The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperty this morning released its first annual Freedom Index of Rhode Island Legislators. The Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights was proud to be asked to serve as an advisor on this project.
Hopkins Center Brings Suit Against Newport Police Chief for Failure to Issue Gun Permit Applications
The Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights filed suit against the Newport Chief of Police seeking to vindicate the right of Newport resident David Eikeland to apply for a gun carry permit.
"Law abiding citizens should not be forced to obtain expensive legal representation and seek a court order just to apply for a permit to exercise their fundamental constitutional rights." said Hopkins Center General Counsel and President Matthew Fabisch. The Rhode Island Supreme Court has previously declared that police chiefs have an obligation under Rhode Island law to accept and fairly process carry permit applications. "Every court to have considered this question has reached the same conclusion," continued Fabisch. "The rights protected by the Second Amendment are exercised in Rhode Island by permits issued by the local police chief. The failure to accept and process a permit application is a violation of due process."
Eikeland had originally asked for a permit application from the Newport police department in April of 2010. Despite promises that he would be allowed to apply, after more than two years Eikeland has consistently been denied an application. "That a police department who we rely upon to protect our rights and liberties would, for more than two years, deny a citizen the right to apply for a permit to exercise his fundamental constitutional rights is simply inexcusable. We are confident we will win this suit and put an end to this blatant disregard for the Second Amendment rights of Newport's residents."
The mission of the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights is to protect the rights that Americans recognize as fundamental. The center litigates in such areas as fiscal responsibility and transparency, school choice, free speech, and property rights to assist individuals the government has harmed, and ensure all Rhode Islanders enjoy their constitutional rights.
Hopkins Center President and General Counsel Fabisch was quoted in this week's Providence Phoenix commenting on the historical origins of the arguments raised in the briefing of Rhode Island Governor Chafee's arguments before the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals in the Pleau case. The Hopkins Center had previously submitted a brief in the case arguing that the Governor's position should prevail, but because the Federal Government did not have the power to prosecute the case, not, as the Governor had argued, because of a historical "right to refuse" to extradite. A full copy of the Phoenix article is available Here.
STEPHEN HOPKINS CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS SEEKS LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF IN THE MATTER OF IN RE: JASON WAYNE PLEAU URGING THAT THE COURT REEXAMINE FEDERAL JURISDICTION
Although the Stephen Hopkins Center does not represent party litigants in criminal matters, where a criminal case presents an opportunity to vindicate the principles of federalism, the Center will consider filing an amicus breief as it has done in this matter. A copy of the brief is available for download - here.
STEPHEN HOPKINS CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS DECLARES 2011 A BANNER YEAR FOR SCHOOL CHOICE, URGES RHODE ISLAND TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE SCHOOL CHOICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2012
STEPHEN HOPKINS CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS DECLARES 2011 A BANNER YEAR FOR SCHOOL CHOICE, URGES RHODE ISLAND TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE SCHOOL CHOICE.
Providence, RI - -The Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights, Rhode Island's leading free market and civil rights litigation center, joined this week with over 250 other organizations nationally and here in Rhode Island to mark National School Choice Week and urge continued recognition and expansion of the right of parents to choose the best education for their children. "2011 was a banner year for the recognition and expansion of a parent's constitutional right to school choice, and 2012 is shaping up to be just as good." Said Attorney Matthew L. Fabisch, President and General Counsel of the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights.
"While there has been great progress nationally, Rhode Island still has a lot of work to do to ensure all families have the choice to decide what schools will best suit their child." Nationally the number of children served by voucher and tax credit scholarship programs last year expanded to 190,194 but Rhode Island accounted for only 460 of those students. Just this month, the Rhode Island Senate passed a resolution (#2064) proclaiming January 22 -28 as "School Choice Week" and noting that "[r]esearch in Rhode Island and across our nation demonstrates conclusively that providing children with multiple schooling options improves academic performance. . ." The resolution also expresses the Senate's conviction that "[t]he vital cause of education reform is one that transcends ideology and political party affiliation" and that "[c]itizens across Rhode Island agree that improving the quality of education and expanding access to highly effective schools should be an issue of importance to our state’s leaders."
"Last year seven states enacted new school choice programs, nine existing school choice programs expanded, and the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was restored. Yet, perhaps the most important victory for children, was that the United States Supreme Court refused to allow a frivolous establishment clause challenge to the the constitutionality of the Arizona Individual Scholarship Tax Credit thereby upholding the law and guaranteeing that the right of more than 27,000 parents to choose the best school for their child would be protected." Fabisch continued "this year, we are poised to make additional gains for school choice as the state supreme courts apply the precedents established by the United States Supreme Court. Indeed, just last week an Indiana Superior Court judge dismissed all legal challenges to the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, one of the new school choice programs signed into law during 2011."
Pointing to the Senate resolution and a new focus on educational achievement and school choice by Rhode Island think-tank the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Fabisch said his organization is optimistic about the future of school choice in Rhode Island. "Initiatives like the Bright Today Scholarship Program, a special needs voucher program, proposed this week by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, or an expansion of the Rhode Island Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit to include special needs and other students will empower our state's most vulnerable children and their families to escape the soft tyranny of low expectations and find a suitable educational environment where they can achieve. As the state makes progress, the Stephen Hopkins Center will be there to ensure the rights of these parents, families and students to choose the school that is best for them are protected in court."
The mission of the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights is to protect the rights that Americans recognize as fundamental. The center litigates in such areas as fiscal responsibility and transparency, school choice, free speech, and property rights to assist individuals the government has harmed, and ensure all Rhode Islanders are able to enjoy their constitutional rights.
* * *
Contact Matthew Fabisch, Esq. at 401-324-9344 or Info@HopkinsCenter.org.
The Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights this week joined with over 250 other organizations nationally and the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity to mark National School Choice Week and urge continued recognition and expansion of the right of parents to choose the best education for their children. Stay tuned later in the week for a special announcement regarding school choice in Rhode Island.
THE STEPHEN HOPKINS CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS ACKNOWLEDGES THE PASSING OF A TRUE AND UNIQUELY RHODE ISLAND HERO OF THE CAUSE OF PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS, ANTHONY PALAZZOLO.
Westerly, RI - A key contributor to the cause of the defense of property rights in America – an unlikely legal scholar who ran an auto-salvage business while educating himself on constitutional law as he fought for 50 years to develop property in the community of Misquamicut -- passed away of complications from congestive heart disease at Miriam Hospital this past Thursday, November 3rd.
That hard fought case, Palazzolo v. RI, was ultimately heard before the US Supreme Court. With the help of attorneys from the Pacific Legal Foundation (notably James Burling), Palazzolo established the right to challenge unconstitutionally invasive property regulations even if those regulations existed before a property owner acquired his/her property.
In Palazzolo’s case, of course, none of the regulations existed when he bought the property. However, expiration of the family corporation he chartered to develop the property was seized on by the state as an excuse to deny Palazzolo the right to develop.
As often happens, his fame at the US Supreme Court was not followed by fortune on remand back home. A state court ultimately asserted the equally constitutionally vacuous theory that the development was a “nuisance” in denying development of all but one lot. In essence, the state court held that, without paying so much as one cent, the state had somehow acquired an easement to utilize Palazzolo’s property to rid the waters of Winnapaug Pond of effluence from the many other existing homes on its edge.
“Tony Palazzolo stood for that most American of principles,” noted Brian Bishop, special advisor to the Stephen Hopkins Center, “in that those in every political and economic walk of life should be supported in their defense of their basic rights, and how battling for these rights can literally cast anyone as David vs. Goliath when the populist will, or its purported expression by politicians, proposes to trample those rights.”
A loving, if curmudgeonly, father, Anthony Palazzolo, leaves his wife Josephine and children, Christine, Michele, Michael, Mary, Teresa and Anthony Jr., a family sometimes stressed by his lifelong commitment to the case but determined that justice should ultimately be done for their husband and father.
His passing will be observed at a wake from 4-7 PM on Tuesday, Nov. 8th at the Gaffney Dolan Funeral Home on Spruce St. in Westerly, and a Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, Nov. 9th at The Immaculate Conception Church on High St. in Westerly followed by burial and a reception in Westerly. His friends, family and ‘followers’ are encouraged to attend and to make their feelings known to those surviving this legend.
The Stephen Hopkins Center intends to endow an annual prize in memory of Anthony Palazzolo, in recognition of the great personal sacrifice he and his family made to stand up for the most basic of rights, a cause which unfortunately requires eternal vigilance.