Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 675 F.3d 1213 (9th Cir. 2012)

In a case noteworthy for its irrelevance and the absence of useful precedent, this case stands for nothing more than another intrusive federal court decision of no value to anyone.  The plaintiffs alleged police and Secret Service agents violated their First Amendment rights because they treated their anti- President Bush crowd differently than the pro- Bush crowd during a presidential appearance in Florida.  According to the Complaint, police kept anti- Bush demonstrators further away from Bush than demonstrators who supported him.  Denying the defendant's motion for summary judgment, this case is actually going to go to trial. And the court held the Secret Service agents are not entitled to immunity at this stage.  Of course the 9th Circuit panel knows more about protecting the President than the Secret Service.

The court first summarizes cases on viewpoint discrimination and concludes the protesters were discriminated against on a public street.  They were ordered to stand further away than Bush supporters.  That's the entire case.

Of course this 9th Circuit panel ignores the assassination of  Ronald Reagan.  It may come as a surprise to this panel that people who are opposed to people of their policy are more likely to cause trouble than  those  who do not.

What does this case establish?  Nothing.  Every political demonstration is different, and the job of the Secret Service is to protect the President.  What are they supposed to do in any other case at any other time and under entirely different circumstances?   Measure the distance between demonstrators? How is this case  relevant to anything is a good question.    

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