HAnsen v. Ann Arbor Public Schools 293 FSupp2d 780

Kim Daniels danielsk at boo.net
Wed Apr 21 22:12:09 PDT 2004


As I noted in my initial post, it's of course true that the ACLU was not
directly involved in this litigation, and that "the Pioneers' beef is with
the school district, not the ACLU."

The question that prompted my response, however, was whether the ACLU
supported a tendentious view of the Establishment Clause in this case simply
because it disagreed with the substantive beliefs of the Catholic student
plaintiff.  While your phone call to the Michigan ACLU no doubt elicited
some post hoc minimization of its role, a defendant's sworn deposition
testimony indicates that the ACLU's involvement went beyond the one general
conversation you heard about, and that the group was clearly well aware of
the religious nature of the program.  In other words, the Michigan ACLU had
all the facts; it nonetheless supported the government's strained reading of
the first amendment as against a student group called, as it happens, the
Pioneers for Christ.

Back to lurking for me --

Kim Daniels
Associate Counsel
Thomas More Law Center
3475 Plymouth Rd.
Suite 100
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2550
(734) 827-2001 (main office)
(301) 907-3925 (direct dial)
krdaniels at verizon.net



> From: Michael MASINTER <masinter at nova.edu>
> Reply-To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics <religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu>
> Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 19:06:49 -0400 (EDT)
> To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics <religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu>
> Subject: Re: HAnsen v. Ann  Arbor Public Schools 293 FSupp2d 780
> 
> The point, which should have been obvious, is that on the facts presented,
> the ACLU attorney got the first amendment right.  The Michigan ACLU was
> not counsel for the Ann Arbor Public Schools or its employees and did not
> represent them in any aspect of this dispute.  The Pioneers' beef is with
> the school district, not the ACLU.
> 
> 
> Michael R. Masinter            3305 College Avenue
> Nova Southeastern University        Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33314
> Shepard Broad Law Center        (954) 262-6151
> masinter at nova.edu            Chair, ACLU of Florida Legal Panel
> 
> On Wed, 21 Apr 2004, Kim Daniels wrote:
> 
>> Rather than provide my second-hand view of events, I went ahead and
>> forwarded Mr. Masinter's e-mail to Rob Muise, the Thomas More Law Center
>> attorney who represents the plaintiff in the Hansen case.  Here's his
>> response: 
>> 
>> "So what's the point?  That the ACLU didn't know the facts of the case, so
>> the advice it gave in support of the school's position was a mistake?
>> The ACLU attorney not only spoke with a GSA advisor, he also spoke with
>> the school's equity officer (we successfully sued the equity officer as
>> well).  The equity officer testified during her deposition that she did
>> speak with an ACLU attorney, "giving him the factual, talking over with him
>> the factual scenario of what had happened with the panel and Pioneers for
>> Christ wanting to be represented and listening to what he thought with
>> regard to that particular fact scenario."
>> 
>> Is the ACLU now saying that the school was wrong?  They certainly have been
>> very quiet about it if that is the case.  The reality is that the ACLU was
>> fully aware of the facts of this case, and they advised the GSA and a school
>> official that excluding my client and holding a diversity week panel on
>> homosexuality and religion, such as the school did, was constitutional."
>> 
>> 
>> Kim Daniels
>> Associate Counsel
>> Thomas More Law Center
>> 3475 Plymouth Rd.
>> Suite 100
>> Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2550
>> (734) 827-2001 (main office)
>> (301) 907-3925 (direct dial)
>> krdaniels at verizon.net



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