Month in Review – January 2019

Here are the highlights for January—we are starting the year off with a “bang”:

*On January 10, we filed a “writ of mandamus” in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  This is an extraordinary measure.  Generally, a petition for a mandamus order is made to compel a judicial officer to perform a duty owed to the petitioner.  It is issued from a superior court to an inferior court.

In this case, we are asking the Sixth Circuit to order the federal district court judge presiding in our case in Detroit to rule on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, which have been pending for more than 5 years.

In this lawsuit, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART)—a government agency—refused to run our clients’ “Leaving Islam” ad even though the transit authority runs many controversial ads, including an ad from an atheist organization stating, “Don’t believe in God.  You are not alone.”

The court’s delay in ruling on the motions is depriving our clients their First Amendment right to freedom of speech

* On January 23, we celebrated our seven-year anniversary!  It’s hard to believe that it has been seven years since we launched AFLC, which has become (in the words of National Review columnist and Fox News contributor Andrew C. McCarthy) “the leading public interest law firm fighting . . . in America.”

* On January 28, we filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking the high court’s review in a case challenging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) refusal to display two “Support Free Speech” ads on their advertising space.

In this case, WMATA originally rejected the ads because the ad copy “advocates free speech and does not try to sell you a commercial product” in violation of WMATA’s advertising guideline prohibiting “[a]dvertisements intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions.”

WMATA now claims that the ads also violate its guideline prohibiting “[a]dvertisements that support or oppose any religion, religious practice or belief.”

AFLC contends that both guidelines are unlawful, viewpoint-based restrictions.

* On January 29, we filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals in our case representing four pro-lifers who were arrested, charged, and convicted for engaging in a Red Rose Rescue at an abortion center in the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan.

In this appeal, we are seeking to make case law that will assist pro-lifers in the future.  More specifically, in the petition, we seek appellate court review of the trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on two viable defenses to the trespass charge: the defense of necessity and the defense of others.

* 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!