San Antonio, TX--A public evangelist criminally charged for preaching to the crowds of downtown San Antonio received news from the court that his charges were dismissed this week, after Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a trial brief in his defense.
Jeffrey Warner frequently travels to spread the gospel on public sidewalks, carefully aligning himself to local city ordinances before he preaches. During the Easter weekend of 2018, Warner used his sound amplifier to speak in a conversational manner to people passing by in a business district, complying with San Antonio’s decibel level restrictions.
Sacramento, CA--In a surprising move, a California legislator announced that he is dropping his efforts to have certain types of LGBT-related counseling declared “fraudulent” and “deceptive.”
Assembly Member Evan Low released a statement on his website to announce that, after meeting with numerous religious leaders who were concerned about the bill, he will re-work the legislation for a future legislative session. Today is the last day of the year for the Legislature to give final approval to bills and send them to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Riverside, CA--A new lawsuit has been filed in Riverside Superior Court on behalf of a piano teacher who was rejected by a charter school for religious reasons.
Dimitra Solomos has been teaching children piano for more than 25 years in Orange and Riverside Counties. In 2016, when a teacher and families enrolled through Sky Mountain Charter School asked her to become an approved vendor of the school, she completed a background check, got a business license and complied with the other application requirements. Becoming a vendor would allow families to use extracurricular funds to pay for her piano lessons, which some families had been doing out-of-pocket because they felt she was an excellent teacher.
Sacramento, CA--The California Legislature returned to the Capitol Monday for the final few weeks of its annual session. One of the big questions remaining is whether lawmakers will ignore a stinging rebuke from the U.S. Supreme Court.
At issue is a bill now pending on the floor of the Senate known as Assembly Bill 2943. It seeks to declare that counseling which assists adults in rejecting same-sex attraction is a fraudulent and deceptive practice. Faith communities have been alarmed by the bill because it could limit how they counsel congregants to live consistently with their faith and church teachings on sexuality.
Pacific Justice Institue released the following profile on SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Washington, DC--President Trump on Monday night made his highly-anticipated announcement of his choice to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
President Trump has selected Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The announcement is sure to ignite a firestorm in an already hotly-contested confirmation process, since Kavanaugh worked for Ken Starr on Bill Clinton’s impeachment and later worked closely with President George W. Bush.
Washington, DC--The United States Supreme Court today issued a much-anticipated decision in favor of workers’ free speech rights. The Court overturned four decades of precedent through which unions forced employees to join or subsidize collective bargaining. The ruling today recognized something that First Amendment advocates have been saying for years—that such compulsion is antithetical to constitutional principles.
Mark Janus, a social worker in the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, filed suit against the union he was forced to pay thousands of dollars in fees to, arguing that such financial support of a political organization he does not agree with is compelled speech and mandated association. His lawsuit has overthrown the Abood case which states have used to force nonmembers to pay union fees since 1977.
Washington, DC--The United States Supreme Court's decision in NIFLA v. Becerra overturned the state of California's speech regulation of pro-life clinics through the mandated promotion of government-funded abortions.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) filed suit against AB 775 when it was signed into law in 2015. Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a companion case to NIFLA, being the first to challenge AB 775 in court. The defeated law’s guise of ensuring California women access all reproductive health services hid an egregious form of compelled, content-based speech.
Pittsburgh, PA--An open-air preacher who had been criminally charged for sharing his faith outside a high school has now had those charges dismissed.
In December of last year, Ryan Lee Grimes preached outside a high school in Pittsburgh after school had been dismissed and students were leaving for the day. Grimes was cited by law enforcement for "disorderly conduct" due to "unreasonable noise." The considerable noise being generated at the same time by the hundreds of students streaming out of the school was not taken into account by law enforcement.