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ADF to US Supreme Court: Revoke govt's free pass to silence public speech

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch, regarding a friend-of-the-court brief ADF attorneys filed Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to hear Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, which centers on a devout Catholic occupational therapist challenging a New York county law that suppresses her First Amendment right to engage peacefully in sidewalk counseling with women considering an abortion:

“Government officials shouldn’t have a free pass to silence speech in public places. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hill v. Colorado in 2000 opened Pandora’s box by providing them that pass. While Hill dealt with speech around public sidewalks, lower courts have expanded the ruling to apply to just about any ‘unwilling listener’ in a public setting. As we explain in our brief, that means one city can ban a pro-life demonstration just as easily as another city can shut down a pro-abortion rally. We urge the court to take Vitagliano’s case, overturn Hill, and help protect every American’s foundational freedom of speech.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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