Memphis, Tennessee — October 15, 2019. Today, the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) received a court order and judgment in favor of CRE client John Brindley, ensuring that his First Amendment rights will be protected on a street in front of an abortion clinic in Memphis.
In May 2017, Memphis police stopped Brindley from peacefully sharing a message of life on cove bordering a Planned Parenthood, claiming that despite the street’s public appearance, Brindley must leave because the street was privately owned and Planned Parenthood did not want him speaking there. Brindley later asked Memphis for relief, but Memphis declined.
Left with no other option, Brindley, through CRE, filed a lawsuit seeking to end the policy that violated Brindley’s fundamental rights. The district court denied preliminary relief, conceiving that the street’s private ownership allowed Memphis to banish Brindley therefrom. But, on appeal, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that the appearance and function of the cove meant that it should be open to free speech, just like other public streets.
In light of Brindley’s significant victory, Memphis agreed to permanently cease banning Brindley from the cove, consenting to final judgment in Brindley’s favor. Brindley is now free to resume his life-affirming ministry in front of Planned Parenthood.
“Streets and sidewalks are proper places for free speech regardless of who owns the property,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “Brindley can now share his life-affirming message knowing that Memphis will no longer block it.”
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.