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September 21, 2005

Pro-life group continues to fight frivolous lawsuit

From AgapePress...

Thomas More Law Center trial counsel Edward White III says the reduction of punitive damages in Planned Parenthood v. The American Coalition of Life Activists is a good first step. Still, he says precedent rulings in two recent cases will lead him to ask for reconsideration of issues related to the 1999 guilty verdicts against his clients.

The case of Planned Parenthood v. The American Coalition is based entirely on the publication of two Old West-style wanted posters and a non-party's website, which were alleged to be threats against the named abortionists, in violation of the law. The charges against the pro-lifers concerned the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance (FACE) and Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) acts.

The Thomas More Law Center entered the case on behalf of several of the defendants after the unfavorable 1999 jury verdict. The case has had a long history in the courts: after the original verdict, an appeal went to the Ninth Circuit in 2001, and a three-judge panel unanimously set aside the earlier ruling, citing the First Amendment's protection of free speech. However, a sharply divided 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit overturned that decision in 2002 in a 6-5 vote.

The Supreme Court refused to review the case and returned it to the district court to reconsider its punitive damages award. The district court found the $108.5 million award to be appropriate, but the Ninth Circuit, earlier this month, disagreed and reduced the amount by 96 percent.

I'm so glad there are groups like the Thomas More Law Center, the ACLJ, Liberty Counsel and the many others that are helping people fight the ACLU's attack on Christians. If you've never donated to any of these groups, consider it. It may be you needing their services some day.

Take this case for example, also from AgapePress...

Earlier this year, Florida-based Liberty Counsel applied to use the community room of the Woodland Park Library near Denver for an informative meeting on the biblical perspective of marriage and homosexuality. The application also explained that the meeting would include prayer and scripture reading.

However, the request was rejected because of a standing policy that says meetings that are religious or political in nature must also present a balanced viewpoint. The library director, says Liberty Counsel, stated that someone who could present an opposing viewpoint on marriage would have to be invited to the meeting.

Erik Stanley, an attorney with Liberty Counsel, says such a policy is unconstitutional. According to Stanley, a "special disability" cannot be placed on religious speech. "When a library has a community meeting room, it should be open to all on equal terms," he explains.

Woodland Park Library now understands that, says Stanley, and has repealed its policy and replaced it with one that no longer includes viewpoint discrimination. The library also has agreed to pay attorney fees and court costs in the settlement, which has been submitted to the federal district court in Denver for approval.

Talk about spitting into the wind — denying access of a legal defense group to a public area based on religious viewpoint — unbelievable.

Posted by Danny Carlton at September 21, 2005 06:33 AM

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