In very good news, the Cranston school board in Rhode Island has voted not to appeal the court ruling in the Jessica Ahlquist case over a prayer mural in the school’s auditorium, despite a massive campaign demanding that they do so. The cost of doing so after they inevitably lose at the appeals court level appears to have been the key factor:
Appeal opponents cited the legal costs as grounds for giving up the fight and proposed saving the money for education costs.
Lawyers representing Ahlquist have asked the court to order the city to pay $173,000 for legal fees. Attorney Joseph Cavanagh Jr., who represented the city, said a legal fight in the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston and the U.S. Supreme Court would cost another $500,000 in legal fees.
“You will be wasting time and incredible resources. Half a million dollars? How dare you,” resident Rosemary Tregar said.
The costs swayed two members of the school committee who had voted last year to fight litigation over the banner.
Committee member Paula McFarland said the city is facing rising poverty and money must be spent wisely, drawing jeers from appeal supporters.
Now here’s the absurd part:
Appeal supporter, Christopher Young, who is running for U.S. Congress, said he is talking to students about suing the school.
Good luck trying to argue that the school is violating the constitution by not having a prayer mural on the wall.
And here’s the super cool part:
Some Ahlquist supporters wore T-shirts that said “Evil little thing,” a reference to comments made by state Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, a Cranston Democrat, about the teen on talk radio.
Awesome! People wore our shirts. But here’s the sad thing: This decision is likely to induce a whole new round of vile hatred toward Jessica.
Oh, and JT live blogged the whole hearing. Some of the behavior from the wingnuts was predictably appalling. And I like this:
Some guy just said that not appealing this means his children won’t be able to have the same values as him.
Yup! Unless that prayer is on that wall, your kids will start dancing in clubs and studying civics just to spite you.
The guy after him said that the attack on religion by Mr. Obama is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Reading bible quotes now. Oh and appeal or this is a communist country.
Think that’s some inconsequential nut? Nope! It’s Peter G. Palumbo, a state rep in Rhode Island, and a Democrat. And they applaud! FML.
And here’s epic dumbass Michael Egnor in the very first comment on JT’s blog:
The ACLU has already threatened the school with much higher legal fees if they appeal (and lose).
A shakedown. “Nice school you got there. Shame is something happened to it”.
Funny, I’ve never heard Egnor say this when religious right legal groups file lawsuits against schools, as they do all the time. I’ve never heard any critic of the ACLU make the same argument when they agree with the lawsuit. When their side does it, they’re just standing up for principle; when the other side does it, it’s a mafia shakedown. Special pleading much?