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Brian Johnson Wins Injunction; Distributes Bibles at Pride Fest

25 Jun

This is obviously a little tardy, but an important update to a previous post. Brian Johnson was  granted a temporary injunction by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed him full access to pass out Bibles on the grounds of the Twin Cities Pride Festival this past Sunday. The district court decision stayed by the injunction can be found here.

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Monday Roundup

12 Jun
  • Two men from Bemidji made their first appearances Friday in connection with a May 25 cross burning. According to the PiPress, one man was charged with felony stalking/harassment and the other was charged with felony aiding and abetting stalking/harassment.
  • Representative Keith Ellison from Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District criticized the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision in an op-ed that ran today in The Huffington Post and its local Patch affiliates. Ellison used the peace to promote his so-called “Get Corporate Money out of Politics Amendment.”
  • And finally, Dan Browning of the Strib is reporting that Judge Micheal Davis denied a Wisconsin man’s request for an injunction that would force the Minneapolis parks board to allow him  to hand out Bibles at the 40th Annual Twin Cities Pride festival in Loring Park this summer. I’ll post a link to the decision when I find a copy online. This battle has been on-going for years and I doubt that we’ve heard the last of it…
27 Mar

So we took a little break…

Anyway, on March 19 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth District (which includes Minnesota) handed down Sisney v. Reisch. In Sisney, the 8th Circuit agreed with a South Dakota federal district court that ruled that Sisney, a Jewish prisoner, was not entitled to compensatory damages for authorities’ refusal to permit him to erect a succah in the recreation yard so that he could observe the Jewish holiday feast of Sukkot. According to the opinion, Sisney’s attempts were denied on grounds that the structure would present safety and security issues.

Sisney’s suit, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleged such a denial was a violation of his First Amendment free exercise rights. In denying his  motion, the Eighth Circuit panel cited previous United States Supreme Court caselaw holding that “”prison officials may not deny an inmate ‘a reasonable opportunity of pursuing his faith comparable to the opportunity afforded fellow prisoners who adhere to conventional religious precepts.’” Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972).

(H/T Religion Clause)