Saturday, November 10, 2012

Supreme Court Rules for Pro-lifer with Fetus Photos

In 2005, Greenwood County, S.C. police told Steven Lefemine and others of Columbia Christians for Life to toss their signs showing bloody aborted fetus photos, which they held in display on a street corner, lest they be ticketed for disturbing the peace. Lefemine sued for his First Amendment rights, and a federal district judge ruled in his favor, but refused to award nominal damages.  This week, the U.S. Supreme Court went further, allowing for monetary award for attorney's fee.

For background, read Judges Counter Obama's Attacks on Pro-lifers and also read Wyoming Pays $30,000 for Censoring Pro-life Posters

-- From "Supreme Court says antiabortion protester can claim legal fees" by David G. Savage, Washington Bureau, Los Angeles Times 11/5/12

Although the ruling [by the Supreme Court this week] concerned only legal fees, it probably will strengthen the hand of abortion protesters who clash with police or city officials. If they go to court and prevail on any claim, they can force officials to pay their legal costs.

The unsigned decision, based on legal briefs, had no recorded dissent.

The Supreme Court has adopted a broad approach to the Civil Rights Act and said plaintiffs can obtain civil rights fees if they prevail on any significant issue. Without hearing arguments in Lefemine vs. Wideman, the justices reversed the two lower courts on Monday and said the antiabortion protester was a "prevailing party" because he won the right to display his graphic photos on the sidewalk.

"What we argued is for the benefit of all protesters of all stripes all across the country," said Steven Fitschen, president of the National Legal Foundation in Virginia Beach, Va., which calls itself a "Christian public interest law firm."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Supreme Court: abortion protester may deserve lawyer fees" by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters 11/5/12

In its first decision since the 2012-2013 term officially began last month, the court reversed a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against Steven Lefemine and Columbia Christians for Life, which had sought to recover the fees.

Steven Fitschen, a lawyer for Lefemine, said attorneys' fees in the case may reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that other protesters should welcome the decision.

The case is Lefemine v. Wideman et al, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-168.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Fees May Be in Store for Anti-Abortion Protesters" by Barbara Leonard, Courthouse News Service 11/5/12

Since further adjudication of the matter could uncover other grounds on which the police officers could contest liability for the attorneys' fees, however, the [U.S. Supreme] court emphasized that it is not making a guarantee for Lefemine.

The activist could appear before the Supreme Court again soon in trying to revive claims over a Madison Square Garden protest that police quashed. The 2nd Circuit threw out a lawsuit Lefemine filed in August 2012.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.