April 2, 2012
Department of Justice Drops Appeal and Pays Pro-life Sidewalk Counselor
Washington, DC – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped its appeal in Holder v. Pine against pro-life sidewalk counselor Mary “Susan” Pine, who is represented by Liberty Counsel. The DOJ has agreed to pay $120,000 for this improper lawsuit. The DOJ had unsuccessfully sought thousands of dollars in fines against Susan Pine, as well as a permanent injunction banning her from counseling women on the public sidewalk outside the Presidential Women’s Center (“PWC”) abortion clinic.
After 18 months of litigation, the DOJ’s case was thrown out of federal court, and the department was chastised for filing a case with no evidence. Federal Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp stated that Holder’s complete failure to present any evidence of wrongdoing, coupled with the DOJ’s cozy relationship with PWC and their joint failure to preserve video surveillance footage of the alleged “obstruction,” caused the court to suspect a conspiracy at the highest level 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.” After this ruling the DOJ appealed on the last day possible and gave indication that President Obama ordered the appeal.
Ironically, this past December, in the midst of the case, Ms. Pine actually counseled a woman outside of PWC and convinced her not to have an abortion, thus saving the life of the child and possibly the mother as well. Her email to Liberty Counsel read, “We saved a life today.”
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented, “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.”
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