by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The judge assigned to the cases of 88 pro-life demonstrators who were arrested last spring during the appearance at Notre Dame of President Barack Obama has decided to recuse herself from the case.
The South Bend Tribune is reporting that St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jenny Pitts Manier filed an order on Jan. 6 to recuse herself from the “ND88” cases only days after defense attorneys filed an appeal of her earlier decision to remain on the case.
Defense attorneys at the Thomas More Society argued that Judge Manier should step down because she had either an actual or perceived bias against the pro-life position based on her prior rulings and her husband’s outspoken criticism of Catholic pro-life teachings while serving as a professor at Notre Dame.
This will allow the case to be given to another judge who will rule on a pending motion to dismiss the cases due to suspected “viewpoint discrimination” on the part of campus police. These charges are based on the fact that demonstrations in favor of the Obama appearance were tolerated while pro-life demonstrators were subject to arrest.
“We are pleased that the Feast of Epiphany provided the defendants with this unexpected gift,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. “It is essential that these important cases be decided by an impartial tribunal. We look forward to securing a favorable ruling on the pending motion for dismissal.”
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