Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Judge in Case of Arrested Notre Dame Pro-Lifers is Married to Pro-Abortion ND Professor

The attorney representing the pro-lifers arrested while protesting Obama at Notre Dame today repeated his request that the judge in the case, who is married to a pro-abortion Notre Dame professor, be removed from the case.

Attorney Tom Dixon's motion provides detailed support for his assertion in a previous recusal motion that there exists sufficient actual and perceived bias that Judge Jenny Pitts Manier, the judge assigned to the "ND 88" case, is required by Indiana state law to recuse herself in the matter. Dixon states that ever since Judge Manier has known her husband, Professor Edward Manier, he has been a well-known and outspoken advocate of the pro-abortion position.

As his views were well-known and have largely defined his identity at Notre Dame, Dixon argues, it seems implausible that Judge Manier could claim to be unaware of his views on the "ND 88" case, which stem from "the single biggest controversy in the history of the University of Notre Dame."

The case surrounds the arrest of 88 pro-lifers from across America who were charged with trespassing after peacefully witnessing against the presence of President Obama at Notre Dame The university awarded Obama with the commencement speech and an honorary law degree on May 17 of this year. Arrestees were singled out for carrying pro-life messages onto campus - including images of aborted children, a large cross, and images of Mary - while several other trespassers with pro-Obama or pro-Notre Dame signage were allowed to roam the campus.

Dixon argues that the career of Judge Manier's husband at Notre Dame was largely defined by the very same controversies which prompted the pro-lifers to travel across America to ultimately land in the St. Joseph County court room. In Indiana, a judge must recuse himself or herself from a case in the event of actual or perceived bias.

In the original recusal motion in August, Dixon says that Judge Manier refused to answer whether her husband had ever written on the topic of abortion, saying only, "I'm not my husband."

Dixon highlights several ways in which actual and perceived bias exists in the "ND 88" case. In addition to several writings revealing his pro-abortion beliefs, the professor donated "a significant sum of money" to Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign, as well as additional donations to other pro-abortion rights candidates in the United States.

Manier, a supporter of the production of "The Vagina Monologues" on Notre Dame's campus, also attacked Pope Paul VI's pro-life encyclical Humanae Vitae as "intellectually stillborn."
"When one analyzes Edward Manier's political contributions to pro abortion candidates and Political Action Committee, when one reads Edward Manier's writings referencing members of the Christian right, calling them 'fundamentalist mullahs' and 'jackleg preachers,'" Dixon writes, "it is hard to comprehend how Judge Manier could derive from her husband's writings the notion that he has no interest in the outcome of these cases."

Last week, University of Notre Dame law professor emeritus Charles Rice issued an open letter to University president Fr. John Jenkins, saying that the school's attempts at reconstructing a pro-life image were a "mockery" while yet refusing to request leniency for the 88 pro-lifers awaiting trial.

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