Supreme Court Won’t Review President’s Right to Eject Critics From Events
Only two justices voted Tuesday to review a lower court’s ruling that said the pair had no First Amendment right to attend Bush’s 2005 public speech at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum in Colorado. The White House had a policy of excluding those who did not agree with the president from his public appearances.
It was a policy a federal appeals court upheld in January and one Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg blasted on Tuesday. “Ejecting them for holding discordant views could only have been a reprisal for the expression conveyed by the bumper sticker,” (.pdf) Ginsburg wrote. Joining her was Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The other justices did not comment on their votes to reject the petition for review.
Bumper stickers like the one at issue were synonymous with opposition to the Iraq War during the second Bush administration.
The two plaintiffs obtained the free tickets for the event from a local Colorado representative, and sued the government for giving them the boot.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the pair “simply have not identified any First Amendment doctrine that prohibits the government from excluding them from an official speech on private property on the basis of their viewpoint.”
A dissenting judge on the same circuit supported the pair. Judge William Holloway said “It is simply astounding that any member of the executive branch could have believed that our Constitution justified this egregious violation of plaintiffs’ rights.”
According to court records, before the plaintiffs entered the March 2005 event, the Secret Service initially stopped them and told one of the plaintiffs, Leslie Weise, that she would be ejected “if she tried any funny stuff.”
Shortly after Weise and co-plaintiff Alex Young got to their seats, they were asked to leave.
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