Attorney behind Texas vigilante abortion ban drafting similar book ban bill to sue librarians
Jonathan Mitchell, the attorney behind Texas' vigilante law that acted as an end-run around Roe v. Wade, allowing anyone to sue anyone who even assisted someone getting an illegal abortion, is now reportedly drafting legislation to not only ban "immoral" books in schools, but allow anyone to sue librarians and other school staff over the book, or even if they express support for LGBTQ people.
"Draft city ordinances allegedly written by Mitchell could lead to Texans suing librarians and others for their decisions about which books to put on shelves — or for expressing LGBTQ+ support," Axios reports.
The legislation would ban events known as "drag queen story hours," and any recognition of LGBTQ Pride month.
"The draft ordinance — a copy of which, marked privileged and confidential, was obtained by Axios — says the library may not purchase any item containing 'immoral content' or allow people in drag to read to children."
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"Librarians also may not put on the shelves any book in the young adult section that includes descriptions of nudity, 'any type of sexual act between individuals,' masturbation, cross-dressing, suicide, self-harm, or ‘excretory functions,'" Axios adds. "The draft ordinance also bars librarians and any other city employees from displaying LGBTQ+ flags or emblems — or 'tak[ing] any action that … acknowledges the month of June or any other period of time as LGBTQ Pride Month.'"
Citizens who successfully sue librarians or other school personnel can expect to win at least $10,000 per violation, plus attorney fees.
Mitchell is a former Solicitor General of Texas, appointed by then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He clerked for ant-LGBTQ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and was a Trump nominee.
Mitchell's biography at the Federalist Society's website brags about his vigilante legislation.
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"Mr. Mitchell devised the novel enforcement mechanism in the Texas Heartbeat Act, also known as Senate Bill 8, which avoids judicial review by prohibiting government officials from enforcing the statute and empowering private citizens to bring lawsuits against those who violate it," it reads. "This produced an end-run around Roe v. Wade and allowed Texas and other states to impose pre-viability abortion bans despite the continued existence of Roe."
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