Search  |  Login  |  Register

By Jay Sekulow1311345802000

I wanted to bring you an update on a case that we've been involved in since last year - a case that has significant ramifications for the First Amendment.

As you may recall, we secured an important victory in federal court last fall against the City of Pittsburgh. The issue: an ordinance that violated the constitutional rights of pro-life advocates.

It all began last fall when we filed a federal lawsuit challenging Pittsburgh Ordinance 601.02, which prohibited the distribution of leaflets in the City. Our clients wanted to distribute pro-life leaflets - in the days leading up to the November election - on unoccupied parked cars without fear of fine, penalty or censure.

Our lawsuit was clear: the ordinance was unconstitutional. It was overbroad, vague and impinged on the rights of free speech and due process that the United States Constitution guarantees.

The court acted quickly. It granted our request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in October, clearing the way for our clients to distribute the materials before the November election. U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone found that our arguments demonstrated "a likelihood of success on the merits" and enjoined the City from enforcing the ordinance. In February, Judge Cercone issued an order granting our motion for a preliminary injunction, explaining that the City's desire to control littering by barring the distribution of the leaflets did not outweigh the constitutional rights of our clients.

In recent months, we have focused on efforts to permanently resolve this case. And, now the City of Pittsburgh is moving forward to remove this troubling ordinance, which was adopted in 2008. The City already has agreed to pay $35,000 in attorneys' fees to settle the suit and is moving forward with legislation in City Council to repeal it.

In an editorial entitled - "Speech is speech: Pittsburgh must remove an offensive ban" - the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concluded:

"The purpose of the 2008 ordinance was to restrict leafleting in the interests of curbing littering. In a city where litter is a problem, especially Downtown, the ordinance made some superficial sense. But what seems a potential source of litter to one person is free speech to another -- and that right isn't superficial, it's fundamental." As the Post-Gazette put it: "It doesn't matter whether the speech takes a position that is pro-life or pro-choice - it's all protected."

I will keep you posted on when this problematic ordinance is taken off the books in the City of Pittsburgh.

Latest in
Pro Life

9 Stunning Admissions

By Matthew Clark1440788906838

Planned Parenthood is on the ropes, reeling from months of being exposed for its sickeningly evil practice of selling the bodies of murdered babies for parts . In an attempt to deflect attention from its atrocities, it has sent the several congressional committees that have opened up federal...

read more

New Video Reveals Dangerous Conditions

By Palmer Williams1440601820943

In the latest video exposing how Planned Parenthood harvests body parts from aborted babies and sells them to companies like StemExpress, investigative journalists go undercover with the CEO of StemExpress. The StemExpress’ CEO discusses the rampant problems of contagious bacteria in certain...

read more

Big Abortion’s Cloak of Invisibility

By Francis J. Manion1440444914933

The abortion industry in this country could not thrive as it does without the cover of secrecy provided by both the media and, in many cases, government officials more interested in protecting a powerful political ally than the lives of those upon whom that ally preys. The recent and ongoing...

read more

Beating Hearts and Cut-Open Faces

By Palmer Williams1440017962832

In the latest video from The Center for Medical Progress, the investigative journalists reveal the latest stomach-churning realities about how Planned Parenthood changes abortion procedures to harvest baby brains and other organs. It’s bone-chilling. Ultrasound machines intended to reveal...

read more