Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Judges Counter Obama's Attacks on Pro-lifers

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer dismissed President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder's assertions of ten separate violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act against Kenneth Scott's sidewalk counseling at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains abortion clinic in Denver.

For background, read Obama Administration Targets Pro-lifers for Prosecution and also read White House Targets Pro-lifers with Lawsuits

UPDATE 9/24/12: Federal judge blocks Obama DOJ in prosecution of David Hamilton in Louisville, KY

UPDATE 3/22/12: Obama administration gives up -- all charges dismissed against Kenneth Scott

-- From "Feds want 25-foot limit for Colo. abortion protester" by Colleen Slevin, Associated Press 1/26/12

U.S. Justice Department lawyer Gayle Winsome told U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer on Thursday that Kenneth Scott sometimes stands in the only driveway leading to the center's to talk to drivers and distribute pamphlets, forcing drivers stopped behind them to wait before they can enter. She said that violates a 1994 law protecting access to abortion clinics and urged Brimmer to order Scott to keep at least 25 feet away from the entrance. She said he can still express his views from there without impeding traffic and without visitors having to worry about hitting Scott.

Scott's lawyers argue that Scott is a peaceful protester with a constitutional right to speak from public areas leading up to the property line of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains center.

Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, one of Scott's lawyers, said the government lawsuit against Scott is an overreach under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, passed in the wake of clinic sit-ins and a 1993 shooting that wounded Kansas abortion provider George Tiller. He was shot again and killed in 2009 at his Wichita church.

The FACE act went mostly unused under George W. Bush, but the Obama administration has taken a harder line against anti-abortion activists.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Five D.C. prosecutors go after abortion protestor for passing out literature" by Jack Minor, Greeley Gazette 1/4/12

Ken Scott and his wife, Jo, have a history with Planned Parenthood. In 2008, Jo was convicted of violating the state’s bubble law after a pair of Planned Parenthood employees, pretending to be patients, recorded Jo Scott moving within eight feet of them. The bubble law creates an eight foot floating bubble around anyone within 100 feet of the entrance to an abortion facility.

While the law specifies that Scott cannot protest within 100 feet of the clinic entrance, the DOJ wants the distance expanded to include being within 25 feet of the entrance to the clinic. The Justice department has assigned five prosecutors to handle the case.

The Chicago-based Thomas More Society has recently announced it would be assisting Scott with his defense. Peter Breen, executive director and general counsel for the society, told the Gazette that the government’s case turns free speech on its head. “Scott is not being charged with violating any of the bubble law requirements.”

“When I read the complaint it made it sound as if Scott was throwing himself in front of cars. It was nothing of the sort, when you watch the video he is standing on the side of the road and if people want to come over to talk and receive literature about abortion alternatives, they are free to do so. He is in no way blocking people from entering or exiting the facility.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Judge Stops Obama Admin From Silencing Pro-Life Activist" by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com 1/30/12

“This is the latest in a series of meritless, harassing lawsuits filed by the Obama Administration that seek to squelch peaceful pro-life advocacy on public sidewalks outside abortion providers,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society.

Breen added, in his statement to LifeNews today: “In this case, the Attorney General presented no evidence that Mr. Scott injured, intimidated, or did anything other than speak to folks who willingly decided to stop their cars to talk with him. Assigning five taxpayer-funded prosecutors from Washington, D.C. to attack one peaceful man exercising his free speech rights is a colossal waste of money, uncalled for at any time, much less at a time of record government deficits, not to mention the Government’s gross insult to the First Amendment.”

United States v. Scott is one of many recent FACE Act lawsuits brought by the Obama Administration and its Attorney General, Eric Holder, against local sidewalk counselors, Breen says. The Attorney General’s primary legal theory is that a car that stops to speak to a sidewalk counselor constitutes a “physical obstruction” of access to an abortion facility and a violation of the FACE Act, punishable by a $10,000 fine and an injunction against sidewalk counseling at a particular facility.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

And, in a related court case in Florida . . .

UPDATE 4/4/12: Obama's DOJ drop case and pay prolife sidewalk counselor Mary Susan Pine $120,000 in legal fees

From "Judge: White House persecuting pro-lifer" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 1/16/12

A federal judge says he doesn’t have enough evidence to sanction Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, but its prosecution of a Florida pro-lifer is suspiciously like persecution.

“It is rather curious that the Department of Justice was able to meet with the [Presidential Women's Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.] staff and police officers the very next day after the alleged violations occurred. It is also curious that the government failed to make any efforts to obtain the identities of the passengers who are the alleged victims in this case – the court finds it hard to believe that the government was completely unaware of the existence of the sign-in sheets and video surveillance system.”

The comments come from U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp on a decision granting summary judgment for Mary Susan Pine. She had been charged with a violation of the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances law and could have been subjected to an intimidating $10,000 fine.

“The court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the government and the PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct,” the judge wrote.

“The court is at a loss as to why the government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” Ryskamp wrote.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.