The Catholic University of America

Professor Rienzi Gets Win in First Amendment Case on Independence Day


A federal appeals court sided with a local women’s center represented by CUA law Professor Mark Rienzi when it struck down a county ordinance in Montgomery County, Maryland, this Wednesday, July 4. As lead counsel for the Centro Tepeyac pregnancy center, Professor Rienzi went before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in March to argue against the law.

The court's Independence Day ruling struck down a statute that would have required "limited-service pregnancy centers," whose primary purpose is providing information, to post signs saying the county believes women should see a health care professional. The court called the ordinance an "impermissible government control of speech." A federal district court had struck down most of the law’s provisions in March. This week’s appeals court decision went further, striking down the entire law as unconstitutional.

Prof. Rienzi also worked on a similar case in Baltimore, along with CUA law Professor Robert Destro. The two cases served as teaching opportunities for several CUA law students, who earned supervised fieldwork credit as well as practical experience outside the classroom on a timely First Amendment issue. In the Baltimore case, the court’s decision even cited several cases and arguments drafted by a CUA law student. (See article in CUA Law news archives.)

 Professors Rienzi and Destro continue to work with students on other First Amendment litigation projects.