Friday, January 29, 2010

Presidential Event Exclusions

As I discuss in the book, President George W. Bush's White House Advance Office adopted a policy which called for the exclusion of all dissenters from the President's public appearances.  The Advance Office manual was actually produced in discovery in one of many cases in which protesters challenged denial of access to public presidential events. 

The Tenth Circuit has just upheld the dismissal of a complaint by a couple excluded from a presidential event in 2005.  They were singled out by advance team members because of a bumper sticker on their car which read "No More Blood For Oil."

A two-judge majority ruled that the defendants had not violated any clearly established constitutional right of the plaintiffs, who were not speaking when they were encountered and asked to leave, did not intend to speak at the event, and were at a government event being held on private property. 

Judge Holloway took a very different view in dissent, stating:  "It is simply astounding that any member of the executive branch could have believed that our Constitution justified this egregious violation of Plaintiffs’ rights."


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