Today we filed an amicus brief in the Seventh Circuit in a case challenging the City of Chicago’s buffer zone ordinance, which was designed to prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from speaking to pregnant women at the last opportunity before they enter an abortion clinic. Our brief argued that the case should be decided as any other First Amendment case — and the First Amendment rules should not be bent because this case involves an abortion clinic. We discuss how the courts have allowed a separate abortion rights jurisprudence to have precedence over legal principles of general applicability. We also explain that the Chicago ordinance violates the often ignored First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
On January 22, 2009, Herb Titus presented oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of David Olofson’s appeal from having been wrongfully convicted of transfering a machinegun. At the heart of the Olofson appeal, Titus contended, is that the Government pressed a wrongful definition of a machinegun in order to secure Olofson’s conviction. According to the government’s definition, Olofson’s malfunctioning semiautomatic rifle functioned as a machinegun because it fired more than one shot at the single pull of a trigger, even though it jammed before the trigger was released or the ammunition in the magazine was exhausted. The government’s position, Titus argued, is contrary to fact, contrary to law, and in conflict with Supreme Court Seventh Circuit precedent. Indeed, according to the briefs filed by the firm, Olofson’s prosecutor adopted a definition of a machinegun inconsistent with prior ATF rulings and guidelines.