Tuscaloosa, Alabama — February 14, 2023. The Center of Religious Expression continues to work with Rodney Keister to secure his right to spread the Christian faith on public sidewalks. Keister wants to share his faith with the University of Alabama students and others who happen to be passing by on a city-owned sidewalk bordering the campus. However, the University of Alabama officials stopped his speech, informing Keister that he could be arrested for trespassing, relying on a UA policy that requires sponsorship from a university entity before communicating religious sentiments on campus. In the fall of 2022, CRE filed a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Rodney Keister. Keister and the Center for Religious Expression are asking the Supreme Court to hear the case and ultimately overturn an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that stifles Keister’s freedom of evangelical speech.
The Center of Religious Expression is grateful for the powerful support of many individuals and groups who have backed our petition to the Supreme Court by submitting Amicus briefs supporting Keister and his rights to speech and free exercise. An Amicus brief is written by an individual or group not involved in the legal case but who seeks to assist the court by offering information, expertise, or insight relevant to the issues in the case.
In Keister v. The University of Alabama, the amicus briefs submitted to support Keister rightfully argue that the Supreme Court has consistently held that public sideways are open to speech protected under the First Amendment. One example from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the individual rights of all Americans, wrote in their amicus brief that the Supreme Court should “grant certiorari to resolve this (circuit court) conflict and reinstate the right of students and non-students alike to exercise their First Amendment rights on public university sidewalks.”
CRE’s petition for certiorari continues to be under review by the Supreme Court, and we pray that the court grants cert to fully consider the rights to speech and free exercise at stake in Rodney Keister’s case.
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.