A live camel and 700,000 light bulbs were part of Jeremy Morris’s spectacular holiday house display, which has been the subject of a bitter legal dispute. Morris, who goes by the name “Christmas Lawyer,” is now facing the possibility of losing his legal license. As a result of allegations that Morris characterized federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill as “corrupt” and a “anti-Christian bigot,” the Idaho State Bar is contemplating filing formal charges against him.
A huge Christmas display, including actors and a live nativity scene, was put up in Morris’s home after he moved into Kootenai County in 2015. Morris thought he was following the regulations set out by the Homeowners Association (HOA), but then he got a legal letter threatening legal action, citing concerns about the display’s religious content and its ability to draw unwelcome attention.
Morris put on his show anyhow, disregarding the warning, which set off a legal battle that lasted for over a decade. His neighbors, he claims, started yelling at him and the visitors to put a stop to the display. Morris then proceeded to sue the HOA in January 2017 on claims of religious discrimination and Fair Housing Act violations; the jury reached a verdict of unanimous consent, and Morris was awarded $75,000 as a result.
Nevertheless, Judge Winmill reversed the ruling, pointing out that Morris had broken the rules of the community instead of religious discrimination. Winmill did more than just overturn the jury’s decision; he also permanently banned Morris from having any kind of Christmas display that violated HOA guidelines and ordered him to pay $111,000 in legal fees to the HOA.
After Morris challenged the decision in 2020, he accused Winmill of bias and filed a claim for judicial misconduct in 2021. At this time, the matter is being considered by the 9th Circuit.
Morris is facing legal action from the Idaho State Bar over claims that he made derogatory comments about Winmill in a documentary and on social media. His comments denouncing Winmill as “corrupt” and a “anti-Christian bigot” were referenced by the Bar. Morris referred to their promise to drop the charges against him provided he gave up his Idaho driver’s license as a “shakedown.”
“Twas the Fight Before Christmas” is an Apple TV film based on this story. Morris expressed his dissatisfaction with the community’s lack of support when he revealed his plans to leave Idaho in February 2022.
Morris is unwavering in his acts, even if he is facing continuing legal battles. He was proud of his position and said he would do it again if given the chance, viewing it as a way to show forgiveness to people who disagreed with him and his views.