Month in Review – September 2018

AFLC_square banner-01 (002)Here are the highlights for September:

* On September 4, we filed our reply brief in the California Court of Appeals in our lawsuit against The Irvine Company, the owner of the Irvine Spectrum Center and Fashion Island, two large shopping centers located in Orange County, alleging that the Company violated California’s liberty of speech provision by banning anti-abortion signs that it claims were “gruesome.”  Under the California Constitution, large shopping centers are considered public forums for the right to free speech.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc. (CBR) and its Executive Director, Gregg Cunningham.

Last October the case went to trial, where we prevailed on several important issues.  We successfully challenged the shopping centers’ peak “blackout days,” where they tried to shut down free speech during the busiest shopping days when CBR’s audience would be the greatest.  And we successfully challenged restrictions on two out of the three anti-abortion signs at issue.  In this appeal, we are challenging this last restriction.

* On September 6, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise represented a pro-lifer at her probation revocation hearing in the 48th District Court in Michigan.  The pro-lifer avoided jail time at the hearing.

* On September 10, we filed a petition for rehearing en banc in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in our case challenging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) rejection of our client’s “Support Free Speech” ad.  In this case, a 3-judge panel recently reversed, in part, an adverse ruling against our clients, AFDI, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer, and remanded the case for the district court to determine whether WMATA’s restriction on our clients’ ad was “reasonable.”  The court, however, improperly concluded that WMATA’s speech restriction was not viewpoint based.

In the petition, we are requesting that the 3-judge panel decision be vacated and the entire court take up the important First Amendment question presented.  The D.C. Circuit recently directed opposing counsel (WMATA hired Obama’s former Solicitor General to handle the case for them) to respond to our petition, which is a good sign!

* On September 12, we filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals in our case representing five pro-lifers who were arrested, charged, and convicted for engaging in a Red Rose Rescue at an abortion center in West Bloomfield, Michigan.  This rescue was responsible for stopping at least 11 scheduled abortions.  In this appeal, we are seeking to make case law that will assist pro-lifers in the future.

* On September 18, we filed our opening brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in our lawsuit challenging the construction of a mega-mosque in a Chaldean Christian neighborhood in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  In this case, we are challenging the approval of a consent judgment entered into between the City and the American Islamic Community Center (AICC) which permits AICC to build this mosque in violation of state and local zoning regulations.  The judge who denied our claim was also the same judge who approved the consent judgment we are challenging.

* On September 21, we filed our initial brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of Kimberly Thames, a pro-lifer who was unlawfully arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat while engaging in free speech activity (holding a sign and praying) on a public sidewalk outside of an abortion center in the City of Westland, Michigan.  The district court denied the arresting officers’ motion to dismiss, and the officers appealed.  We filed a cross-appeal.

* On September 27, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled that King County’s rejection of our clients’ “Faces of Global Terrorism” ad violated the First Amendment.

In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit held that the County’s rejection of the ad based on its disparagement standard was viewpoint discrimination and that its rejection of the ad based on its disruption standard was unreasonable, all in violation of the First Amendment.

* On September 28, The United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied a motion filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a failed effort to eliminate the consumer fraud allegations in a massive fraud case set to go to trial early next year.  The result of the trial court’s ruling is that CAIR National, operating out of the District of Columbia, must stand trial not only for breach of fiduciary duty and common law fraud, but also for violations of Virginia’s statutory consumer fraud, which provides for statutory penalties, punitive damages, and, importantly, legal fees and costs.  The decade-long litigation exposes CAIR to more than a million dollars in legal fees alone.

* On September 29, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise gave a presentation at a well-attended pro-life conference regarding the legal issues associated with sidewalk counseling outside of abortion centers.

* We continue with court appearances, depositions, briefs, and motion practice in many other cases as well.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support.  We couldn’t do what we do without them!