Fr. Biondi sure can pick 'em.
You may recall the dust-up four years ago when basketball coach Rick Majerus attended an event for pro-abortion candidate Hillary Clinton, and made public statements in favor of abortion rights. Cardinal Burke rightly pointed out that a Catholic university employee of his public stature caused scandal by doing so, and opined he should be disciplined by SLU. Not surprisingly, Biondi ignored him, and nothing was done.
Fast forward four years. In the wake of the resignation of SLU Law School Dean Annette Clark, Fr. Biondi hired Illinois personal injury lawyer Thomas Keefe. I have to say that, based on published reports alone, this guy is 10,000 times more embarrassing than Majerus.
To begin with, right after the hire, several outlets, including Lifesite News, reported that Keefe had represented a woman in a so-called "wrongful life" suit. She claimed that she was wrongly denied the right to kill her baby because she didn't know about some of the baby's health problems.
The public revelation of this representation might have embarrassed a Catholic law school. No problem for SLU.
Now in a published interview with Missouri Lawyers Weekly, excerpts from which can be read here, Keefe sure does his best to make a fool of himself, and by extension, the man who hired him and the school itself. Brace yourself for real lawyer talk:
At a Jesuit university with a history of clamping down on employees who make statements in opposition to Catholic teachings (SLC note: Ha!), Keefe is an outspoken Democrat, prone to quotable zingers and uncensored insights. So when he made it clear that he was thrilled about U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s troubles for statements about abortion, Keefe wasn’t worried who knew.
“Does that sound like somebody who is Father Biondi’s butt boy?” he asked.
During a nearly two-hour interview with Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the terms “butt boy,” “trained monkey” and “yes man” cropped up many times as examples of what Keefe said he has been called and what he adamantly says he is not.
“[Biondi] can’t afford me. … I get to make way too much money lawyering to be his trained monkey. He doesn’t have enough money to do that, and he doesn’t want to.”
“I’m an important alumni. I’m a source of future funding. Why in the heck would I step and fetch for a guy who wants my money?”
More of the same here:
Keefe proudly declared his political leanings, including donations to one political party.
“I mean, I am a Democrat. Am I allowed to say I’m a Democrat?” he said. “Well, if I’m Father Biondi’s butt boy I guess that’s going to get me in trouble.”
At the time of Keefe’s conversation with Missouri Lawyers Weekly, on Tuesday evening, political junkies were waiting to see if Missouri congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin would bow out of the Senate race on the heels of his controversial statement that “legitimate rape” doesn’t cause pregnancy.
Akin had backpedaled on his comments after a media firestorm, but those clarifications did not satisfy Keefe, he said.
“When’s [Akin] going to say something about the mother, for Christ’s sake?"
Like many Democrats, Keefe said he was hopeful Akin would stay in the race.
“That’s why I say to myself over and over again, thank you God for Todd Akin. There is a God. We might actually keep control of the Senate,” Keefe said. “Does that sound like somebody who’s Father Biondi’s butt boy?”
You might wonder what Fr. Biondi would think of this guy who has so little respect for him, the school, his profession, and--last but not least-- the teachings of his Church. But, see, his attitude mirrors Fr. Biondi's response to Cardinal Burke four years ago:
“I don’t like coats, ties and authority. I don’t do well taking orders,” Keefe said.
Just the right guy for a formerly Catholic school that is now a local and national joke.