The Department of Justice has been forced to hand over $120,000 for bringing a meritless abortion clinic access lawsuit against a clinic protester. This loss is one of multiple lost cases by the Department of Justice against abortion clinic protesters. The Special Litigation Section is the unit bringing the meritless cases. It was profiled in the PJ Media Every Single One Series as being headed by and filled with Leftist ideologues.
The Special Litigation Section sued Mary Sue Pine under the “FACE” Act, which guarantees access to abortion clinics. The complaint alleged Pine obstructed a car entering the clinic by standing in front of it. Hans von Spakovsky previously wrote about the scalding the DOJ received in the trial court.
Judge Kenneth Ryskamp was left to wonder at the near-total lack of evidence offered by the prosecution. The government was unable to show that Pine had in fact violated any provision of the FACE Act; prosecutors had no evidence that she had injured, intimidated, or interfered with the people she spoke to on a public sidewalk. It was not even clear that the people she was talking to were entering the abortion clinic.
In fact, as a routine business practice, the abortion clinic keeps a video surveillance record of its driveways and entrances. Those videotapes would have shown whether Pine was actually interfering with or obstructing any customers, but the clinic destroyed the tapes. Its sign-in sheets, which would have had the names of potential witnesses who went into the clinic the day Pine was there, were also destroyed.
DOJ lawyers apparently thought the case heinous enough to meet with the president of the abortion clinic the day after the incident. But they conceded that at no time during this meeting or after did they ask the clinic for the tapes or the sign-in sheets. Accordingly, DOJ entirely failed to obtain what the judge called “potentially critical evidence.”
The Court found a strange relationship between the DOJ lawyers and the abortion clinic. From the opinion:
The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place. . . . The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.
The DOJ wasn’t so concerned when New Black Panthers were blocking the access with a weapon in a polling place in Philadelphia when Chris Hill tried to enter. Like so much with Eric Holder, the case against Pine was another example of using the power of the federal government to skewer political enemies. The New Black Panthers got a pass, while Mrs. Pine did not.
As a condition to dropping the appeal of this meritless lawsuit, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has agreed to pony up $120,000 in attorneys fees to Mrs. Pine. If you think the attorneys who brought the bogus case should have to pay instead of you, the taxpayers, you’re note alone. Let’s meet the lawyers who were on the complaint in the bogus case.