Owner of civil war reenactment business sues school district that canceled field trips after his far-right social media came to light

Of you switched up the name order it would be Forgoelaw.com, which almost sounds like the advice these lawyers should have taken.


I suspect that he thinks he can make a case that this is an example of government “making a law” that “abridges his privileges”. (That’s the only portion of the 14th that is remotely relevant, since this is an act by the school district, which is a government body. The trick is it’s not a legislative body so it’s not making law, just determining how to execute policy. But 14th amendment nutbars think that the 14th amendment means “well-off white people should get what they want when they want it”.)

What he’s going to discover is what every small business owner should learn - don’t have a personal social media account, hire a professional to manage the social media account for your business, and keep your personal politics to yourself. Freedom of association is one of the freedoms that we all have - and outside of monopolies business owners have no power to compel us to give them custom. Especially entertainment venues that rely on customers spending their discretionary income - or in his case schools providing subsidies for “educational field trips” - to stay afloat.

Just because the First Amendment gives you the right to say (almost) anything you want, doesn’t mean that you should.


Riley has sued Claremont Unified and various officials (trustees, principals and a superintendant), seeking $10m in damages for violations to his 1st and 14th Amendment rights. Other school districts are investigating whether they will continue to send their students to Riley’s Farm, and Riley has pledged to “[put more] fear in public officials.”

What does he not get? He has the right to be an asshole, nothing more. He does not have the right to government contracts while being an asshole.

Riley’s court filings say that his farm brings in $4.2m/year, with half of that coming from school groups. He’s said he will sell his farm to fund appeals.

Great! Hopefully, he can go bankrupt, auction off the farm to a non-asshole, and school trips can continue unabated.


He must believe schools are literally stealing from him in order to make a very tortured 14th Amendment claim.


It would be nice if one of the many news organisations reporting on this would actually provide the pleadings in question.

However, I was able to find this:

Yay, we need speculate no more…


His lawyers should be disbarred for making this filing. Plantif seeks to compel the school district to patronize his business, further, there’s no claim that the school district has/had a contract with the farm. And this “conspiracy” claim is just bizarre.


historically-themed activities such as tomahawk throwing

Ah! So it was a place to learn “history”…

Fight for your home and land as a Southerners, or uphold the Union and fight to keep the country together as a Northerner.

Yeah, this place has no problems at all. /s


The filing I linked to has a copy of the script for their mock trial, apparently intended to stimulate discussion about the iniquities of British Admiralty courts and debate about fair trials, etc.

It seems pretty excruciating (if apparently well-meant).

Also for someone who called schoolchildren ‘pussies’ for taking part in a demonstration about gun control, claiming at least $800,000 for “mental and emotional distress” is pretty funny.


Californian history is so full of Civil War battles too.

I can’t imagine that there might be any kind questionable sub-texts to his re-enactments of the noble Lost Cause of the South. /s


IANAL, but I skimmed that looking for where the 14th amendment claims are made and I don’t see them. I see him claiming violations of his First Amendment rights but the 14th is only listed at the top of the document. It’s almost as if his lawyer was drafting it and realized halfway through that as ludicrous as the First Amendment claims he was making were, he couldn’t figure out how to make the 14th claims at all and just gave up.


He was also very concerned about Warren’s “cultural appropriation” while he was running tomahawk classes taught by white people…

The widespread perception that Massachusetts Senator …in a clumsy act of “cultural appropriation” by a quintessentially plain-vanilla New Englander, which Mr. Riley ridiculed with a send-up of how that sort of person might try to mimic stereotyped Native American folkways;

I’m sure that “send-up” was super culturally sensitive and not racist itself. /s

In any case…

Anyone who runs Civil War reenactments that don’t mention the word “slavery” are not reputable sources for history education.


It’s just “the First Amendment is incorporated against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment”.

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Depending on the season, Riley’s Farm employs between 28 and 163 full- and part-time workers of diverse backgrounds,

Perhaps someone is looking into whether all his employees have legal residency?


“LeBron James”? I thought he played basketball? He’s part of the Black Supremacy conspiracy? Is that why I see people call him a GOAT? Is that some sort of title?

Also, apple picking and camping and watching a fake battle sounds like it would be hella fun for some city kids. Too bad this guy is a Class A Level 9000 douche. :confused:


Taking part too apparently.

“Toward the end of the day, the (now well-trained) small groups may join for a reenactment of a skirmish between “Minutemen” and “Redcoats.”

It does sound fun.


Maybe he was thinking of this one?


That seems to be what they think all of the amendments mean.


If I had a business that generated that much money from any type of government source like that I would be super-careful about all my public statements about race. White guys just can’t win with almost any kind of comment, and should realize that. Most government entities, certainly including LA’s public schools, are very diverse, their spending decisions are usually beyond review, they can’t effectively be sued, and you sure don’t want to offend anyone who is a customer who spends millions of dollars a year.
That said… Civil War reenactments… yeah what did anyone expect.
This guy should sell his farm and retire. IANAL but I have a feeling his suit is futile.

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What does that mean, exactly?


@jer_j_morris and @RickMycroft

I think it’s all part of this kind of stuff:


with thanks to @xeni for posting about the decision.

A unanimous decision about the unconstitutionality of disproportionate civil forfeiture, where Gorsuch and Thomas file concurring opinions basically just to say that they disagree about that it’s the due process clause of the 14th Amendment that’s relevant, it’s actually the privileges clause.

It seems to be a bit of a libertarian bugbear.

See this for example: