* On October 2, the United States Patent and Trademark Office was forced to publish for registration the trademark Stop the Islamization of America (“SIOA”) on behalf of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In approximately 30 days, SIOA will be a registered trademark. Due to the landmark work of AFLC, and taking the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the trademark dispute became a line-in-the-sand for the United States Supreme Court when it recently ruled that rejecting a trademark because some government bureaucrat believed it insulted some group is a violation of the First Amendment and will no longer be tolerated. Previously, the USPTO had ruled that SIOA insulted peaceful Muslims even though the trademark was meant to differentiate between loyal and patriotic Muslims and Islamists engaged in Civilization Jihad. The Federal Circuit had upheld the USPTO, but the Supreme Court has now nullified the ruling, hence leading to the registration of the SIOA trademark.
* On October 3, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise was invited by the Bishop of the Fort Wayne – South Bend Diocese to be its keynote speaker at the annual Red Mass. Muise gave a speech addressing pro-life issues.
* On October 5, Muise was invited by a parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan to give a presentation on religious freedom and Catholic health care.
* On October 19, AFLC appeared in state court in Sterling Heights, Michigan on behalf of four pro-life activists who engaged in the Red Rose Rescue at an abortion facility in the City. The pro-lifers sought to peacefully and prayerfully assist women at the facility by encouraging them not to abort their babies and offering them any help they needed. The pro-lifers were arrested and jailed for trespassing. We will be representing them during their criminal trial scheduled for February 14, 2018.
* On October 20, we favorably resolved our lawsuit against the federal government filed on behalf of Priests for Life, ending a five-year religious liberty battle over the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.
Under the terms of the binding agreement, the government affirms that the so-called “contraceptive mandate” cannot be legally enforced against Priests for Life, and that it is fully exempt from any obligation to cooperate in any way with the provision of contraceptives or abortion-inducing drugs in its health care plans. Further, the agreement provides that Priests for Life is exempt not only from the mandate, but also from “any materially similar regulation or agency policy,” thereby providing additional protection should another Obama-like administration take office in the future. Finally, the agreement requires the federal government to pay AFLC $139,626 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
* On October 23, we conducted a trial in the Orange County Superior Court in California in our case challenging the Irvine Company’s restriction on our clients’ right to free speech. Our clients, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) and its executive director, Gregg Cunningham, wanted to exercise their rights under the California Constitution, which treats mega-shopping centers as public forums, to engage in pro-life, targeted boycott activity outside of various stores that fund Planned Parenthood. Our clients’ proposed activity included the use of various signs depicting abortion-related imagery. The Irvine Company would not permit CBR to use the signage based on its content, and it wouldn’t allow CBR to engage in their speech activity during “peak” shopping days—the very days that such activity would be most effective. The court ruled in part that the Irvine Company violated our clients’ rights with regard to 2 of the 3 proposed signs and that the ban on free speech during “peak” days was unlawful. We intend to appeal the court’s ruling on the remaining sign.
* On October 25, we reached an agreement with the federal government that favorably resolved our lawsuit challenging the Obama HHS mandate’s so-called “accommodation” on behalf of Johnson Welded Products (JWP) and its president, Ms. Lilli Johnson, a devout Catholic. JWP is a family run, for-profit company, and it opposed the HHS mandate on religious grounds. This was an important victory because it extended the religious liberty protection to family run businesses, allowing them to operate pursuant to their sincerely held beliefs.
* On October 26, we filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to preliminarily enjoin (halt) the enforcement of the City of Westland’s (Michigan) disturbing the peace ordinance, which the City has been using to silence pro-life demonstrators outside of the Northland Family Planning Center (an abortion mill) in the City. We are representing Pastor Dan McGhee, a pro-life demonstrator, in this case.
* On October 31, the Superior Court of Orange County, California, ruled that Urth Caffe could in fact amend its trespass claim and name the “anonymous” Cross-Defendants. Last month, we filed a motion on behalf of our client, Urth Caffe, seeking to amend our cross-complaint by publicly naming all seven Muslim women accused of trespassing at the Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach. Urth Caffe’s original trespass counter lawsuit followed on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the seven women claiming they were subjected to religious discrimination when the Urth Caffe staff asked them to leave after the women refused to abide by the café’s seating policy. The women later made the fraudulent claim that they were evicted from the café because they wore hijabs—Islamic head coverings worn by some Muslim women.
Four of the seven plaintiffs claimed that their safety would be at risk by disclosing their names—in fact, they argued to the court that they were mostly worried about their security if AFLC’s lawyers would know their true identity. However, they could point to no instance of a single threat to their safety, nor could they point to a single instance where Muslims had sued for discrimination, and there are plenty of high-profile cases to choose from, where a Muslim filed a lawsuit for discrimination in his or her own name without any security risk.
At the hearing on the motion, the court scolded the Muslim women’s lawyer, Mohammad Tajsar, for having the audacity to even make the claim.
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