First Amendment

Nativity lawsuit brings new county ordinance

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a “public forum ordinance” this week in response to the ongoing lawsuit over a nativity scene displayed on the county’s courthouse lawn during the holiday season.
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Justices appear to favor small church over sign law

January 12, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday appeared likely to side with a small church in its fight with a Phoenix suburb over limits on roadside signs directing people to Sunday services.
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Disputed Nativity scene will stay up until Dec. 26

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press
A county in southeastern Indiana reached an agreement Friday with a group suing to force the removal of a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn that will allow the decades-old display to remain in place through Christmas.
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Judge delays hearing on Indiana Nativity scene

December 19, 2014
 Associated Press
A federal judge has delayed a hearing on a bid to remove a Nativity scene that's been erected each winter for more than a half-century on a southeastern Indiana county's courthouse lawn.
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First Amendment complaint filed against county for nativity scene

December 16, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A nativity scene on the grounds of the Franklin County courthouse has become the subject of a federal lawsuit.
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7th Circuit declines collateral-order review in infertility lawsuit

December 2, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A Fort Wayne woman’s discrimination lawsuit against the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will continue despite the Catholic Church’s attempt to get the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene before trial and dismiss the complaint on religious freedom grounds.
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Justices weigh free speech rights, Facebook threats

December 1, 2014
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States struggled Monday over where to draw the line between free speech and illegal threats in the digital age.
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Attorney: reasoned discourse needed in Internet age

November 5, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Wabash College grad David Kendall returns to alma mater as the keynote speaker at the school's Public Discourse Summit.
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Wabash alumnus calls for reasoned and thoughtful political speech

October 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
While the supporters of the Citizens United decision claim greater spending can energize the public to participate in the political process, First Amendment attorney David Kendall maintains the result has actually been less-thoughtful political speech and an influx of Congressional members who are more concerned with fundraising than setting policy.
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DC attorney to discuss 1st Amendment and Internet at Wabash College summit

October 16, 2014
IL Staff
A Washington, D.C., attorney and Wabash College graduate will deliver the inaugural keynote address during the school’s Public Discourse Summit next week.
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Judge: Yorktown’s door-to-door soliciting restriction unconstitutional

October 3, 2014
IL Staff
Yorktown’s ordinance forbidding door-to-door canvassing before or after daylight hours is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled.
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7th Circuit grants city, mayor’s request for stay

August 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The doctrine of “pendent appellate jurisdiction” allows the city of Anderson to ask the District Court to stay proceedings in a case alleging city employees were fired because of political affiliation, ruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case against the city is directly tied to the result of the case against the city’s mayor.
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Judge orders Indiana BMV to resume selling plates

July 17, 2014
 Associated Press
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles must resume issuing personalized license plates, a Marion County judge ordered Wednesday, but that doesn't mean it'll happen in the near future.
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7th Circuit: Indiana's marriage solemnization statute violates Constitution

July 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding that Indiana’s statute specifying who many solemnize marriage “discriminates arbitrarily among religious and ethical beliefs,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state must allow certified secular humanist celebrants to perform wedding ceremonies.
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Nonprofits' contraceptive cases next for justices

July 7, 2014
 Associated Press
How much distance from an immoral act is enough? That's the difficult question behind the next legal dispute over religion, birth control and the health law that is likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court of the United States.
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'0INK' vanity plate fight could go to Legislature

July 7, 2014
 Associated Press
A fuss over a police officer's vanity plate has blown up into a constitutional debate that could lead to the Indiana General Assembly deciding whether to rewrite the law or stop selling personalized license plates altogether.
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ACLU sues 2 Indy police officers over car sticker

July 2, 2014
 Associated Press
An Indiana woman intended her bumper sticker reading "unmarked police car" as a joke, but two police officers didn't think it was funny. Now, they're being sued in federal court for allegedly violating the woman's free speech rights, and officials aren't laughing.
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SCOTUS rules public union can't make nonmembers pay fees

June 30, 2014
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover the union's costs of collective bargaining.
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Church lacks standing to appeal order preventing erection of crosses on city property

June 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Evansville church that sought to display multiple six-foot-tall crosses along the city’s public Riverfront cannot appeal the court order that prevents the city from allowing the display, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Blogger Brewington seeks rehearing, wants Rush to recuse

June 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
A blogger whose intimidation convictions arising from a child-custody dispute were affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court is seeking a rehearing in an effort to vacate his convictions.
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Indiana justices consider whether ‘cause of death’ is public information

May 8, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Evansville newspaper and local county health department appeared before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday, reviving a dispute they had decades ago over whether death certificates are public record.
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Justices uphold conviction for blogger's threat to judge

May 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court held that a blogger’s actions arising from being stripped of his children’s custody placed targets of his contempt in fear for their safety.
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Supreme Court draws distinctions in blogger Brewington case

May 1, 2014
Dave Stafford
Blogger Daniel Brewington’s convictions for intimidating Dearborn Circuit Judge James Humphrey and obstruction of justice were upheld by the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday, but under different reasoning than the Indiana Court of Appeals applied.
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Blogger Brewington loses Supreme Court appeal over online threat

May 1, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday affirmed multiple convictions of a southern Indiana man who threatened a judge through inflammatory posts on a blog.
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Councilor: ACLU settlement won't deter panhandling proposal

April 9, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
The city of Indianapolis reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union over enforcement of its panhandling ordinance, but that won't deter a City-County Council effort to pass a more restrictive law, a councilor said Wednesday morning.
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  1. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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