ANCA Welcomes Supreme Court Rejection Of Massachusetts Genocide Denial Lawsuit

High Court Declines to Consider Turkish Lobby-Sponsored Bid to Force Genocide Denial into Public Schools

WASHINGTON–A longstanding legal campaign, spearheaded by pro-Turkey lobbies, to force the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to include historically inaccurate Armenian Genocide denial materials in their education curriculum was killed Wednesday by a U.S. Supreme Court decision declining to hear an appeal to a lower court ruling dismissing the case, reported the Armenian National Committee (ANCA).

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to decline to hear this deeply flawed and dangerous case, and thus uphold the U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit landmark decision rejecting efforts by genocide deniers to abuse the American legal system to bring their hateful agenda to our nation’s public schools,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “This victory, while certainly a serious setback to Turkey’s campaign of denial, will, just as surely, not mark the end of the concerted and well-funded efforts by allies of Ankara to use our nation’s great freedoms to enforce their own version of Article 301, silencing discussion of the Armenian Genocide in America’s classrooms.”

This legal battle started in 2005, when, according to media accounts, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations solicited the assistance of two local teachers, a student, and his parents to file the Griswold vs. Driscoll case against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in an effort to force the state to include Genocide denial materials in its online education curriculum guide. In June of 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf dismissed the case stating that the plaintiffs are “are not entitled to relief in federal court.” The ATAA and fellow plaintiffs appealed the decision, sending the matter for review by the First Circuit Court of Appeals. In August, 2010, the First Circuit Court affirmed Judge Wolf’s dismissal of the case, with the majority opinion prepared by retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

The First Circuit Court decision can be read here.

Throughout the legal process, the ANCA partnered with the Armenian Bar Association and groups including the Irish Immigration Society, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, NAACP, Genocide Education Project and the Zoryan Institute in preparing amicus briefs in support of the Massachusetts Commonwealth’s calls to dismiss the case. Attorneys from Wilmer, Cutler, Hale and Dorr LLP, filed the briefs and championed the case pro-bono. Other groups that submitted their own amicus briefs included the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the Armenian Assembly.

This case is seen as part of a larger strategy by Turkish American groups to use the legal system to harass human rights advocates on issues relating to the Armenian Genocide. The most recent instance is the lawsuit filed by representatives of the Turkish Coalition of America against the University of Minnesota for cautioning visitors to their Holocaust Studies website about online resources which deny the Armenian Genocide.

The Middle East Studies Association, this week, sent an open letter to the Turkish Coalition urging them to drop the lawsuit, the full text of which can be viewed here.

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3 Comments

  1. Shahan said:

    ANCA is wrong to say the Supreme Court has upheld the First Circuit Court’s decision. When the Supreme Court refuses to hear a case, it does not mean they agree with the lower court’s decision, it simply means they do not wish to address the issue at this time. Put another way, as far as the law is concerned for people who live outside of the jurisdiction of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, it is as if this lawsuit by the Turkish lobby never existed; i.e. they could try and bring the exist same lawsuit in, for example, Los Angeles, and the judge wouldn’t immediately throw it out. Of course it does help that another federal court has made a ruling favorable to Armenians on this issue…

  2. manooshag said:

    How refreshing to know that our courts still have the freedom to speak out against the misdirected Turkeys..
    as opposed to the ‘gagged’ White House and, too, the USA State Department, incapable of using our national freedom of speech – here, in the USA. Imagine such a case in the courts of a Turkey! Manooshag

  3. Akcam Is A Low Life Scum said:

    You guys are using the “Gag Rule” conspiracy theory to justify your little war on Turkey to vilify not only Turkish people, but to snitch land from Turkey and drain every dollar from the Turkish economy. You say that these ATAA people are supressing free speech, what about how you whine to every country to jail people who criticise your genocide allegations. There was Armenian civilian casualties, yes sure. But there were Turkish civilian casualties also. You guys want to play innocent angels with no blood on their hands and make Turkish people look more evil then devils. Why is that when even Non-Turkish people explain that there were Turkish civilian casualties, you guys get more mad then bulls. Because you know those are facts and you are attacking people who disagree with these genocide allegations because you know your goal is to wipe Turkey off the map and divide it between the Kurds. I don’t hate Armenian people, but I am just voicing my views against Armenian Supremacists like yourselves, that is all.
    You guys are the haters and you hate the Akcam/Pamuk types. You guys exxagerate your “sufferings” so you can create Anti-Turkish hate and you can carve Turkey and wipe it off the map. Whenever someone wants to point out both sides of the story, you say it is supressing free speech. But whenever someone disagrees with your “genocide” waa waa crybaby fairy tales, you say it is hate, but criticism is not hate. Get over it, move on with your lives and stop hating. Instead of just whining for land which you will never ever ever get, try to build your country, it is as poor as Africa. You guys are spending money on hate and lie campaigns, when you can build up Armenia. We don’t spend our time spreading hate as incessantly like you guys.

    By the way, don’t refuse to post my comment or else this will prove your guys intolerance to the democratic principles of Free Speech.

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