Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | September 23, 2003

ACLU sues Secret Service

As we discussed earlier today, Bush proudly insulates himself from the outside world. One way his staff ensures Bush isn't subjected to -- gasp! -- criticism, is to place his supporters close to him at speeches, and ship all protesters to specially designated "First Amendment zones" far from the action. And the Secret Service enforces the policy.

The ACLU is on the case.

The civil liberties group filed the lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania on behalf of four advocacy organizations that claimed that the Secret Service forced them into protest zones or other areas where they could not be seen by President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney or be noticed by the media covering their visits.

"The pattern we found was at presidential and vice presidential appearances, protesters were restricted to areas where they were out of sight, out of earshot and often out of mind," said Witold J. Walczak, legal director for the ACLU's Greater Pittsburgh chapter.

"Protecting our nation's leaders from harm is important. Protecting our nation's leaders from dissent is unconstitutional." [...]

The ACLU complaint lists several incidents where protesters were forced to assemble blocks away from where the president or vice president was speaking, while supporters of the administration's policy could hold their signs up in front of the building. They cited examples across the country, including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Columbia, South Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; Stockton, California; and St. Louis, Missouri.

Posted September 23, 2003 02:46 PM | Comments (99)


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