PCJF announces imminent litigation over Inauguration protest permits

PCJF announces imminent litigation over Inauguration protest permits

(Credit: @mikafrak on Twitter)

Today the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund announced imminent litigation over the National Park Service and Trump's Inaugural Committee's ongoing withholding of public space for permitted protest around the inauguration.

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As discussed at a press conference this afternoon, the PCJF notified the NPS by letter that it was in violation of the permanent injunction entered against it in 2008 in federal court litigation brought by the PCJF and gave it until Friday to issue permits for free speech activities or face legal action.

Below is an excerpt of a Reuters article:

Civil rights lawyers threatened Thursday to sue the U.S. government agency that manages much public land in Washington, accusing it of quashing dissent by not issuing permits for protests of Republican Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.

Up to 900,000 people are expected to pack into the nation's capital for the New York businessman's January 20 swearing-in to his first political office. Some plan to criticize Trump's more controversial promises, including plans to build a wall along the Mexican border and deport illegal immigrants.

Only three of the 26 groups seeking to stage rallies either protesting or celebrating Trump's election independently of the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee have received permits.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund on Thursday said it would sue the National Park Service, which manages spaces including the inaugural parade route and the grassy Ellipse near the White House, if the permits are not issued by Friday.

"Fifteen days before the inauguration, the National Park Service and the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee are stonewalling and refusing to release permits that are vitally needed by organizers in order to plan and execute peaceful, lawful free-speech activities," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the fund's executive director, told a news conference.

The Park Service and the Inaugural Committee, a private group, had no immediate comment on the lawsuit threat. 

The Park Service has maintained it is following a procedure in place since 2008 for presidential inaugurations by turning over control of sites along the parade route from the Capitol to the White House. The Inaugural Committee has said it needs all the space allotted, according to Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst. ...

Verheyden-Hilliard, a successful litigator for Washington protesters for more than a decade, said the permits sought cover spaces along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route on January 20, and other spaces, including the Ellipse, the following day.