfare against me as legally bankrupt and ethically repugnant as anything currently being waged against President Trump.

The case was named – no-joke – SMUG v. Lively after its plaintiff “Sexual Minorities Uganda,” and was prosecuted by the grossly misnamed Marxist law firm “Center for Constitutional Rights” (CCR) headquartered – no joke – at 666 Broadway in Manhattan. CCR had years before pioneered the use of a little-known 1789 federal law called the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) to drag foreign defendants (usually multinational corporations) into U.S. federal courts for “serious violations of international law” if they had any branch or office inside the U.S. CCR created its own industry for “shaking down” such defendants in service to its left-wing political agenda, but its ever more “creative” use of the ATS got so far out of hand that sometime prior to the filing of SMUG v. Lively in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review it’s misuse (obviously to serious court-watchers with the intent to end it.)

Knowing their golden goose was about to get cooked, CCR stretched its already legally flimsy interpretation of the ATS beyond all reason to argue that my speech activities in Uganda, which immediately preceded the tabling of what the left called the “Kill the Gays Bill,” were the proximate cause of that bill, supposedly making me legally responsible for the alleged civil rights abuses that followed. Anyone with the tiniest hint of legal training knows this is a ridiculous premise: Even outright incitement to violence (which I was never accused of and have never been guilty of) – can NOT be the legal cause of actions taken by any duly constituted legislative body – especially a national congress. It’s even more ridiculous to suggest it can be the legal cause of the independent alleged actions of strangers allegedly motivated by the legislation. To hold otherwise, such as Judge Ponsor did in refusing to dismiss this case early on, is a gross abuse of power that delegitimizes the court.

The SMUG case was premised on the assertion that alleged civil rights abuses against Ugandan “gays” by people I’d never met represented “serious violations of international law” sufficient to invoke the Alien Tort Statute against me. Yet this assertion compounded the absurdity of the case because, except for one example, the few “civil rights abuses” cited in the complaint were low-level and garden variety – the stuff that typically occupies municipal Human Rights Commissions here in the U.S. The only truly serious incident cited was the brutal murder of SMUG founder David Kato in early January 2011, presumably at the hands of a “homophobic” bigot. The worst week of my life was suffering the relentless pounding of the global leftist media, which claimed Kato’s blood was on my hands. No amount of personal confidence in the sound logic of one’s innocence of such a charge can neutralize the emotional toll of such a smear campaign.

But, in answer to my fervent prayers to God for vindication, David Kato’s murderer was caught a few days later by the police. The killer was 22-year-old gay prostitute Sidney Nsubuga Enoch whom Kato had bailed out of jail to be his live-in lover and houseboy. Enoch bashed his brains in with a hammer over Kato’s alleged failure to pay him for services rendered. The whole SMUG case including this sordid mess is chronicled in pictures here.

A Ugandan court found Enoch guilty and sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment, while the leftist media simply dropped the story like a hot potato without a single retraction or apology – leaving their poisonous accusations against me to spread and fester in the public mind. That incited such great and lasting hatred against me I feared for months I might be assassinated – and I even went on “The Daily Show” to let Jon Stewart mock me on national TV in the belief that letting the left laugh at me would vent some of their volcanic malice. That seemed to have worked, mostly, but to this day, more than a decade later, I still get the occasional death threat and hate mail calling me a murderer – and a (thankfully shrinking) percentage of the conservative media and leadership still keeps me at arms length: such is the power of character assassination by the professionals.

But back to the SMUG case, which was filed a year later in 2012 but nevertheless cited the Kato murder as the primary evidence against me – without any mention of the trial and conviction of his “gay” lover. And Ponsor let that stand, without criticism or correction of the record! Let that sink in.

By the grace of God and the courage of the Christian lawyers at Liberty Counsel, I had a defense more than adequate to my need in the SMUG case. And that need was great. We should have easily won the case with our Motion to Dismiss early on. Indeed, in the oral argument before Ponsor with media in attendance he was the picture of reason – explaining that the underlying statute was before the Supreme Court and in the event it was struck down SMUG’s case would be moot. But months later, after SCOTUS did strike it down, Ponsor moved the goal posts and kept the SMUG case alive – making it the only one of the many affected cases nationally that was not immediately dismissed. That allowed the SMUG legal team to put me through the discovery process – which was as invasive and nasty as could be – but proved beyond a doubt their allegations were baseless.

After four years of foot dragging by Ponsor, Liberty Counsel filed a motion that forced him to either rule or allow us to appeal the lack of a ruling. He then did what he was always legally obligated to do: dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction (because the ATS was no longer operable). BUT what typically would have been a single line or paragraph announcing the dismissal was written like a ruling against me. I doubt he even wrote it himself it was so childish and polemical – like a guest opinion in a junior college newspaper, filled with invective and irrationality. Yet, on its face it looked like the official ruling of a federal court, so when the lead SMUG attorney publicly stated they would use this “ruling” in foreign courts to go after pro-family activists like me, we were ethically obligated to appeal our “win” to prevent that strategy from harming other Christians in foreign jurisdictions who would not realize the rhetoric in the “ruling” was not legally binding. After another 18 months – and a total of $1.5 million spent by Liberty Counsel over the full six and a half years – we finally got the federal appeals court to put that in writing, so finally the case was over.

In a major spiritual twist, three days prior to that final event, Val Kalende, Kato’s successor as head of SMUG in Uganda contacted my attorney to say she had accepted Christ, repented of lesbianism and wanted to apologize to Scott Lively for everything SMUG and its attorneys had done to me.

I’m still waiting for an apology from the person most responsible for my ordeal: Judge Michael Ponsor, the ethicist.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.