Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ACLU’

WorldNetDaily reports that a federal judge is demanding the ACLU and the Santa Rosa School District release the names of plaintiffs covered in a consent decree that prevents teachers at the school district from openly practicing their faith.  The ACLU and the school district have so far refused to identify the subjects so that they can keep enforcing the decree even though the plaintiffs no longer attend the school district, which would make the decree moot.

Judge to ACLU: Where are plaintiffs?

School district’s policy has forced teachers to pray in closets


Posted: March 31, 2010
11:50 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily


Teachers say they are literally forced to pray in school closets to avoid contempt charges

A federal judge handling a case brought by the ACLU against a school district that has forced teachers to hide in closets if they want to pray now is demanding documentation about the status of the plaintiffs, whose identifies have been kept secret.

That’s because the case never was certified as class action, which means unless those for whom the case was brought remain in peril over the school’s actions, there are valid questions about “this court’s continued enforcement jurisdiction over the consent decree,” the judge wrote.

WND has reported on the case, which has included an order crafted by the ACLU requiring employees in the Santa Rosa School District to act in an “official capacity” whenever they are at a “school event” – including breaks, after-school events on or off campus and private events held on campus.

Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit Florida law firm, alongside Christian Educators Association International, is seeking to overturn the court order, which has resulted in three school officials being charged with contempt.

According to Liberty Counsel, school officials are strictly prohibited from showing agreement with anyone “communicating with a deity,” such as “bowing the head” or “folding hands.” “School officials” must also prohibit “third-parties” from praying, Liberty Counsel said.

Now, according to Liberty Counsel, the “anonymous plaintiffs” probably have “long since graduated.””But the plaintiffs’ permanent loss of legal standing hasn’t stopped the ACLU and the school district from continuing to defend the consent decree that has become irreversibly moot,” LC said in an announcement today.

“Having failed in its attempts to fine and jail school officials for praying, the ACLU, aided by the school district, has been opposing the efforts of Christian Educators Association International, represented by Liberty Counsel, to have the consent decree declared unconstitutional,” Liberty Counsel said.

The only problem is that the decree became legally moot – or of no consequence whatsoever – “on the day the ACLU’s clients graduated, less than four weeks after it was issued.

“Moreover, without clients that have a legal interest in the litigation, the ACLU was legally barred from continuing to litigate against the people of Santa Rosa County. The ACLU and the school district knew this but conspired to hide the fact that the two anonymous plaintiffs graduated. In the consent decree they jointly submitted to the court, they inserted provisions purporting to require the court to retain jurisdiction for at least five years, thereby inferring that their anonymous clients were much younger. They also asked the court to conceal the plaintiffs’ identity for another five years, so that no one would know they graduated,” according to Liberty Counsel’s report.

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers now has ordered that the participants “shall submit memoranda to the court by the close of business on April 7, 2010, advising the court on the status of the named plaintiffs’ continued interest in this litigation, the continued validity of the injunctive consent decree, and the basis for this court’s continued enforcement jurisdiction over the consent decree.”

The plaintiffs have always been identified only as “Minor I Doe” and “Minor II Doe.”

“It has been brought to the court’s attention that the two plaintiffs may have graduated from high school and thus no longer suffer a threat of harm from the school board’s policies and practices,” the judge warned.

This, he said, “raises questions regarding the court’s continued enforcement jurisdiction over the decree as well as the validity of the continuing nature of the injunctive relief provided by the consent decree. This case was not a class action. Even though the plaintiffs prevailed on the merits of their cause oef action … if the named plaintiffs no longer have a continuing interest in the suit, there is a genuine issue regarding mootness … which must be addressed.”

Liberty Counsel’s report said, “The ACLU’s conspiracy is now unraveling. Liberty Counsel raised the issue of mootness last year and then again in the motion earlier this year. The federal court that entered the consent decree, which has literally forced teachers and staff to hide in closets to pray, has now demanded an explanation from the ACLU and the school district as to why it should continue to enforce that consent decree.”

Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “The errors in judgment by the ACLU and the school district are stunning. The school district agreed to enter into an unconstitutional consent decree that was legally effective for less than one month, then agreed to pay the ACLU a whopping $200,000, and then expended a great deal of additional resources to oppose Liberty Counsel’s intervention and defend the unconstitutional and moot consent decree.

“From the beginning, our position has been that this order should be set aside. We will not rest until that happens. If the school board does not come to its senses and seize the opportunity before it to make things right, the voters of Santa Rosa County will hold them accountable in the next election.”

As WND reported, Michelle Winkler, a clerical assistant, earlier faced contempt charges after her husband read a prayer at a private banquet held at a Naval base to honor noninstructional school-district employees. The judge eventually found that Winkler’s husband’s prayer at a voluntary gathering outside of school did not violate any court order.

During her testimony, Winkler broke down on the witness stand as she told a story about how her co-worker sought comfort from her after losing her 2-year-old child.

The two hid behind a closet door to pray, for fear they would be seen and held in contempt of the court order.

Denise Gibson, an elementary teacher for 20 years, testified that the order requires her to inform parents that she cannot respond if they mention church or their faith. She said she is prohibited from replying to e-mails from parents if they contain Bible verses or even “God bless you.” Instead, she said, the district has instructed her to open a separate e-mail to answer the parents rather than hit “reply.” The district calls for the action to eliminate any trace of religious language in school communication.

Liberty Counsel earlier successfully defended Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman against criminal contempt charges after the ACLU complained when Freeman gave a 15-second blessing for a lunch meal for 20 adults with no students present.

The men had faced penalties of up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines each.

The case began in August 2008 when two anonymous students sued with the help of the ACLU over longstanding practices at the school allowing prayer at some events. The school’s separate counsel had agreed to a consent decree that “essentially bans all Santa Rosa County School District employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities,” Liberty Counsel reported.

Members of the 2009 graduating class at Florida’s Pace High School expressed their objections to the ACLU restrictions on statements of religious faith at their school by rising up en masse at their ceremony and reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Nearly 400 graduating seniors at Pace, a Santa Rosa County school, stood up at their graduation, according to Staver. Parents, family and friends joined in the recitation and applauded the students when they were finished, Staver told WND.

“Many of the students also painted crosses on their graduation caps to make a statement of faith,” the organization reported.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The Alliance Defense Fund reports that the ACLU has won a fight against disabled children.  It was actually a lawsuit won by the ACLU that now bans an Arizona State program that allowed disabled children to use vouchers at private schools, including religious schools.  It’s almost as bad as beating them up in person, but this way some might never have an opportunity to attend the school of their choice (and beliefs).  Read below for more details.

Disabled children lose fight against ACLU

Ariz. Supreme Court strikes down voucher program for special needs children; ADF attorneys filed friend-of-the-court brief
Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 10:55 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


PHOENIX — The American Civil Liberties Union won its fight against disabled children Wednesday when the Arizona Supreme Court struck down a state program that allowed special needs kids to use vouchers at private schools so that they could receive the best educational opportunities.  ADF attorneys joined attorneys from the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe last year in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a Christian school in defense of the voucher program, which was upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

“The ACLU, People for the American Way, and the teachers’ unions have denied disabled children the educational opportunities they deserve.  They are the ones hurt by this,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.  “Special needs students who attend Christian schools shouldn’t be penalized for their beliefs.”

“Any tuition that goes to a religious school is through the choice of the parent and for the benefit of the child.  It is not ‘state support’ of that school,” explained Orrick attorney Raymond Mullady, who co-wrote the friend-of-the-court brief.  “We truly disagree with the high court’s decision and are saddened by its consequences for Arizona’s special needs children.”

John and Dina Phipps and Brendan and Susan Fay, founders of Father’s Heart Christian School for the disabled, removed their developmentally and physically challenged children from the Arizona public school system because of the inadequate education they received there.  Two of the children suffer from autism and the other from learning and physical challenges.

Upon receiving the customized instruction they needed at Father’s Heart, their behavior and participation improved remarkably and their academic performance rose several grade levels in just one year after leaving the government school system.  The children receive vouchers through the Arizona Scholarships for Pupils with Disabilities program to attend Father’s Heart, but Wednesday’s decision from the Arizona Supreme Court effectively kills the program.

Cave Creek Unified School District board member Virgel Cain, the ACLU, People for the American Way, a number of teachers’ unions, and others filed suit against Arizona State Superintendant of Public Instruction Tom Horne to challenge the constitutionality of the voucher program.

Earlier this month in a separate lawsuit, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against the ACLU, upholding a state program for corporate taxpayers that allows tuition scholarships to be used by students at public or private schools, including religious schools.

  • Opinion issued by the Arizona Supreme Court in Cain v. Horne

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.  ADF President Alan Sears is co-author with Craig Osten of the book The ACLU vs. America (www.acluvsamerica.com).

www.telladf.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Read Full Post »

The Alliance Defense Fund reports that the ACLU has lost its appeals case against the School Choice America program. The ACLU contended that the program was “unconstitutional” because the tuition could be used for religious schools. The court disagreed.

Ariz. appeals court rules against ACLU, upholds tuition program for kids

ADF filed friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of School Choice America
Friday, March 13, 2009, 10:20 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


PHOENIX — The Arizona Court of Appeals Thursday upheld the constitutionality of Arizona’s corporate tax credit tuition program being attacked by the American Civil Liberties Union. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in defense of the program on behalf of the non-profit student tuition organization School Choice America.

“Parents should be able to choose the right school for their children.  When it comes to our children’s education, the ACLU suddenly drops its talk of ‘freedom’ and ‘choice,'” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb.  “This program gives Arizonans a broad range of educational choices.  To block those choices simply because the program allows religious and secular schools to participate equally is nothing short of discrimination.  The court certainly made the right decision.”

The state program for corporate taxpayers allows tuition scholarships to be used by students at public or private schools, including religious schools.  The ACLU filed suit contending that the inclusion of religious schools is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The court disagreed, ruling that the law that established the program, Section 43-1183 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, “does not violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.  Section 43-1183 has a valid, secular purpose; it does not have the effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, because it is neutral towards religion and provides for genuine private choice; and §43-1183 does not involve excessive governmental entanglement.”

In October 2007, ADF attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Arizona Court of Appeals after the ACLU appealed the dismissal of its lawsuit by a trial court.  The court heard arguments in the case on Sept. 17 of last year.

Prior to the trial court’s decision in March 2007, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against the ACLU in a different lawsuit that donations made by individuals to non-profit student tuition organizations are constitutional.  The ACLU then challenged the program in federal district court.  The court dismissed the lawsuit, and the ACLU appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where ADF attorneys are currently defending the program on behalf of the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization.

  • Opinion issued by the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1, in Green v. Garriott

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.telladf.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Read Full Post »

The Alliance Defense Fund reports that a lawsuit has been filed against Lakeview Elementary School in Wilson County, Tennessee.  School officials have told students that “See You At The Pole” posters cannot have reference to Scripture, prayer, or to God.  The irony is that the school won a lawsuit against the ACLU in May 2008 in which the ACLU tried to keep the school from recognizing events like “See You At The Pole” and National Prayer Day.

Tenn. school censors ‘God Bless the USA,’ ‘In God We Trust’

School orders references to God and prayer covered up on posters
Tuesday, March 03, 2009, 1:55 PM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of parents and students at Lakeview Elementary School in Wilson County after school officials ordered “God Bless the USA,” “In God We Trust,” and other phrases referencing God and prayer to be covered up on posters before they could be displayed in the school’s hallways.  The posters were hand-drawn by students and their families to announce “See You at the Pole,” a voluntary, student-led prayer event held outside of class time.

“Christian students shouldn’t be censored for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum.  “It’s ridiculous as well as unconstitutional to cover up these references to God and prayer–one of which is the National Motto itself–on posters announcing a student-led activity.  School officials appear to be having an allergic reaction to the ACLU’s long-term record of fear, intimidation, and disinformation, despite a previous court ruling at this very school that said students can observe these types of events on school property.”

The American Civil Liberties Union previously sued the school to stop it from recognizing such events, including “See You at the Pole” and the National Day of Prayer.  In May 2008, a federal judge refused to grant the ACLU’s request.

Each year, students and parents affiliated with Lakeview Elementary School in Mt. Juliet have placed posters in the hallways of the school informing students of the “See You at the Pole” event.  This year, each poster, made on personal time without the use of any school funds or supplies, included the disclaimer:  “See You at the Pole is a student-initiated and student-led event and is not endorsed by Lakeview Elementary or Wilson County schools.”  Nevertheless, the students and their parents were ordered to cover up references to God and prayer and any Scripture passages on the posters or else they could not be posted.

After a school employee told the parent of one student, “You can’t hang up those posters.  They have the word ‘God’ on them,” the school’s vice principal and director reinforced the policy, explaining that posters containing religious references, like “In God We Trust,” “God Bless America,” and “come and pray,” are precluded by school board policy and prohibited in the hallways as inappropriate.

“The Constitution prohibits government officials from singling out religious speech for censorship, but this is exactly what Lakeview school officials did when they ordered these words to be covered,” Kellum said.

ADF-allied attorney David L. Maddox is serving as local counsel in the case.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.telladf.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Read Full Post »

The Alliance Defense Fund and Christian Legal Society are gearing up to defend the rights of doctors and other health care workers to refuse participation in abortions.  To no one’s surprise, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other pro-abortion groups are challenging three laws, 45 CFR Part 88, that currently protect doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions.  They claim that it is a “woman’s right” to do what she wants with her body, but they refuse that right of “choice” to unborn babies, doctors, or other health care workers.

Obama has already signed an executive order lifting the ban on public funding for international groups that advocate or perform abortions overseas.  Thank you Mr. Obama, members of Congress, and the American people who voted him into office for making me pay for the murder of thousands of unborn babies.   You all wanted change, well here it is.  So where is my “choice” in this matter, eh?

The March for Life has issued a challenge to Mr. Obama to witness the abortions he so adamantly defends, talk to women who have been through abortions, and to talk to men and women who have survived abortions (the same ones that he refused to legalize medical help to while he worked for the Illinois Senate).

No choice: Doctors forced to perform abortions or else?

CLS, ADF attorneys seek to defend federal law that protects medical professionals from mandatory participation in abortion
Thursday, January 22, 2009, 12:55 PM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


HARTFORD, Conn. — Attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and the Alliance Defense Fund filed motions to intervene Wednesday in three lawsuits that seek to invalidate a federal law protecting medical professionals from discrimination because they refuse to participate in abortions.  Three pro-life medical associations are seeking to defend the law against challenges by some state officials, Planned Parenthood, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Medical professionals should not be forced to perform abortions against their conscience.  Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and their pro-abortion allies are seeking to punish pro-life medical professionals for their beliefs,” said Litigation Counsel Casey Mattox with CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom.  “Far from arguing for ‘choice,’ these lawsuits seek to compel health care workers to perform abortions or face dire consequences.”

“For over three decades, federal law has prohibited recipients of federal grants from forcing medical professionals to participate in abortions.  The arguments in the lawsuits themselves demonstrate lack of compliance with these laws and the necessity of the regulation they are challenging,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.  Attorney Andrew Knott of Cheshire is assisting as local counsel.

The Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, represented by CLS and ADF attorneys, are asking to be allowed to defend the law, 45 CFR Part 88, enacted in December 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Noting a pattern of grant recipients unaware of or flouting existing laws protecting medical professionals’ rights of conscience, HHS enacted the new law to require grantees to certify compliance with them in order to receive funds.  The three long-standing statutes are the Church Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the Weldon Amendment.

The three pro-life medical groups point out that denying rights of conscience could harm access to healthcare for all by forcing medical professionals who refuse to perform abortions to either relocate from jurisdictions that force them to do so or leave the profession altogether.

Many of those challenging the HHS law failed in previous efforts to have the Weldon Amendment struck down.  CLS and ADF attorneys representing the Christian Medical Association and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists successfully defended that law (www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=4432, www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=3918, and www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=3542).

The briefs in support of the motions to intervene in Connecticut v. United States, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association v. Leavitt, and Planned Parenthood of America v. Leavitt filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut are available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/HHSinterventions.pdf.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  The CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom is a team of Christian attorneys allied with ADF to defend religious liberty and human life.

www.telladf.org www.clsnet.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Related Posts: Scripture: Life Begins at Conception
The ‘Unaborted Obama’ Ad
Court Rules Pro-Lifers Can Publicize Abortion Industry Horrors
“Operation Rescue” Submits Evidence to Kansas AG on Tiller’s Clinic

Read Full Post »