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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Upholds Protest to Inaugural Parade Limits

WASHINGTON (CN) - Civil rights defenders have standing to challenge tight protest restrictions that loom over the Presidential Inauguration Parade, a federal judge ruled.

Answer, a grassroots organization whose name is short for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, has long fought against federal policies restricting demonstrations during the parade.

National Park Service regulations set aside the White House sidewalk and three-quarters of Lafayette Park for exclusive use of the Presidential Inaugural Committee for inaugural activities.

The regulations allowed demonstrators and others to obtain permits for other areas, but it would not accept permit applications outside one year of the event.

Answer had previously brought a successful challenge to the agency's unequal permit requirements, and to its policy of granting the Presidential Inauguration Committee exclusive use of the space along the parade route.

In 2005, the group sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the director of the Secret Service over its parade policies.

"The inaugural parade is not an invitation only event," the complaint stated. "It is the perhaps the most public of all public ceremonial events in a democracy, the inauguration of the president."

In its latest pleading, Answer challenged National Park Service policies revised after the last ruling, which now restrict demonstrations in the bleachers along the parade route.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman found Monday that the group had standing to pursue this claim.

"NPS' arguments against Answer's recently added claim - which challenges the regulations both on their face and as applied - fail," Friedman wrote. "By alleging in its supplemental pleading that its permit application was denied because of the challenged regulations, Answer has made the requisite showing of injury to establish organizational and representational standing for purposes of a facial challenge."

In its amended complaint, Answer said it plans to protest along Pennsylvania Avenue at the upcoming inaugural parade. Its inability to do so demonstrates injury and standing to sue, the judge ruled.

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