White House: We Can Boot Dissenters From Bush Appearances
AP | April 17, 2007
DENVER | White House officials have the right to exclude dissenters from appearances by President Bush, according to lawyers for volunteers who helped eject three people from a hall where Bush was about to speak.
Defense attorneys made the argument last week in a civil suit filed against Michael Casper and Jay Bob Klinkerman. The suit was filed by Leslie Weise and Alex Young of Denver, who were told to leave just before Bush was to talk about his plans for Social Security at the March 21, 2005, taxpayer-funded 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.
Casper and Klinkerman's lawyers 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 the filing. "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."
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