How's this for an assertion of the power of the executive?
White House officials can exclude dissenters from taxpayer-funded appearances by President Bush without violating the protesters' rights, according to lawyers for volunteers who helped eject three people from a hall where Bush was to speak.The argument boils down to - "He's the Decider, he doesn't have to allow dissent in his presence".
Attorneys for Michael Casper and Jay Bob Klinkerman 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 a filing last week. "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."
The case involves three plaintiffs who are suing security guards who turfed them out of a 2005 Bush talk about his plans for Social Security in Denver because they were wearing T-shirts which said "Stop the lies".
Now maybe, if the Bush talk had been an RNC event or some other privately-sponsored meeting then the defense would have a good case - it's already been used successfully in a 1992 case in which an Ohio woman displaying a pro-Bill Clinton button was barred from a campaign rally for the first President Bush which was funded by a private organization, the Strongsville, Ohio, Republican Party.
But a taxpayer-funded event where Bush was speaking as the President of the US, not simply a GOP hack?
The plaintiff's attorney rightly says that's ridiculous.
"A private organization is entitled to limit the kinds of speech that the public can have if it comes to attend its event," Tierney said. "But the government is under a different standard and can't limit speech just based on viewpoint at a public, taxpayer-funded event."Obviously, the GOP and the Bush administration don't agree with that. Welcome to USA Inc. under the management of the asset-strippers. They don't care about the company or it's staff, just their own shareholders.