U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court to consider First Amendment suit by protesters moved away from dining president

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled this month to consider the First Amendment rights of protesters forced to move away from President George W. Bush as he dined on a restaurant patio in October 2004.

About 15 minutes into the president’s dinner in Jacksonville, Ore., Secret service agents ordered Michael “Mookie” Moss and other protesters to move, the Washington Post reports. But the agents allowed Bush supporters on the opposite street corner to stay. Moss argues the differing treatment of the groups was a free-speech violation.

The article says that Moss faces “an uphill battle” because justices have previously shown deference to the actions of Secret Service agents. Also, this term the court ruled against statutory arguments by antiwar protester Dennis Apel, who claimed he could not be banned from a protest area on a military base because the spot was subject to a public roadway easement. The court did not reach Apel’s First Amendment arguments, however.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the lawsuit by Moss and six other protesters to go forward in 2012. The court denied en banc review, though eight judges disagreed in a “blistering” dissent, the story says.

The case is Wood v. Moss. Previous Washington Post coverage of the case is here. The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

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