When Bryan J. Brown gave up his picket sign for a law degree, that just made him a stronger activist- and perfect candidate for a job in Kansas state government.

Born Again 

When Bryan J. Brown gave up his picket sign for a law degree, that just made him a stronger activist- and perfect candidate for a job in Kansas state government.

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For example, he represented Mark Gabriel, who wanted permission to stand in front of a Plano, Texas, high school with a giant picture of an aborted fetus. Gabriel had been threatened with arrest on September 3, 1996, by a police officer who twisted Gabriel's arm to get him to drop his sign. State law prohibited people from disrupting classes within 500 feet of school property, and U.S. District Judge Paul Brown ruled that the police had acted appropriately.

In June 1998, Brown represented two Florida women who wanted a federal judge to let them hand out anti-Disney pamphlets along highways and in medians during an Operation Rescue demonstration planned for Orlando. (Disney had come under fire for its support of domestic partnerships for homosexual couples.) During the demonstration, protesters picketed clinics as well as the federal courthouse and a Barnes & Noble bookstore, but Judge G. Kendall Sharp refused to let the women take to the highways and medians.

Last year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision. Later, a federal judge struck down two statutes that Brown said "criminalized literature distribution along sidewalks and streets with broad brush strokes."

In May 2001, Brown represented ten abortion protesters in Bridgeport, Connecticut, who were being watched by police during their twice-a-week clinic protests.

The next month, he stuck up for the Reverend Michael Warren, who was facing contempt-of-court charges for violating a 15-foot buffer zone that U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara had established around two clinics in Rochester, New York.

That October, Federal District Judge Ancer Haggerty agreed with Brown that Paul DeParrie had a right to carry into Portland, Oregon, city parks a giant poster with a picture of an aborted fetus and the message "Why should God Bless America?"

Brown explained his client's motivation in a press release put out by the American Family Association after the decision. "Paul very much wanted to return to the central downtown park to present his very timely message on October 31 through November 2 for this season celebrates the Protestant Reformation, Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. These three days are a time when thoughts turn toward both the supernatural and death, the very themes that Paul graphically presents."

In January 2002, Brown convinced the city of Monroe, Wisconsin, to revoke its ordinance limiting protest signs to no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet and forbidding leaflets on car windows. He also got the city to pay $12,800 in legal fees and court costs.

"This case could be a textbook example of how pro-life activists and their attorneys can partner together for victory," Brown wrote in a press release about the decision.

And he stayed plenty busy representing the Reverend Matt Trewhella, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pastor and the founder of the anti-abortion group Missionaries to the Preborn. Trewhella gained notoriety in 1994 when a Planned Parenthood statement portrayed him as a link between anti-abortion activists and militant right-wing groups.

Planned Parenthood made that statement a month after a doctor and his escort were shot and killed outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida. The group showed a videotape from a militia group in Wisconsin. In a speech on the Second Amendment, Trewhella said that churches should teach their congregations to fight. He said his sixteen-month-old son could identify his trigger finger, and he suggested that parents stop playing "pin the tail on the donkey" with their own children and "start blindfolding them and sitting them down on the living-room floor and saying, 'now put the weapons together.'"

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