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Free NJ Kids Legal Fund

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For those just joining, please read past updates as well -- Bruce and his team have done so much in the last 2 1/2 years, and continues to work to have our case heard, once and for all.

Sept 14, 2023:
LENGTHY GREAT UPDATE:
I'm sharing an email update from Bruce that essentially says we are taking it all the way to the United States Supreme Court! To do this, it involves a great deal of leg work, including professional binding of the case file so it is delivered like a book. This is what the Supreme Court requires. The cost to prepare the brief and binding is about $10,000, which isn't much when we have over 900 parents donating to our cause! Every little bit helps, and as soon as I finish updating the website and Facebook, I'm heading over to our Go Fund Me page to donate. Read Bruce's email below to hear why he thinks there is a strong chance our case will get accepted to be heard (the petition he filed is attached below). It is still stunning to think that the forced masks in schools have not gone away completely and are currently back in some schools in Maryland, with the rumors that forced masks are on the way back in schools in more states, including NJ. Our case, and our supporters like you, have always been about one thing: you want to wear a mask? Go ahead, that's your choice, and we support choice. However, it is wrong to require masks on students in order to send them to school, and it will always be wrong! We are so thankful to Bruce and his legal team for continuing to fight this battle after 3 years! Thank you for your support!
We need to raise just a few more thousand dollars to petition the US Supreme Court, and every little bit helps -- share far and wide! https://gofund.me/132efac9
FROM BRUCE:
Good afternoon, Everyone,
As you know, we are still litigating in the N.J. Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Yesterday, we filed the attached Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. Attached is a PDF version of the electronically-filed copy of the Petition: https://drive.google.com/.../1YMZBuDZMdsPcyVrVhqa.../view... Along with this electronic version, 36 copies of the printed brief in the form of a printed and bound booklet have been sent by FedEx to the Court in Washington.
A Petition is the device that we use to ask the Supreme Court to take up our appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals decision. In May the Court of Appeals held that because the Governor had formally withdrawn his orders, the issues as to student masking were "moot" and no longer justiciable. In addition, the district judge earlier had ruled against us, holding that children have limited speech and association rights under the First Amendment.
In the Petition, we have outlined our position as to these decisions -- we also describe the evolution in First Amendment law that covers children's communication rights. Please read the attached brief -- I think you will find it is a very persuasive discussion of the importance of the case. As you are probably aware, however, the U.S. Supreme Court gets approximately 8,000 requests each year and takes about one hundred cases. Numerically, it is always a long shot for any case to be taken but, here, we are dealing with a core First Amendment issue in a novel field.
Justice Gorsuch has spoken very eloquently this year (in a concurrence) as to the failure of the courts to adequately protect the rights of citizens against unilateral executive and agency orders arising from COVID. Justice Gorsuch is quoted at p.15 of the attached Petition. Hopefully, Justice Gorsuch maintains his interest in this subject and can persuade three other justices (probably the conservatives) to agree to take the case. We need four (4) votes on the court for the case to be taken.
Most likely, the court will decide if it is taking the case by mid-November. If so, briefs will be filed by each side no later than the end of February and the case would probably be argued in May or June. We shall see if they take up the case.
Unlike other courts, where briefs are photocopied, in the U.S. Supreme Court all briefs must be typeset and printed and bound in actual books and the process is substantially more expensive than ordinary copying. The attached Petition, containing both the argument and the appendix, cost $7,205 to typeset, print, bind and ship to the Court. The rebuttal brief will probably cost approximately $1,800 to print and bind.
As we are at the last stage in this litigation it may not surprise you that the cost for the printing and binding have used the balance of our crowd funds that you all diligently raised. We will need several thousand dollars at minimum to submit the rebuttal brief and substantially more if the U.S. Supreme Court accepts the case -- if so, a full brief and appendix will have to be prepared with their own separate costs, along with legal fees. Hopefully, we can engage in some additional fundraising to bring this to a final conclusion.
If the U.S. Supreme Court takes the case, it will be a historic decision and will have serious implications for the future. Hopefully, the matter will go forward!
Best,
Bruce

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Past Updates:

August 2023: Hello Everyone -- We are still here as we wait for the wheels of justice to turn.... on that note, there is an update from Bruce! Essentially, he is taking it up the chain of courts as far as he can go, and if they choose to ignore us and not hear our case, then we know we were silenced not by choice! To me, that matters a hell of a lot. We did not stay silent, nor will we ever!
UPDATE FROM BRUCE AFRAN ON OUR CASE:
Good morning, everyone. I was reminded today that I need to forward an update to the group. The reason for my silence is that there has been no news to report until very recently.
On July 14, 2023 the State filed its opposition to our Petition asking the N.J. Supreme Court to hear the masking litigation. As you will recall, we filed our Petition asking the N.J. Supreme Court to hear the state law masking claims after the Appellate Division dismissed on ground of mootness. Attached is our Petition and the State's opposition. We will be preparing a rebuttal brief.
With regard to the federal case, Justice Alito granted our request for an extension of time to file our Petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the U.S. Court of Appeals decision that dismissed the First Amendment action, also on mootness grounds. Our brief to the U.S. Supreme Court is due on September 3, 2023.
In both cases, the courts did not hear the merits but dismissed claiming the matter was moot since the "emergency" had concluded. As you can see from our attached Petition to the N.J. Supreme Court we are arguing that there were not sufficient grounds for mootness and that the matters are readily capable of repetition. We will make similar arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court but such arguments will be based on federal mootness decisions; in addition, we have presented evidence that the Governor's orders continue in force (albeit on a more limited scale) and can be resurrected at any time.
Recently, some U.S. Supreme Court Justices have commented negatively on the trend in the federal courts to dismiss such cases on ground of mootness, so I am hopeful that there will be sufficient interest among the conservative majority to grant review. In addition, we raise significant First Amendment issues in the federal case, an area that the U.S. Supreme Court traditionally gives close attention. Of course, it is impossible to predict if the Court will take the case. As noted above, our brief in the U.S. Supreme Court is due September 3, 2023. If the Court grants review, then we will have a larger merits brief to file several months later.
That is the status at this point but please feel free to forward any questions or comments. Obviously, if the two high courts do not agree to hear the cases, then the matter does come to an end.
Best,
Bruce

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OTHER PAST UPDATES:
LAWSUIT #1: We started with just a Federal Lawsuit (EO violate Constitutional Rights) with a $50,000 legal fund goal.  The brief was filed and the state pushed back, offering little data to back up their points. Bruce filed for discovery on all emails, meetings, and data they studied to write EO 251, and the Judge denied the discovery request. Judge McNulty asked both sides for more information, denied a TRO in September, and then denied our request for an injunction 2 months later. Bruce immediately filed an appeal and wrote the brief, filing in in Federal Appeals court. 

TIMING: We filed the appeal in early December and are waiting for a hearing date, which could be in 30 days or less. The appeals court is supposed to be timely. 
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LAWSUIT #2: Bruce Afran, putting in hundreds of hours in research, saw another angle we could win - the emergency orders are under the Disaster Control Act, which gives the Governor no legal basis for mandating health orders. So he wrote the brief and filed Lawsuit #2 in State Appellate Court for a hearing on the argument that the Governor has no legal authority to write the EOs based on the reasoning and the data the State gives for declaring it. You can find the state's response on FreeNJKids.com and our FB Page Free NJ Kids, they offer little to no real statistics to defend the school masking mandates.  This raised our legal fund goal to $100,000.

TIMING: Bruce filed the brief January 6th, the state responded to our brief around January 16th, and the State Appellate Court should hear this case around Feb 1st, but this is not guaranteed and it could happen in late February. 
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NOW BRUCE IS FILING ANOTHER LAWSUITS on behalf of Free NJ Kids (and citizens at this point) and our Legal Fund goal is $150,000. To do this on your own would easily cost just as much for the genius of Bruce Afran's research and legal arguments to win back our freedoms for everyone in New Jersey.  Together, with millions of supporters, $150,000 is a drop in the bucket -- some can give more than others, and we simply ask for whatever you can give. If we all contribute what we can and spread the word, this legal fund goal will be reached in no time.  As they say, freedom isn't free. 
 
Lengthy and BIG UPDATE on *new* lawsuit (taken from my FB post on Free NJ Kids)

It's actually getting worse now: vax cards for Newark, masks for restaurants in Princeton, more for Asbury Park....
Kids are missing half the year for arbitrary "close contact"- out for 10 days (or is it 5? who knows) with negative test and NO symptoms. Working parents who now can't work because of child quarantined? Sorry, your tax dollars you contributed to educate your child mean nothing.
And who is going to Devils games, or the Justin Bieber concert March 31st, both in Newark? You must show your Vax card or you can't go. Says who? They can't make these rules. THEY CANNOT MAKE THESE RULES. But they will try until they are sued and told no.
That's where we come in.
For those suffering from township mask or proof of vaccine mandates (illegal) or school districts who quarantine healthy kids or force testing on teachers when they are healthy.... Read on:

**NEW** LAWSUIT BEING FILED BY FREE NJ KIDS and BRUCE AFRAN: NEED PLAINTIFFS, please read:

How is Free NJ Kids fighting back now? By bringing legal suit to New Jersey Dept. Of Community Affairs for the overreach Municipalities have taken AND suing the Department of Education for the overreach school districts have taken. We are suing to force them to order that no town OR school district has the right to enforce vaccine card, tests, masks, and quarantining practices that are truly educational neglect in every form. ***These departments are staying silent when they already know townships and BOEs do not have this right, they are just taking it*** and it is up to people like all of us to say STOP. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT.
It's like so many of us said 2 years ago with the "2 weeks to slow the spread" ...If you give up your rights just like that, without question, they don't just give them back to you. You will have to fight to get them back!"
And here we are.

Please find all legal briefs, the state's responses, and more on our Free NJ Kids facebook page, or our website FreeNJKids.com 

Together, our voices will be heard!

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Summer of 2021: 
***Past Updates: We are less than $3000 away from our $50,000 goal!  That is how loud we are making our voices heard on behalf of the 1.4 million kids in New Jersey who have been forced to be masked for up to 8 hours a day for more than a year and a half now.  Our lawsuit is filed in Federal District Court and is unlike any other that has been filed in the past.  Read Bruce Afran's Complaint by clicking here: https://8e81c69c-af5d-4ce4-a485-3addf6586c5d.filesusr.com/ugd/30ba77_51ca9e41938c45f4a19abf324de5282f.pdf

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***Approx May of 2021: The passing of the governor's Executive Orders into law, while upsetting, has made our case simpler and more direct. Bruce Afran has streamlined our case going directly to the First Amendment of the Constitution, of which we believe there are clear violations. The plan is to file end of this or early next week. Stay tuned for updates as to the day of the filing, you can bet we will be blasting it all over Facebook.  

The stories from parents all over the state about how their children have been harmed emotionally, psychologically, and physically by the mask mandate in schools - in many cases without account for the child's health or disability rights - are more than concerning. *REVISED** With the passing of these arbitrary mandates in actual law, the line has been drawn. This is a clear and present danger to our Constitutional First Amendment protection from laws such as these.  

That's why we hired the best Constitutional Attorney in New Jersey, Bruce Afran, to bring this dilemma to the court.  This new legislation is a violation of our Constitutional rights, and we are standing up loud and clear saying ENOUGH.  Let the Federal Court speak to this.

Want to join our class action lawsuit and make your voice heard? Contribute any amount and be a part of history. You will be standing up for our freedoms and the freedoms of those who come after us. We ask for donations of $250 or more, but any amount you give will help us reach our goal.

You can also contribute anonymously. 

Mr. Afran is the sole beneficiary and is the only one who can receive funds from this.

The $50,000 legal fund for Bruce Afran includes funding for:
                --Mr. Afran moving for Injunctive Relief to stop these practices,
               -- which will involve a Complaint,
               -- A detailed written briefing,
               -- transcripts from the court for every hearing
               -- an expert witness
               --and possibly a trial. 
An Injunctive Relief means the court process is sped up due to the emergent nature of the filing. Doing this alone would cost someone around $10,000, so what we are asking is a fraction of the cost to get even better representation and attention to your children.  

 We expect to file in mid-June with a resolution before September.  Please see our website www.FreeNJKids.com for more details and video links to meetings with Bruce. 
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or go to our website www.FreeNJKids.com
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Organizer and beneficiary

Kelly Lepine
Organizer
Barnegat, NJ
Bruce Afran
Beneficiary

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