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Federal Circuit Allows VA To Ban Political Activities At Hospitals

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Circuit held that the Department of Veterans Affairs may ban political activity and demonstrations at VA hospitals. Steven Preminger, chairman of the Santa Clara County, Calif., Democratic Central Committee, and his attorney were booted from the Menlo Park Medical Center for trying to register voters.

Preminger challenged a VA restriction on unauthorized demonstrations, which are defined as "partisan activities" meant to support, oppose or influence the policy of the government or any other private group or business. Preminger failed to show that the "partisan activities" clause poses a real and substantial threat to his free-speech rights, the circuit concluded. It held that veteran hospitals, which often have public areas, are not public forums for First Amendment activity because the VA "must be able to maintain a place of healing and rehabilitation for veterans." See ruling in .

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