Lawyers argue against free speech

White House officials can exclude dissenters from taxpayer-funded appearances by President Bush without violating the protesters’ rights, according to lawyers for volunteers who helped eject three people from a hall where Bush was to speak.

Attorneys for Michael Casper and Jay Bob Klinkerman said the government has the same rights as a private corporation when its officials speak.

“The president may constitutionally make viewpoint-based exclusionary determinations in conveying his own message,” the attorneys said in a filing last week. “So in following the instructions of the White House and carrying out its viewpoint-based exclusions, Casper and Klinkerman did not violate any of plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”

Plaintiffs Leslie Weise and Alex Young were among the three told to leave just before Bush was to talk about his plans for Social Security at the March 21, 2005, event in Denver.

Weise and Young argue they were ejected for their political views. They had arrived in a car bearing a “No blood for oil” bumper sticker. They were also wearing T-shirts saying “Stop the lies” under their clothes but did not show them.

They have said they had no plans to disrupt the event, but Young hoped to ask Bush a question if given the opportunity.

The defense filing points to a ruling by another federal appeals court in a 1992 case in which an Ohio woman displaying a pro-Bill Clinton button was barred from a campaign rally for the first President Bush. The appeals court said rally organizers had a right to control their message, and the Supreme Court later refused to revive the lawsuit.

Martha Tierney, an attorney for the Colorado plaintiffs, said Monday the Ohio case does not apply to her clients’ case because the event at the center of the 1992 case was funded by a private organization, the Strongsville, Ohio, Republican Party.

“A private organization is entitled to limit the kinds of speech that the public can have if it comes to attend its event,” Tierney said. “But the government is under a different standard and can’t limit speech just based on viewpoint at a public, taxpayer-funded event.”

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the latest motion was filed, is weighing the volunteers’ argument that they are protected from lawsuits by governmental immunity. A lower court rejected that argument.

Last month, Weise and Young filed a separate lawsuit against three White House officials, accusing them of creating an unconstitutional policy to limit dissent at the president’s appearances.

White House officials do not comment on pending litigation, spokesman Blair Jones said Monday.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press


  1. Steve Horn

    So yet another nail is driven into the casket holding the decomposing remains of what was once a great, vibrant and free nation.

    If I cannot even be in the audience of my “elected representatives” because I do not agree with them, then I should not be obligated to contribute to their policies while they are in office – in other words – while the right wing idiots are in control I should not be forced to pay taxes.

    Anybody recall the following phrase from their history or civics class, one of the reasons this nation of ours was founded?

    Taxation without representation is tyranny

    Well – if I cannot express my point of view, I am not represented, therefore I should be taxed.



  2. geyser

    Taking One Day at a Time

    How could the persons be asked to leave, without any wrong doing? Was it established, the automobile was theirs or were they borrowing the car with the Bumper Sticker attached?

    I feel foolish writing a comment about this. I first of all, thought it to be a joke or hoax. Did this really take place in this country? Do bush supporters actually read evey Bumper Sticker on every car? When did having a Bumper Sticker, automatically make one a trouble maker? Do supporters make eveybody open their coats and jackets, checking for Printed T-shirts? Is there a list of approved T-shirts?
    This story sounds like it should come from Cuba or Russia but, not the United States. It’s too late to change, it’s on the books. If anyone was thinking of attending a rival’s speech or any type of gathering, scrape or hide Bumper Stickers of your choice, don’t ware T-shirts or Buttons, again for your choice. They’re out there watching, letting no stone go unturned. Don’t even think, of your choice, they can now read minds but, it is used on terrorists only.

  3. Steve Horn

    There may not be a list of approved “T” shirts – but friends of mine were physically removed from a “W” gathering in Hershey PA for wearing the “wrong” “T” shirts (against the war in Iraq) – and I was denied a ticket (I tried, apparently I am either on the wrong list (likley) or just not on the correct list (equally likely)).
    The audiences for GW are hand selected by the “faithful” – and there are operatives (perhaps “thugs” or “brownshirts” would be a more appropriate term?) in the crowds who “control” what George sees and what the media sees. I understand that those in the media who covered the removal of my friend were not issued press passes for later events.
    So, no, my friend, this is not a myth, this is a fact, this is reality, this is America 2.0 – the abridged version where the constitution is subject to the interpretation of a single individual – apparently Karl Rove (as I doubt “W” has the intellect to understand the document).



  4. Boots

    Does that mean we are now officially a fascist state? Sounds like a call to rebellion against that crazy King George…..AGAIN!

  5. rebecca Bank

    Not only were the rally’s tax funded but I do believe that king george uses tax dollars for his transportation. Nothing makes me more angry then to think that he is flying around on my tax dollar to spread his propaganda.

  6. mooseman

    Please tell me that the lawyers arguing for the government’s position are graduates of accredited law schools and have been admitted to the Bar(s) of their states.

    I would like to know their names, and who is paying them?

    If they are government employees can it be determined if any of them have read the Bill of Rights to the US Const. that they are sworn to uphold. When did the lawful assembly amendment to the US Constitution was annulled?

    Politicians paid by US tax dollars can control who listens to them?

    I really hate using the word, but this administration has taken yet another page out of the Nazi playbook, and they have neither courage nor shame.

    The Draft Dodgers running the Fed Government are lying about and sending clearly disabled veterans back into a combat zone.

    We impeached Pres. Clinton for lying about “…having sex with that girl.”

    It is time now for the Congres to demand the resignations of Pres Bush and Vice President Cheyney. They are not fit to serve in their present jobs.

  7. Janten

    the government has the same rights as a private corporation when its officials speak.

    A private corporation is just that, private, so it can make private decisions.

    The government is public, or at least is supposed to be, and elected officials are there serving at our pleasure, or at least they are supposed to be, which means they are not supposed to discriminate against any citizens who have not violated the laws of the land.

    But I guess none of that is relevant anymore since Bush is still in office even though he persists in violating the laws of the land. We really need to get Pelosi to put impeachment on the table.

  8. 7tsskid

    Casper and klinkerman are wrong when government is corrupt they have no rights thats why we protest ever since late 50’s when government started getting corrupt we use to walk right in white house the more corrupt they got the more we were kept away now a president needs to be guarded like the mint because they are so corrupt people want at them,why is that there bought off by billions of dollars,its coming to a end now I see all of them in prisons,these lawyers forget we the people own all elected officals we tell them what we want,dont they read the Constitutation?