Capital Video Attorney Michael Pill has tried to portray himself as a First Amendment hero, suggesting that legal restrictions on porn shops are impermissible infringements on freedom of speech. However, not so long ago he was on the other side of the argument, trying to use the law to impede people from practicing their religions, arguably far more worthy endeavors than the one he advocates for today. As we wrote back in October,
[I]n 1998 he represented homeowners who sought to block Amherst’s multiracial Hope Community Church from building a new sanctuary, on the grounds that it would attract too much traffic. (“Plan to build church stymied”, Sunday Republican, April 5, 1998, p. A17.) This litigation cost the church hundreds of thousands of dollars over five years.
Similarly, in 1996, Dr. Pill represented an Amherst couple who wanted to force their next-door neighbor to take down a tepee in her backyard, which she used for meditation, New Age therapy and spiritual drumming. (“Tepee neighbors resume ban effort”, Springfield Union-News, April 9, 1996, p. B1; “Zoning board rules tepee can stay”, Union-News, April 12, 1996, p. B4.)
Dr. Pill well knows the First Amendment is not absolute, and that other interests should be considered to get the optimal result for the community.