Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
The New York Times: Once again, Arizona finds itself on the frontier of anti-abortion legislation: Late Monday, it became the first state to pass a law requiring doctors who perform drug-induced abortions to tell women that the procedure may be reversible.
AZ Governor: “The American people overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, and it’s no different in Arizona, where we have long-standing policy against subsidizing them with public dollars,” said Governor Ducey. “This legislation provides clarity to state law.”
Life News: Late Monday, pro-life Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (pictured) signed a pro-life bill the Arizona legislature approved to prohibit health insurance plans under Obamacare from providing abortion coverage. The legislation, SB 1318, will allow Arizona to join the other 17 states in the U.S. that have prohibited elective abortion coverage on their state exchanges.
Phoenix New Times: The Arizona Senate yesterday passed a bill that creates a new tax break for certain religious groups.
Religion Clause: The Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has issued Revised Advisory Opinion 15-01 (March 9, 2015), Judicial Obligation To Perform Same-Sex Marriages.
Arizona Capitol Times (AP): Arizona judges who perform wedding ceremonies are being told that they cannot turn away same-sex couples who want to marry.
AZ Central: The survey by the CAP and other conservative Christian organizations found 53 percent of Americans say marriage should be defined as a union between a man and woman. A spokesman for the CAP said the organization has no plans to promote religious-freedom legislation this session.
Eagle Forum: The Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the Gilbert school officials, which prompted lawyers for the Arizona Education Department to review the book.
Legal-affairs correspondent Mary Reichard reports on a case at the Supreme Court over a small church sign that carries with it a big principle (audio)
The World and Everything In It: Legal-affairs correspondent Mary Reichard reports on a case at the Supreme Court over a small church sign that carries with it a big principle.
The Aquila report: Reed’s signs are similar in size to garage sale signs with placards on wire legs that stick in the ground. But if he continued posting them, he could have faced criminal fines and even jail time under Gilbert’s sign ordinance. Attorney David Cortman with Alliance Defending Freedom saw that as a violation of freedom of speech and equal protection under the Constitution. He said the town’s code discriminated by treating signs differently based on what they said.
AZ Central: Parents and the conservative advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom demanded that the district edit “Campbell Biology: Concepts & Connections (Seventh Edition),” because it referred to abortion without also mentioning childbirth and adoption.
Washington Examiner: David Cortman, the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney who argued before the court on behalf of Pastor Reed and the church, contended consistently that if such signs create safety hazards or aesthetic problems, they do so no matter what they say.
World Magazine: “I’m Clyde Reed, pastor of Good News Community Church in Gilbert, Ariz.,” he said. “I’m 82 years old and have been a pastor for over 40 years. I never dreamed my small church sign would be a topic for the Supreme Court.”
Earlier this week, ADF attorney David Cortman argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, on behalf of a small church in our neighboring town, Gilbert. We bring all of the coverage in one handy post.
OYEZ: Does an ordinance restricting the size, number, duration, and location of temporary directional signs violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment? Hear David Cortman argue before the Supreme Court.
AZ Central: Cities should be allowed to regulate their roadways for safety and aesthetics. But this rule means church Pastor Clyde Reed has to put out signs “in the dark of night, the night before the church service,” David Cortman, an attorney with the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, told the court.
Is political speech more important than religious speech? Supreme Court hears arguments in church signs case
The Christian Post: Reed and his congregation were represented by the Scottsdale-based law firm the Alliance Defending Freedom. David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of litigation with ADF, noted the apparent disparity.
Catholic News Agency: In oral arguments that began Monday, David Cortman, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel who is representing the church, noted that the town laws are not as strict for directional signs to homebuilders’ sales events or for homeowners’ association event signs.
Alliance Defending Freedom: When Irl Noble’s husband passed away in 2008, after having gone to church all her life, she struggled to attend without him. But she found comfort and community at Good News Presbyterian Church, a church she found not through a website, but through its signs.
Gnomes: Later, attorney David Cortman, representing the church on behalf of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the town’s rules actually predate a state law concerning political signs.
Christian Today: Good News Community Church appealed its case to the Supreme Court, and preliminary statements from the justices indicate that they may side with Pastor Clyde Reed and his counsel, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The Daily Caller: A veteran pastor and Arizona town are squaring off in a Supreme Court case that will have big implications for free speech and religious liberty.
AZ Central: The Supreme Court appears likely to side with a small church in its fight with the town of Gilbert over limits on roadside signs directing people to Sunday services.
Christian Examiner: The church is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group.
Baptist Press: Cortman, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), expressed faith the Supreme Court’s history of protecting free speech means the justices “will not allow the town of Gilbert to continue giving preferential treatment to certain messages while marginalizing others.”
Adventist News: Can a United States city mandate that a sign announcing a religious event must be smaller than a sign promoting a political candidate?
American Thinker: David Cortman, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing Good News, said, “The Supreme Court should ensure that no government in America is allowed to prefer one form of speech over another[.] … Today the government is targeting the church’s speech, but tomorrow it could target someone else’s.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco tells OneNewsNow that questioning from justices earlier today was active.
The New York Times: An Arizona town ordinance that places strict limits on some religious signs appeared to be in trouble on Monday at the Supreme Court.
The Washington Post: The case raises First Amendment issues more complicated than that, of course. The church’s attorney, David A. Cortman, suggested that government regulation of signs receive the court’s most strict scrutiny. The government, Cortman said, should not be “deciding what speech is more valuable than others, because that is exactly what it did in this case.”
The Wall Street Journal: Signs posted by the Good News Community Church “can only be placed in the dark of night, the night before the church service,” David Cortman, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an advocacy group representing the church, told the court.
The Washington Times: “Political signs can be 32 square feet, may be unlimited in number and may be placed in the right of way of the entire town for five months before the election,” said Mr. Cortman, who is part of Alliance Defending Freedom. “Ideological” signs are also given generous treatment, he said.
AZ Central: Alliance Defending Freedom, the Scottsdale-based conservative Christian activist group representing Reed, asked the Supreme Court whether Gilbert’s “mere assertion” that it doesn’t discriminate based on the content of a sign means that the code is indeed content neutral.
East Valley Tribune: Good News Community Church Pastor Clyde Reed, however, brought a suit against the town in 2007 claiming the ordinance was unconstitutional because it favored one type of commercial sign over another. Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has represented Reed during the arguments.
Cronkite News: “The church’s signs are one-fifth of the size (of campaign signs) only placed in the dark of night, 12 hours before the church service,” David Cortman, an attorney for Reed, told the justices Monday.
NPR: The U.S. Supreme Court Monday wrestled with what the constitutional rules should be for local governments seeking to limit sign clutter on public property.
The World and Everything In It: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving church signs (audio)
Religion News Service: “The town code discriminates on its face by treating certain signs differently based solely on what they said,” attorney David A. Cortman told the justices. “The treatment we’re seeking is merely equal treatment under the First Amendment.”
The Daily Signal: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Reed v. Town of Gilbert – a challenge by a church to a town ordinance regulating signs.
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court gave some hints on Monday that it might be willing to give local governments some flexibility on regulating outdoor signs — but probably not when a lawyer for a municipality is led to concede that the impact of that community’s law may “seem rather silly.” That one comment seemed to sum up the quite poor prospects for the sign-regulating ordinance at issue in Reed v. Town of Gilbert.
National Review: Today the Supreme Court resumes its weekly oral arguments after a long winter’s nap. The court held a conference last week to consider a long list of cert petitions, so we should be hearing about some of those too.
Christianity Today: The nation’s highest court kicks off the New Year with an unlikely case, brought by the pastor of a 30-member church that meets in a senior center in Arizona.
USA Today: The Supreme Court opened its December session a month ago by trying to determine what was going through the mind of a Pennsylvania man when he posted threats against his wife and others on Facebook.
Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s really surprising, sometimes, to find that what seem, at first glance, like “little” cases can ultimately have such far-reaching consequences.
You can read the transcript from the oral arguments for Reed v. Town of Gilbert here. Our own David Cortman argued the case.
SCOTUS Blog: At 10 a.m. Monday, the Supreme Court returns to the question of local governments’ power to control outdoor signs as a way to avoid clutter and hazards to safety. Arguing for a small church in Arizona and its pastor challenging a sign law in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert will be David A. Cortman of Lawrenceville, Georgia, an attorney with the legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Washington Post: A Reuters story labels Reed v. Town of Gilbert — which is being argued Monday — as a “religious rights” case, and unsurprisingly this has gotten picked up. But I think this isn’t quite right. The case involves a Free Speech Clause challenge — not a Free Exercise Clause or a Religious Freedom Restoration Act challenge — to a sign ordinance.
The Wall Street Journal (Access via Google): Most legal fireworks these days surround the limits of political speech, but what happens when local governments put their heel on other kinds of public speech? That’s the First Amendment question Monday when the Supreme Court hears oral argument on whether governments can play favorites when regulating speech.
AZ Central: Last summer I spoke to Alliance attorney Matt Sharp. “This little church is having its concerns taken up by the highest court in the land,” he said. “That’s pretty cool.” He added, “To us, this is a case about religious freedom and about free speech. In this instance, the religious content of a sign shouldn’t be a determining factor in how long they get to speak, how big they get to speak, where the signs are located. The case really merges the two issues and asks to what extent does the First Amendment protect all speech?”
NPR: Reed’s lawyer, David Cortman of the Alliance Defending Freedom, will tell the Supreme Court on Monday that the town of Gilbert, by dividing regulations for noncommercial signs into categories — political, ideological and directional event signs — is regulating speech based on its content. And that, Cortman says, is prohibited by the Constitution.
Christian Today (Reuters): The church is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group.
National Law Journal: David Cortman, senior counsel for the alliance at its Lawrenceville, Ga., office, argued for Reed. Coincidentally Philip Savrin, a partner at Atlanta’s Freeman Mathis & Gary who represented the town of Gilbert, is also from Georgia. The town’s insurance carrier recruited Savrin for the case.
Telesur: On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up another religious rights case. The case considers whether a town in Arizona discriminated against a local church forcing it to remove announcements notifying the community about worship services. The case is Reed v. Gilbert, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-502.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco tells OneNewsNow that questioning from justices earlier today was active.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman: “The Supreme Court should ensure that no government in America is allowed to prefer one form of speech over another. No one’s speech is safe if the government is allowed to pick free-speech winners and losers based on the types of speech government officials prefer. The Supreme Court has a long history of ensuring that the government treats all speech in a content-neutral manner. That’s why we trust the court will not allow the town of Gilbert to continue giving preferential treatment to certain messages while marginalizing others.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: We’ve talked about the legal issues with the town of Gilbert’s sign code (applying extra restrictive rules to church signs, asking for a free pass to discriminate against speech they view as “less valuable”).
The Atlantic: The Supreme Court has a chance to sort out one such confusion this Monday when it hears the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert. Though this case involves jargon, it’s a First Amendment case, and thus concerns those who don’t speak lawyer. So let’s understand the special term at issue. It is “content-based,” as in this formula: “Content-based restrictions on speech are presumptively unconstitutional.”
Opposing Views: Pastor Clyde Reed, of the Good News Presbyterian Church, is squaring off against the town of Gilbert, Arizona, in the U.S. Supreme Court this month.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The Supreme Court agreed to hear another ADF case this term, Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The case will likely have an enormous impact on not just the right to religious speech, but everyone else’s free speech rights as well, as we discussed in “How a Little Sign Can Mean Big Things for Freedom.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman will participate in a press conference Monday following his oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. ADF is defending the very essence of free speech, the ability of Americans to invite others to hear a message and participate in it.
KTAR News: “The majority of Christianity believes that behavior is wrong,” said Eric Stanley, the Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom. “With an ordinance like this, they would be coerced by the government to accept that type of behavior and to celebrate it.”
Baptist Press: “It seems that they are waiting for this to sort of trickle out,” Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel for ADF, said. She expects the high court to wait on a decision from the Fifth Circuit and possibly the 11th Circuit, which consists of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Constitution Daily: Reed vs. Town Of Gilbert, Arizona. (Argument date: January 12 ) The first case in front of the Court in January is about local zoning laws that pertain to temporary signs that give directions to where people can attend church services. The Court accepted the case in July 2014 and it involves the zoning ordinance in Gilbert, which draws a distinction between “ideological signs” and “political signs” posted in publicly viewed locations. The Gilbert code restricts religious signs to 6 square feet, while political signs can be up to 32 square feet in size. There are also different time restrictions. A lower court decided the Gilbert code was “content neutral.” The Justice Department supports the church in this case.
Christianity Today: “The government shouldn’t be able to pick and choose speech favorites,” said David Cortman, vice president of litigation for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Reed.
ADF Media: The city of Glendale, Arizona Tuesday temporarily averted repeating the mistakes of Houston, Texas by postponing passing a controversial ordinance that could have serious ramifications on religious freedom within the city. The Alliance Defending Freedom attorney who represented pastors opposed to Houston’s ordinance is a Glendale resident and, in a letter to the council, encouraged the city not to repeat Houston’s error, which led to legal action and a media firestorm in October.
Can Ariz. church freely promote service times in roadside signs without 12-hour restriction? Supreme Court to decide
The Christian Post: ADF Senior Web Writer Marissa Poulson argued Monday that Good News’ roadside signs may seem unimportant, but they represent one of many “building blocks” of freedom.
The New American: Reed, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court, one of the most liberal in the nation, which confirmed Gilbert. It ruled that while the town discriminated against the church, it really didn’t mean to. It declared that there was no intention to harm the church or Pastor Reed, and that the case “lacked a bad motive,” according to the ADF.
East Valley Tribune: The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based legal organization, sent a letter to the district asking it to change the books to comply with the state statute and offered recommendations on how to change it. The board ended up approving the redaction method during an October meeting, and Kishimoto planned to begin the process next summer to accommodate the massive amount of work needed to update all of the Campbell books.
The Daily Signal: Reed’s lawyer, David Cortman, is affiliated with Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that seeks to protect the religious rights of individuals. Cortman says the town’s sign code is a form of discrimination that allows the government to decide what speech is more valuable and thus granted greater protection under the First Amendment.
AZ Central: Reed is represented by the conservative Scottsdale-based Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom. He and his congregation have won the support of a number of religious groups, including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Hobby Lobby last summer in a landmark case that struck down the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. The town also has several proponents, including the National League of Cities, an advocacy group that supports municipalities nationwide.
One News Now: Under Gilbert city ordinances, a political sign can be up to 32 square feet, while a sign for events of a church or other nonprofit can only be six square feet. Alliance Defending Freedom represents the church, and attorney Jeremy Tedesco explains the basis for the church’s case.