Tags: scotus | secret | service | free | speech

SCOTUS to Review Free-Speech Case Against Secret Service

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 12:19 PM


The Supreme Court will consider whether Secret Service agents can be sued for keeping protesters blocks away from the president during public appearances in a case testing the balance between security and speech rights.

The court today agreed to hear an appeal by President Barack Obama’s administration in a dispute over demonstrations against his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Seven Bush critics say the Secret Service showed favoritism toward the former president’s supporters during his October 2004 campaign stop in Jacksonville, Oregon. The seven people say that, unlike pro-Bush demonstrators, they were forced to move two blocks from the hotel where the president was dining. A federal appeals court let their claims against two agents go forward.

The Obama administration says the Secret Service shouldn’t have to worry about ensuring that groups with different viewpoints have comparable proximity to the president.

The lower court ruling "poses particularly great threats to the Secret Service’s work," U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in court papers.

"In protecting the physical safety of high-ranking public officials, Secret Service agents must often make spur-of-the- moment judgments in circumstances where the cost of a mistake may be very high," Verrilli said.

The lawsuit, pressed by the American Civil Liberties Union, says the Oregon incident was one of 13 in which the Secret Service kept protesters away from Bush.

The agents' actions "reflected a decision to shield the president from respondents' unwelcome message while he was dining, rather than any legitimate security concern," the protesters argued in court papers.

The high court ruled in 2012 that two Secret Service agents couldn’t be sued by a man who was arrested after confronting then-Vice President Dick Cheney. The justices took a narrow approach in the case, saying Secret Service agents were immune from the suit without deciding whether the man’s First Amendment rights were violated.

© Copyright 2015 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Poll: 77 Percent Favor Government Action on Climate Change

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 11:15 AM

A significant majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republican voters, support policies that would s . . .

Gun Rights' Groups to Texas Pols: Grow a Spine on Open Carry

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 11:01 AM

Many Texans are furious over what they perceive to be wavering support from Republican state legislators over enacting a . . .

George Zimmerman Assault Case Dropped After Ex-Girlfriend Recants

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 10:30 AM

Authorities say they are dropping their aggravated assault case against George Zimmerman after his ex-girlfriend stopped . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved