A.N.S.W.E.R. Sued Over Free Speech Space On Inauguration

By: Denise Simon | FoundersCode.com

The biggest protest site at the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20 will be Navy Memorial!

The Navy Memorial stage will feature leaders from every grassroots movement — immigrant rights, labor, environmental justice, women’s rights, Movement for Black Lives, LGBTQ equality, anti-war and others — as well as progressive leaders from the whole spectrum of faith communities. Artists, musicians and DJs will be performing throughout the day.

Pennsylvania Ave. NW between 7th & 9th
28-foot stage • Big sound system
Speakers from across the grassroots movement!

Days Before Trump Inauguration, D.C. Circuit OKs Limits on Protests


Mauro/Law: Just three days before the presidential inauguration, a federal appeals court panel on Tuesday ruled that allotting parts of the parade route to the official Presidential Inaugural Committee does not violate the free speech rights of protesters who want to use the same space to demonstrate.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the notion that the regulation granting priority space to the inauguration committee amounted to viewpoint discrimination, instead asserting that it was “a reasonable time, place, and manner regulation of the use of a public forum.”

Judge Nina Pillard authored the opinion for the panel, which included Judges Sri Srinivasan and Patricia Millett. All three were appointed by President Barack Obama.

The ruling came in A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition v. Basham, a suit that had its roots in the 2013 inauguration. The acronym stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. The court panel heard arguments in November.

The group wanted to demonstrate in Freedom Plaza, a high-visibility park area on Pennsylvania Avenue that has been the locale for demonstrations of all kinds for years. The regulation governing the inaugural parade allots 13 percent of footage on the parade route to the official inaugural committee, including space for bleachers on Freedom Plaza. The rest of the space is available on a first-come-first-serve basis to individuals and organizations, with certain restrictions.

Giving the bleacher space to the official committee, the protest group claimed, violated the First Amendment by preferring the government’s message over others.

But the panel disagreed. “The First Amendment requires that any reasonable, content-neutral regulation limiting expression along the parade route leave ample space available for peaceful demonstrations,” the panel asserted. “The First Amendment does not, however, support ANSWER’s claim of a right to displace spectator bleachers with its own demonstration at Freedom Plaza.”

Because the inaugural committee is the organizer of the event, the panel agreed, giving it priority space “turns not on the content of any speech, but on the desirability of providing to the Inaugural Committee as the event organizer a limited amount of reserved seating for ticketed spectators.”

The National Park Service and the Secret Service defended the regulation in part by arguing that the allotment of parade-route space amounted to government speech, which is largely immune from First Amendment scrutiny. The court said it was not necessary to rule on that point.

In the ruling Pillard also celebrated the right to protest in public places. “One of the great accomplishments of our Constitution is its guarantee of the people’s right to take to the streets to say what they think.”

*** More on A.N.S.W.E.R.:

ANSWER has played an important role in the fight against racist and religious profiling, in support of immigrant and workers’ rights, and for economic and social justice for all. Our members are engaged in a range of struggles, from the local battles against police brutality to the international campaigns against militarism and war.

ANSWER Chapters are organizing in cities and towns throughout the United States connecting the flight for social justice at home and in opposition to war and occupation abroad.

Below is a listing of major events in ANSWER’s history

Tens of thousands march on the White House for Gaza

Tens of thousands from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. for a national march against the U.S.-backed Israeli massacre in Gaza

Thousands nationwide take part in Sept. 7 protests against war on Syria

On Sept. 7, just before Congress returns from its summer recess to decide whether or not to bomb Syria, demonstrations were held in cities across the country against another war


Related Articles

1 thought on “A.N.S.W.E.R. Sued Over Free Speech Space On Inauguration

  1. Denise: You left out who ANSWER really is and who their attorneys are. When you write an article about groups and people, you need to describe them in detail for your readers.

    I’ve covered these radicals and their demonstrations since the late 1960’s and learned that you must follow the basic rules of reporting, namely, provide your readers with the “Who”, “What”, “When”, “How” and “Why” about them and their activities.

    ANSWER stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, a front for the once Trotskyite, now Stalinist “Workers World Party”, (WWP), a splitoff from the Trotskyite “Socialist Workers Party” many decades ago.

    It has always been led by hardcore communists whose alliance has been more to Hanoi and North Korea, than to Russia or Red China. Their leaders have been smart because they know the mainstream media is too lazy or not interested in accurately and fully describing who they really are.

    Their predecessor fronts and activities were described in House Internal Security Committee report about 1975. Some of the same people mentioned in that study are still the leaders of the WWP today (Holmes, Moorehead, Brian Becker, etc).

    The two lawyers for ANSWER in their parade permit efforts are also hardcore Marxists who have been affiliated with ANSWER and maybe even the other front IAC (International Action Center) for decades. They are Mara Verheden-Hilliard, the wife of fellow ANSWER attorney Carl Messineo, both openly identified members of the once Communist Party USA front, the National Lawyers Guild, which is now controlled by newer Marxists whose orientation is more to Castro’s Cuba, a small Red China faction, old SDSers, and a smathering of CPUSA and SWP types.

    According to a press conference announcement for the “National March on Washington DC Saturday, October 16, 2002 to “Stop The War on Iraqi Before it Starts”, Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo, (are) attorneys and co-founders, Partnership for Civil Justice; members of ANSWER Coalition Steering Committee”, and speakers at the press conference itself, along with former Attorney General and WWP/fronts supporter Ramsey Clark, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Of Hanoi Lobby infamy), Mahdi Bray, Ex. Dir, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation and ANSWER leaders Brian Becker, Peta Lindsey, and Chuck Kaufman. Source: http://www.iacenter.org/102602_press-c.htm.

    This site may not exist any more. Lots of IAC and ANSWER internet items have disappeared which is why it is good to not only save them on a computer but also to have print-outs of them for ready reference.

    One Washington Times article on the upcoming protest marches totally left out any identification of ANSWER and who their attorneys were – “Record Protest Crowds Expected to Greet Trump”, Jan. 18. 2017, Valerie Richardson (she is not good on internal security matters).

    One Wash. Post small article on the court permits case, “Activists lose parade protest appeal”, Ann E. Marimow, Jan. 18, 2017, did identify Mara Verheyden-Hilliard “who represented ANSWER” (as one of their attorneys. Other WP articles did identify Carl Messineo as the other attorney for ANSWER (but not as her husband).

    As the old adage goes, “You can’t tell the score without a scorecard”, which, in this case, is background knowledge of the cast of characters and organizations.

    By the way, the Keywiki site has a lot of information on the WWP, old fronts, IAC, ANSWER, leaders, and events they staged. Well worth consulting when doing a story on these organizations and people. Also http://www.DiscoverTheNetwork.org has a lot of good material on them. Wouldn’t trust http://www.wikipedia.com. You don’t know who wrote the text. Often it is a coverup page written by the group and/or its sympathizers as a deliberate “disinformation” effort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *