Client Victory: Maine Wildlife Conservation Council
On November 4, election day, Mainers will be voting on Question 1, a citizen initiative that seeks to ban the use of bait, hounds or traps while hunting bears. Bernstein Shur’s client, Maine Wildlife Conservation Council, is engaged in the campaign to defeat Question 1.
The Council recently began broadcasting TV commercials featuring uniformed employees of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife voicing their opposition to Question 1. The proponents of Question 1 filed a lawsuit against IF&W and moved for an emergency temporary restraining order in the Maine Superior Court seeking, among other things, to terminate the further broadcast of the Council’s TV commercials and otherwise prevent IF&W employees from taking sides on the Question 1 campaign.
Our litigation team of Paul McDonald and Dan Murphy, quickly moved to intervene in the case to protect the Council’s interests and filed an opposition brief. In their brief McDonald and Murphy argued against the injunction on a number of grounds, including that it would create an unconstitutional prior restraint of speech in violation of the Council’s rights under the First Amendment.
McDonald and counsel for the other parties orally argued their positions at a hearing before Justice Wheeler on Friday, October 17. Five days later, the court issued a 15-page written decision denying the temporary restraining order, in which Justice Wheeler adopted nearly all of the arguments made by McDonald and Murphy.