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Motion for Leave to File Reply in Support of Illinois Catholic Charities Emergency Motion for Stay

Motion for Leave to File Reply in Support of Illinois Catholic Charities Emergency Motion for Stay

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Published by Tom Ciesielka
Plaintiffs-appellants, three Catholic Charities entities for the Roman Catholic Dioceses of
Springfield, Joliet, and Belleville (hereinafter “plaintiffs” or, respectively, “Springfield,”
“Joliet,” and/or “Belleville,” or “Catholic Charities”), hereby move, respectfully and by their
undersigned counsel, that this Court grant them leave to file this reply in further support of their
pending emergency motion for stay of enforcement of the Circuit Court’s summary judgment
order, which dismissed all of their claims, with prejudice, and for renewal or reissuance of the
preliminary injunction which had been vacated below, in order to avert an imminent crisis in
Illinois’s child welfare system and preserve the status quo ante, pending adjudication of the
merits of this appeal.
Plaintiffs-appellants, three Catholic Charities entities for the Roman Catholic Dioceses of
Springfield, Joliet, and Belleville (hereinafter “plaintiffs” or, respectively, “Springfield,”
“Joliet,” and/or “Belleville,” or “Catholic Charities”), hereby move, respectfully and by their
undersigned counsel, that this Court grant them leave to file this reply in further support of their
pending emergency motion for stay of enforcement of the Circuit Court’s summary judgment
order, which dismissed all of their claims, with prejudice, and for renewal or reissuance of the
preliminary injunction which had been vacated below, in order to avert an imminent crisis in
Illinois’s child welfare system and preserve the status quo ante, pending adjudication of the
merits of this appeal.

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Published by: Tom Ciesielka on Oct 18, 2011
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1
No. 4-11-0905IN THE ILLINOIS APPELLATE COURTFOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICTCATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE DIOCESE )OF SPRINGFIELD-IN-ILLINOIS, an Illinois )non-profit corporation,
et al.
, )Plaintiffs-Appellants, )vs. ) Appeal from the Seventh Judicial) Circuit, Sangamon County, IllinoisSTATE OF ILLINOIS,
et al.
, ) Circuit No. 2011-MR-254Defendants-Appellees, ) Circuit Judge: Hon. John Schmidtand ))SUSAN TONE PIERCE,
et al.
, )Intervenors-Appellees. )MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE REPLY IN SUPPORT OFPLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS’ EMERGENCY MOTION FOR STAYPreliminary
Plaintiffs-appellants, three Catholic Charities entities for the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Springfield, Joliet, and Belleville (hereinafter “plaintiffs” or, respectively, “Springfield,”“Joliet,” and/or “Belleville,” or “Catholic Charities”), hereby move, respectfully and by theirundersigned counsel, that this Court grant them leave to file this reply in further support of theirpending emergency motion for stay of enforcement of the Circuit Court’s summary judgmentorder, which dismissed all of their claims, with prejudice, and for renewal or reissuance of thepreliminary injunction which had been vacated below, in order to avert an imminent crisis inIllinois’s child welfare system and preserve the
status quo ante,
pending adjudication of themerits of this appeal.Plaintiffs also seek leave to file a Supplemental Affidavit of Gary Huelsmann, executivedirector of Belleville’s Catholic Charities, to update this Court on developments that have taken
 
2place since filing of plaintiffs’ emergency motion for stay, their suggestions, and Huelsmann’sinitial affidavit in support thereof. The most salient new fact is that defendant DCFS now has
agreed 
to reinstate the
status quo ante
for the Catholic Charities entity for the Diocese of Peoria,which declined to pursue this appeal, at least until January 31, 2012, before it too must transitionits cases (
i.e.,
children) to other agencies that do not share Catholics’ conscientious objections toprocessing foster care applications from civil union couples.By this reply, plaintiffs seek merely to bring to the Court’s attention such new facts thathave arisen in the wake of their prior filings, as well as addressing several misstatements andnew issues contained in the opposition’s forty-five pages of filings, and to highlight severalissues whose particular importance has become more sharply apparent in light of those filings.Plaintiffs thus respectfully reassert their arguments in their emergency motion for stay herein toavoid unnecessary repetition.Plaintiffs’ central contention on appeal remains fully “substantial” and ought to provedispositive: Property ownership is not a prerequisite to asserting one’s fundamental right to freeexercise of religion here in Illinois. 775 ILCS 35/1 (2010)
et seq.
No such qualification orhedge on the fundamental right to religious liberty was imposed or even suggested by ourSupreme Court in
 Morr-Fitz, Inc. v. Blagojevich,
231 Ill.2d 464, 502 (2008), when it held thatthe Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“IRFRA”) affords “a right to file a judicialaction when the rights protected therein are infringed upon,” citing 775 ILCS 35/20 (2010). Thatstatute provides, without any reference to property rights or interests,
 
that whenever “a person’sexercise of religion has been burdened in violation of [the] Act, that person may assert the
 
3violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and may obtain appropriate relief againsta government.”
1
 As Mr. Huelsmann’s Supplemental Affidavit makes painfully evident, the IllinoisDepartment of Children & Family Services (DCFS) is now accelerating its insistent demandsthat over a thousand foster children precariously poised on the brink of being “transitioned” fromthe ongoing care and oversight of the plaintiff Catholic agencies and the foster families theyrecruited be moved to other agencies – a move that inevitably will cause disruption, dislocation,and discontinuity to at least some, if not a good many, of those children. Now DCFS insists thatthe “transitioning” process begin
immediately,
and without further delay, and that the entireprocess be completed by November 30
th
– a date that will arrive well before this Court couldadjudicate the merits of plaintiffs’ claims, even subject to an expedited briefing schedule. Anysupposed need for this “hurry up” is belied by the fact that DCFS apparently is willing to leavethe
status quo ante
fully intact through January 31, 2012, for the foster children under the careand oversight of the Peoria Diocese’s Catholic Charities entity, also a plaintiff below but whichopted not to pursue its religious liberty claims on appeal.
I.
 
New Information Provided by DCFS This Past Wednesday Belies
 Any
Claimof Harm on the Part of the Defendants and Intervenors.
Four other large Illinois child welfare agencies have already been forced to submit to thedefendant DCFS’s coercive choice, three of them quitting the field altogether and the other
1
Also,
cf. Perry v. Sinderman,
408 U.S. 593, 597-98 (1972), discussed in plaintiffs’ motion toreconsider (SR-100-101), holding that the plaintiff’s “lack of a contractual or tenure ‘right’ to re-employment for the 1969-1970 academic year is immaterial to his free speech claim,” and “thateven though a person has no ‘right’ to a valuable governmental benefit and even though thegovernment may deny him the benefit for any number of reasons, there are some reasons uponwhich the government may not rely … that infringes his constitutionally protected interests –especially, his interest in freedom of speech,” etc. Thus the high Court held “that the grant of summary judgment against the respondent, without full exploration of this issue, was improper.”

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