Michigan Teen Loses Appeal on Right to Wear Shirt Condemning Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
October 7, 2008
Monroe, MI (LifeNews.com) — A federal appeals court has overturned the ruling of a district court judge who issued a permanent injunction requiring a Michigan school to recognize the free speech rights of a pro-life student who wanted to wear a T-shirt with a message against abortion.
Michael Amble-Lucas wanted to participate in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity, last year.
That’s a national day where pro-life students place tape over their mouth to "speak up" for the unborn children silenced by abortion and it is taking place again later this month.
Jefferson Middle School officials prohibited him from doing so, but the court’s injunction allowed him to participate. He was also denied the right to distribute pro-life fliers on campus during the day.
In a ruling on an appeal of the judge’s decision, a federal appeals court says the school didn’t violate Amble-Lucas’s rights when it prevented him from disseminating the fliers.
The court says the school wasn’t trying to limit free speech rights but to set boundaries for all students. It also struck down the $1 judgment the district court awarded the student.
When Amble-Lucas attempted to express his pro-life viewpoint to his classmates by handing out literature and wearing red tape along with a sweatshirt that read, Pray to End Abortion, he was sent to the principal’s office.
School administrators ordered him to change his clothes so that the pro-life message on his sweatshirt could not be seen, and he was prohibited from passing out leaflets.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, filed suit of behalf of the student in the case M.A.L. v. Kinsland in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on January 23.
ADF Litigation Counsel Delia van Loenen told LifeNews.com that the district court, "saw that the school had acted wrongly when it tried to censor our clients message."
Pro-life speech is not second-class speech, said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron J. Babione. It has the same protections as all other speech under the Constitution, and this victory is an affirmation of the most basic of our constitutional rights.
The Alliance Defense Fund filed lawsuits on behalf of several students across the nation that were prevented from participating in the event.
Related web sites:
Michigan opinion – https://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/MALInjunction.pdf
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org
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