Illinois action blog

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Live blogging from Federal Court in Chicago

9:15AM: We just got to the courthouse. There are about 25 people in the courtroom. When we got here, the antis were sitting right behind us with their kids (by the way, isn't it a school day?), but they moved right away when we piled in. The kids look miserable.

9:30AM: Steve Trombley, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Chicago Area, and our lawyers have arrived at the courthouse.

9:40AM: The courtroom is starting to fill up, and we are getting a lot of cold looks from across the aisle.

9:49AM: Court officials are arriving.

9:51AM: Court is now in session, there are about 75 people in the room. And in case anyone is wondering, Eric Scheidler is not one of them.

9:55AM: Eric Scheidler just arrived, he's sitting right behind us.

10:09AM: The judge is hearing other cases right now -- we're just sitting tight.

10:21AM: Here we go. Our case is starting. The judge is discussing the motion of extension, and he is skeptical of the city's claim.

10:22AM: The city lawyer is arguing the motion, and the judge is giving him a very hard time. For any newbies to the case, this is a good thing.

10:24AM: The judge is questioning why the city is bringing the state's attorney, John Basanti into the process. We too have been wondering why yet another attorney was brought in.

10:30AM: The judge denied the motion. We're starting our argument. Point #1: The city has repeatedly put up special discriminatory procedures against us.

10:36AM: We are presenting our evidence.

10:46AM: Much discussion of specific legal language.

10:51AM: We are going over the exact timeline of the past year.

10:56AM: There's a priest standing in the aisle, scowling. Which automatically reminds me of how amazing this Planned Parenthood supporter is.

11:02AM: We are concluding our remarks. We are arguing that that the services our clinic provides are constitutionally protected rights, and the city of Aurora is blocking them. The city attorney is visibly agitated.

11:05AM: We are arguing that irreperable harm is happening every day that the city's review continues and the clinic remains closed.

11:07AM: The city attorney's hands are shaking.

11:08AM: We are in recess for 10 minutes. Stay tuned!

11:12AM: The feeling in the courtroom is very tense.

11:21AM: We're back in session. The city is starting its opening arguments.

11:24AM: The city just compared Planned Parenthood to OJ Simpson.

11:26AM: The city attorney said "The city of Aurora's image is important."

11:28AM: More from the attorney: "The abortion right is not exactly crystal clear to the average person." Say what?

11:42AM: The city is arguing that it is trying to please the greatest number of people. The judge is ordering the city to read the full email of the anti-choice alderman.

11:45AM: The city is describing the selection of the independent review and says the review will be completed in 7 days.

11:46AM: The city is arguing that the delay in the clinic's opening is Planned Parenthood's fault.

11:54AM: The city is arguing that this case is all about land use and fraud in permitting. Not about abortion.

11:55AM: The city closed its argument. We are responding.

11:56AM: We are arguing that the clinic should open regardless.

11:58AM: Our lawyers: "We wouldn't be here if this was a foot care clinic."

12:04PM: We concluded our response. It's the city's turn again.

12:05PM: The judge is discussing the argument.

12:06PM: Now the judge is discussing precedent.

12:13PM: The judge's tone is negative toward us in this discussion.

12:18PM: The judge is saying that there is a dearth of evidence showing discrimination and that there was not enough time for a reasonable investigation.

12:20PM: In its present form, the judge is denying the motion. He is leaving the option open to refile.

12:22PM: The judge said that by no means is the case over. He said that the delay itself is not of constitutional magnitude, but that could change.

12:24PM: Court is adjourned. The judge has denied the motion on the ground that we haven't provided enough evidence. We can reapply later when we have more evidence. But for now, the clinic has to remain closed.

12:28PM: And I should add -- this isn't over for us either. We WILL keep fighting to open this clinic. And of course, we'll keep you posted.


Blogger omf said...

At least one of the protestors last week identified himself as a home schooling parent. While I have good progressive friends who have home schooled in the past, this is a significant development on the extreme right

September 20, 2007 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Too_Lively said...

Thank you for keeping us aware of what is going on.

September 20, 2007 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Thanks for the live updating! I have my fingers crossed that the judge will see through the City of Aurora's petty political tactics and let PP open!

September 20, 2007 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

11:24AM: The city just compared Planned Parenthood to OJ Simpson.

Ha ha ha ha!! Sorry, that's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

Thanks for the updates. If that quotation is any indication, I think we'll be all right.

September 20, 2007 at 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is so great to have minute by minute updates. thanks!
in solidarity,

September 20, 2007 at 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Catherine Morgan said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this important issue.

I just posted on your live blogging at "Women 4 Hope" - All Women's Rights Are Not Created Equal

September 20, 2007 at 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Shenna said...

While I'm thankful you are providing this verymuch appreciated service to all of us, I can only wonder if anything is being left out. Like Penn and Teller say on their show, "Everyone has a bias, so the f--k what." I know that you are supportive of one side of this - we all are. Just keep us aware of updated on everything - no Planned Parenthood filter.

Thanks for doing this though!

September 20, 2007 at 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Mayor Weisner is a real wimp. He ran as 100% pro-choice. Now he is showing his true colors. We need to run somebody against this fraud!

September 20, 2007 at 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author."

Afraid of Free Speech are we!

I will go back to Openlineblog and least they believe in Free Speech and not anti life facism!

September 20, 2007 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Lily said...

11:24AM: The city just compared Planned Parenthood to OJ Simpson.

11:26AM: The city attorney said "The city of Aurora's image is important."

11:28AM: More from the attorney: "The abortion right is not exactly crystal clear to the average person." Say what?

If this is the kind of arguments their lawyer is making, the judge should have laughed at the city. I'm stunned he said the clinic can't open yet. Stay strong and keep fighting, you're going to win this battle.

September 20, 2007 at 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question to you is what more do you have to come up with? This city is truly holding things up here. I guess it is out of the question to go before the supreme court?

I also believe that the city fully knew who was moving into that facility and somehow it leaked out to the public and that is when all of these problems started.

Keep up the good fight. Many of us out there need this.

September 20, 2007 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous SuburbanGirl said...

I support this clinic 100%. I justed moved to Aurora not far from this clinic. I refuse to drive by with my daughter in the car because she is just too young for me to explain these protestors and their graphic images. I can't believe these people are using their children this way.

Thank you for your liveblogging. I have always supported reproductive freedom but have never been an activist. This, I think, is turning me into one.

How do we get more organized to stand up to the anti-choice noise machine?

September 20, 2007 at 2:58 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks Emily for the live blogging.

September 20, 2007 at 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from South Dakota. You may remember we had some trouble last year with our rights as well. But the choice side won after a long and tiring debate. However, with the 2008 election comes more fight and more reason to fight. Carry on, Aurora! South Dakota is proof that we will persevere.

September 20, 2007 at 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did PP not challenge the city on land use grounds? It would seem to me that would have been a route to win on.

September 21, 2007 at 12:02 AM  

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