Tell me about your education and legal background.
I graduated from Pepperdine University in 1983 with a degree in political science, then attended McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, graduating in 1986. I worked three years for Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemen and Girard, a large Sacramento firm, where I represented public agencies. I then did personal injury and business litigation at McKinley, Gay and Keitges for five years; in 1994 the senior partner, Bill McKinley, and I started our own firm where we continue in the same specialty.
How did you begin doing pro-life work?
While at Kronick I defended pro-life demonstrators, mostly picketers. I also provided legal analysis to legislative committees engaged in drafting legislation which required abstinence instruction as part of all public school sex education programs. I also worked on religious liberties issues with the Christian Legal Society, both during and after law school.
You were the attorney in a case many of our readers will remember, in which a pro-life pregnancy center was denied funding for abstinence education by the California Department of Health, at least in part because of their pro-life stance. What is the current state of that case?
It has been resolved by settlement. We were not able to seek damages or to compel the state to fund the pregnancy center. We sought declaratory relief in the form of a statement that they should not have done what they did and that they would not in the future deny funding to organizations because of their applicant’s pro-life beliefs or religious affiliations. Although they would not agree to the first statement, they have agreed to the second.
Will this settlement have ramifications for the future?
It will help prevent the state from penalizing organizations which apply for abstinence education grant funds, such as crisis pregnancy centers, for taking a pro-life stance. In the case of the Escondido Pregnancy Center three state reviewers had specifically marked down their application because of their pro-life position.
What is your evaluation of the abstinence legislation?
It was so poorly worded that it allowed people with goals opposite to abstinence to get funding. All the publicity made it sound as if it would fund abstinence education, when in fact the funding was able to go to organizations that only “included” abstinence in their program, in however minor a way.