First Amendment Trumps Sharia in Dearborn

May 31, 2011 @

A rare and striking vindication of American free speech principles came this week, setting back those American Muslims who believe that in their own enclaves, sharia-based restrictions on religious freedom should exist.

A seminal, if ominous report released May 17, 2011 by the Center for Security Policy described fifty appellate court cases from 23 states which involve conflicts between Islamic law-Sharia-and American state law. Nothwithstanding the delusive mindslaughter on display across America’s political spectrum which denies Sharia encroachment in the US, the CSP analysis revealed that,

Sharia has been applied or formally recognized in state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy.

But the grim, seemingly inexorable, progressive acceptance of Sharia-based mores in the US-despite this totalitarian religio-political “law” being antithetical to American law-was at least temporarily reversed late last week, in of all places, Dearborn, Michigan. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  ruled 2:1 on Thursday May 26, 2011 (in GEORGE SAIEG, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF DEARBORN; RONALD HADDAD, Dearborn Chief of Police ) that Dearborn, and its police department, violated the free-speech rights of a Christian evangelist by barring him from handing out leaflets at an Arab-American street festival last year. The court’s two judge majority opinion concluded,

On the free speech claim, we REVERSE the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants and its denial of summary judgment to the plaintiffs. We thereby invalidate the leafleting restriction within both the inner and outer perimeters of the Festival.1 The restriction on the sidewalks that are directly adjacent to the Festival attractions does not serve a substantial government interest. The City keeps those same sidewalks open for public traffic and permits sidewalk vendors, whose activity is more obstructive to sidewalk traffic flow than pedestrian leafleting is. Moreover, the prohibition of pedestrian leafleting in the outer perimeter is not narrowly tailored to the goal of isolating inner areas from vehicular traffic. The City can be held liable because the Chief of Police, who instituted the leafleting restriction, created official municipal policy.

Elaborating on the issue of Dearborn’s liability for depriving George Saieg, an American Christian pastor of Sudanese descent, of his first amendment rights, the judges opined,

The City may be held liable for the restriction of Saieg’s free speech rights that the leafleting restriction caused. A municipality is liable if a constitutional injury results from a policy or custom “made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy.” Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694-95 (1978). In this case, the City approved the Festival “subject to . . . the rules and regulations of the Police Department.” R. 47-13 (Ex. M: Council Resolution)…Chief Haddad described the leafleting policy as his department’s policy, subject only to the approval of the city council and the mayor. R. 47-11 (Ex. K: Haddad Dep. at 95-96) (stating that “the police department will supply the standards that must be met,” such as the “prohibition of individuals handing out . . . materials on the public sidewalk”). The police department’s leafleting policy, made with the authority that the City Council delegated to it, fairly represents official City policy. Therefore, Saieg may hold the City liable for violating his First Amendment right to free speech.

Read More at American Thinker by Andrew G. Bostom, American Thinker

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