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Inauguration security measures do not violate First Amendment

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Newsgathering         Jan 19, 2001    

Inauguration security measures do not violate First Amendment

  • A federal district judge upheld most of the restrictions that officials have imposed on protestors during the Bush inauguration and parade.

Noting she was acting with some reservation, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled on Friday that the security measures for the Presidential Inaugural festivities on Jan. 20 do not impede the civil rights of protestors, according to reports from the Associated Press and WashingtonPost.com.

Although Kessler said that the extreme security measures, particularly at the Inaugural parade, may create confusion and that checkpoints at an inaugural parade have never been necessary before, she maintained that the restrictions imposed by law enforcement are reasonable and thus do not violate First Amendment.

The rejection of the request of The International Action Center and the Justice Action Movement, the groups that filed the suit, meant that the protestors lost their bid for more demonstration space. The court also rejected demonstrators’ claims that regulations limiting the number of protestors in a given area was unconstitutional and that protest groups were cheated out of space in Freedom Plaza in favor of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

The parade will have at least ten checkpoints where the D.C. Police, the National Park Police and the Secret Service may check baggage and inspect coats for potential weapons. Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Craig Lawrence said in court that no one will be frisked unless “articulable suspicion” exists.

The protest groups’ attorneys do not plan to file an emergency appeal and were satisfied that authorities finally explained their guidelines.

(International Action Center v. United States) ML


© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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