Judge in Notre Dame/Obama Graduation Speech Case Allows Appeal over Possible Pro-Abortion Bias
December 7, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind., (christiansunite.com) -- Chicago-based Thomas More Society attorneys appeared in St. Joseph County Criminal Court today to argue for dismissal of trespass charges against pro-life advocates because campus police acted improperly. The charges were brought by local prosecutors based on complaints by University of Notre Dame security police during Obama protests last May at the University. In addition to the motion to dismiss, Thomas More Society attorney Tom Dixon argued that Judge Jenny Pitts Manier had an actual or perceived bias based on her prior rulings, her husband's outspoken criticism of Catholic pro-life teachings as a philosophy professor at Notre Dame and other factors. Judge Manier, while denying the bias charges, ruled nonetheless that the prosecution should be halted to allow for an immediate appeal as to whether she should be disqualified from ruling on the merits of the 88 cases.
"We're very pleased that Judge Manier has allowed this immediate appeal as it is critical that these vital issues be heard before a fair and impartial tribunal," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. "We expect that these charges will be dismissed, if and when the cases go forward, because the Notre Dame security police engaged in blatant viewpoint discrimination, arresting pro-lifers while ignoring demonstrations by Obama supporters. We sincerely hope that Notre Dame will intervene and ask that the charges be dropped."
"Universities are supposed to be a place where free speech is welcomed and not silenced," Brejcha continued. "The pro-life movement is the next stage of America's civil rights movement. Notre Dame should not go down in history as another Birmingham, infamous for suppressing demonstrators for exercising their Constitutional rights."
The Thomas More Society has a history of positive partnership with the University of Notre Dame. The late Fr. Ned Joyce, former executive vice president of the University, was a regular financial supporter of the Society. Fr. Ted Hesburgh, former president of the University, also helped the Thomas More Society in defense of pro-life advocates.
About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society, Pro-Life Law Center, is a not-for-profit, public interest law firm based in Chicago and dedicated to fighting for the rights and dignity of all human life. The Society vigorously defends clients in state and federal courtrooms around the country, addressing vital issues across the pro-life spectrum, including pregnancy discrimination, end-of-life health care, and the right of conscientious objection for medical workers and freedom of speech for peaceable nonviolent protest.
As a public interest law firm, the Thomas More Society is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, supported solely by private donations. Visit www.thomasmoresociety.org for more information.