State Supreme Court Rules Anti-Gay Firefighters Have No Religious Liberty Claim
Two anti-gay firefighters who were ordered to drive a firetruck in a gay pride parade sued, claiming their religious liberties were oppressed.Â
Rhode Island is an extremely Catholic, extremely religious state. Back in June of 2001, two firefighters were ordered to drive a firetruck in the Providence gay pride parade. Citing their Catholic faith, they claim they expressed that they were uncomfortable driving in the parade, but were orderedÂ to do so anyway.
Three years later they sued. And now they have lost, with the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling they have no case.
In theirÂ suit, the two men,Â Theodore Fabrizio Jr. and Stephen Deninno, claim they had to endure “sexual harassment” andÂ “sexual propositions and other offensive remarks,” during the parade, and later, “at least 60 profanity-laced anonymous phone calls,” and “sexual harassment at the hands of their coworkers.”
Ruling that “there was no deprivation of a constitutional right,” Justice William Robinson explained thatÂ “participation in the parade as public servants carrying out a legitimate work assignment was not a deprivation of their constitutional rights,” according to Courthouse News Service.
No pertinent legal authority exists to support “the proposition that, in such specific circumstances, employees’ rights are violated if they happen to possess religious objections to the beliefs of the group with which an otherwise legitimate work assignment requires brief interaction,” according to the ruling.
“The respondents’ appearance in the parade, solely as members of the Providence Fire Department, did not constitute a form of expression on their part,” Robinson wrote. “Rather, it was simply the accomplishing of a task assigned to an engine company of the Providence Fire Department, and the individuals chosen to carry out that assignment cannot be said to have engaged in personal speech by carrying out their work as public servants.”
Justice Robinson also ruled that the court is “unaware of any pertinent legal authority in support of the proposition that, in such specific circumstances, employeesâ€™ rights are violated if they happen to possess religious objections to the beliefs of the group with which an otherwise legitimate work assignment requires brief interaction.”
While this is a state ruling, and not a federal one, it should expose the prevalence of so-called “religious freedom” legislation to greater scrutiny.
Image via Flickr
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Trump Indictment Is a Massive 34 Counts: CNN
When he appears in New York next week, Donald Trump will face a 34-count indictment.
CNN’s John Miller on-air Thursday evening announced, “I am told by my sources that this is 34 counts of falsification of business records, which is probably a lot of charges involving each document, each thing that was submitted, as a separate count.”
JUST IN: CNN’s John Miller says Trump will face 34 counts related to falsifying business recordshttps://t.co/XqxXbMBcSC pic.twitter.com/oY1blHS8K0
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 30, 2023
Attorney Tristan Snell, who assisted in the successful prosecution of the Trump University case for the New York Attorney General’s Office, responded via Twitter:
“This is WAY more than expected. If this is correct, it could mean that the indictment covers FAR more than the Stormy Daniels hush money — like Karen McDougal hush money or other hush money/catch-and-kill cases.”
READ MORE: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
“My hunch for a while,” Snell adds, “given [David] Pecker’s involvement and the drawn-out timetable of the indictment, plus the TWENTY interviews of Michael Cohen with the DA, showed that something far larger than Stormy might be in the works.”
“May still be wrong, of course. But 34 counts is a LOT!”
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
Donald Trump’s attorneys were notified Thursday afternoon a Manhattan grand jury had voted to indict him on felony charges related to his alleged hush money payoff of a porn star he reported slept with.
The ex-president’ attorney recently said if indicted Trump would travel to New York to turn himself in.
The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has just issued a strongly-worded statement saying it is “coordinating” with Trump’s attorneys for his “surrender.”
“This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” the statement reads.
READ MORE: ‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond
The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery posted the statement to Twitter.
Breaking news: Manhattan DA is negotiating for Trump’s “surrender.” pic.twitter.com/9fFx7heiGA
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) March 30, 2023
NBC News explains the process, noting he is expected to be arraigned next week.
“After the indictment, Trump will be arrested and taken into custody. He will likely have a mug shot and fingerprints taken,” NBC reports. “Trump will then appear in court to be arraigned, where he will hear charges and enter a plea. Two sources familiar with the situation told NBC News that the former president is likely to be arraigned next week. Trump will either be jailed or released while pre-trial hearings take place.”
'INDICTED FOR HIS BEHAVIOR'
‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond
Just past 5:00 PM ET The New York Times broke the news that Donald Trump, the ex-president, had been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on felony charges.
It is a historic moment.
Legal experts are weighing in to help guide Americans through an event that has never before happened in this country.
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman says the fact that this is the first time in U.S. history a president is facing criminal charges is itself a problem.
“I think it would have not been a novel event,” Ackerman said on MSNBC, “if we had done this 49 years ago with Richard Nixon, and he had not been pardoned, this will not be a big event [that] it is today.”
READ MORE: New Poll Sends Trump Damning Message About 2024 if He’s Criminally Indicted
“Everybody should be held accountable,” Ackerman added, citing former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s earlier remarks. Cohen testified repeatedly before the Manhattan grand jury that indicted Trump late Thursday afternoon after a three-hour session.
Ackerman lamented that despite over 30 people being indicted during Watergate, “Richard Nixon was pardoned, he wasn’t held accountable.”
“I think this is very important,” Ackerman continued, “establishing a principle, a line in the sand, that even if you’re the President of the United States, and you commit a crime, you can’t stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and just shoot somebody.”
Ackerman was referring to Trump’s infamous comments during the 2016 election, when he bragged he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Attorney and civil rights activist Maya Wiley, also on MSNBC, said, “It’s important and sobering that we had somebody who had the highest office of this country who has now ben indicted for his behavior, his acts, in order to win that office, but also faces what are more shoes that will drop, I believe.”
“It is a sobering moment for this country, that we are witnessing this happened to somebody who was entrusted with such power who has now had a jury of his peers, because that is what a grand jury also is, say we believe he had to face the music.”
READ MORE: Here’s How Five Republicans in Congress Are Responding to the Mass Shooting of 3 Children and 3 Adults in Nashville (Video)
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a professor of law, called this a “moment where we would do well to seriously assess who we are as Americans and who we are not as Americans, because we re all so familiar with Donald Trump’s tactics.”
Fmr. federal prosecutor @JoyceWhiteVance joins “The Beat” on news of Donald Trump’s indictment – “A moment where we would do well to seriously assess who we are as Americans and who we are not as Americans.” pic.twitter.com/H4odpLre3C
— The Beat with Ari Melber 📺 (@TheBeatWithAri) March 30, 2023
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