Holder loses FACE in a case against a pro-life sidewalk counselor

The Department of Justice — apparently because it has nothing better to do (like prosecute real cases of voter intimidation or defend the Defense of Marriage Act!) — has filed a number of cases against pro-life sidewalk counselors for alleged violations of the Free Access to Clinic Entrance or FACE Act. Some time ago, I wrote about the case against Dick Retta, a peaceful, prayerful man the DOJ calls a “vocal and aggressive” anti-abortion (a.k.a. pro-life!) protester. The speciousness of the DOJ’s accusations against Retta are representative of the weakness of their arguments in most, if not all, of these cases.

Fortunately, in a recent ruling on a high-profile example of “the FACE cases,” a U.S. district judge called out the DOJ in no uncertain terms for the ludicrousness:

The Justice Department has dropped an appeal in Holder v. Pine against pro-life sidewalk counselor Mary “Susan” Pine, who is represented by the civil rights firm Liberty Counsel. The DOJ has agreed to pay $120,000 for this frivolous lawsuit which, as the evidence indicated, was intended to intimidate Ms. Pine and send a shot over the bow of pro-lifers around the country.

Mr. Holder unsuccessfully sought thousands of dollars in fines against Ms. Pine, as well as a permanent injunction banning her from counseling women on the public sidewalk outside the Presidential Women’s Center (PWC) abortion mill (or any other “reproductive services” clinic).

After 18 months of litigation, the DOJ’s case was thrown out of federal court, and the department was chastised in a scathing ruling by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp for filing a case with no evidence.

Judge Ryskamp wrote that Holder’s complete failure to present any evidence of wrongdoing, coupled with the DOJ’s cozy relationship with PWC and their apparent joint decision to destroy video surveillance footage of the alleged “obstruction,” caused the court to suspect a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Obama administration. “The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” wrote Judge Ryskamp. “The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.”

Let’s review Ryskamp’s words, just in case you didn’t catch the full extent of his insinuations: Ryskamp hints at a conspiracy between the Justice Department and the pro-abortion Presidential Women’s Center abortion mill.

We don’t have to look very far for further evidence that this administration wants to impose a radical anti-life agenda. In the throes of the Obamacare debate, members of Congress agonized over whether taxpayer funds should be allowed to go toward abortions. The president purported to solve the controversy with an executive order that was supposed to ban the use of federal dollars for abortions. The EO was never more than a temporary, political solution to ensure that pro-life Democrats would vote for Obamacare. After all, EOs are reversible at any time. Unfortunately for pro-lifers, the ruse worked and a number of pro-life Democrats sold out to vote for Obamacare. (Many of them eventually paid for it, though, losing their seats in the 2010 midterm elections.) Since then, the HHS has attached a “final rule” to Obamacare that earmarks taxpayer funds expressly for an abortion services pool. So much for no taxpayer funding of abortion.

Ryskamp’s ruling is hopeful, though. Perhaps the DOJ pressed its luck too far by prosecuting the FACE cases — and the decision to prosecute will wake Americans to the president’s pro-abortion-even-at-taxpayer-expense agenda.