Liberty Counsel has successfully defended Susan Pine, a pro-life sidewalk counselor, in a case brought against Pine by the U.S. Department of Justice. According to Liberty Counsel’s Monday press release, the Department of Justice has dropped its appeal in the case, known as Holder v. Pine. The Department of Justice was pursuing thousands of dollars in fines against Susan Pine. In addition, an injunction was sought against Pine to prevent her from counseling women on the public sidewalk outside of the Presidential Women’s Center abortion clinic in Florida.
In the original lawsuit, Federal Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp threw the case out, citing the Department of Justice’s lack of evidence. Judge Ryskamp also made note of the loose relationship between the Department of Justice and the Presidential Women’s Center. The failure of the Department as well as of the abortion clinic to preserve surveillance video of the alleged “obstruction” by Susan Pine outside the clinic caused the court to suspect a conspiracy.
Judge Ryskmap wrote:
The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place. The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and the PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, the quell MS. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.
The Department of Justice then filed an appeal after the case was thrown out, giving indication that the appeal was ordered by President Barack Obama. Now that the Department of Justice has dropped its appeal in Holder v. Pine, Ms. Pine will receive $120,000 for the improper lawsuit. Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, stated:
It is irresponsible for the U.S. Department of Justice to place politics above principle when deciding to prosecute, and thus attempt to silence, a pro-life sidewalk counselor without any evidence of wrongdoing. When the nation’s highest law enforcement officer files suit against any citizen, the suit must be based on the law coupled with compelling evidence. Anything less is an abuse of the high office. Susan Pine will not be silenced or detoured from her mission to save the lives of innocent children.
The Monday press release from Liberty Counsel notes that in December, in the midst of the case, Susan Pine was able to counsel a woman outside the Presidential Women’s Center, and she convinced the woman not to have an abortion. In an e-mail to Liberty Counsel, Pine wrote, “We saved a life today.”
You can read more about this case in a previous post from Live Action here.
The Liberty Counsel defines itself as “an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.” You can found out more about Liberty Counsel here.