North Carolina Man Heading Back to Court in Abortion-Free Speech Case
by Steven Ertelt
May 6, 2008
Raleigh, NC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life attorneys for a North Carolina man are headed back to a federal appeals court in a case where his free speech rights were denied when he tried to speak out against abortion. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are headed back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
ADF attorneys originally filed suit on behalf of Dennis Green in 2005, after officials threatened him with arrest for not adhering to the city’s so-called permit process.
On August 23, 2003, Green, along with some members of his friends and family, began to peacefully communicate a pro-life viewpoint on a public right-of-way.
Raleigh police officers approached Green, who was carrying a sign and attempting to distribute literature concerning the issue of abortion.
The officers informed Green and the other pro-life advocates to cease their activities and leave the area or face a citation for violating a law which prohibits picketing without a permit.
They also told Green that his sign would be confiscated if he refused to leave.
Last month, a three judge panel of the appeals court ruled against Green and now ADF wants the full appeals court to consider the case.
"Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs," ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum said. "Raleigh officials clearly violated Mr. Green’s First Amendment right to publicly express his pro-life views."
"The government can’t require citizens to request permission before they exercise their First Amendment rights," Kellum added.
"The policy used by Raleigh officials to silence pro-life speech is clearly unconstitutional. The panel’s decision stands in direct conflict with other 4th Circuit decisions, the decisions of other federal circuits, and even the U.S. Supreme Court," he explained.
ADF wants either the panel or the full court to rehear the case and the pro-life law firm says the judges overlooked key factual and legal matters the first time around.