POSTED: 16 APRIL 2007 - 8:30pm HST

Two Ejected From Bush Speech

Alex Young and Leslie Weise with "No More Blood For Oil" sign

Posed a Threat, Lawyers Say
by Dan Frosch on 13 April 2007 in The New York Times

[Editor's note: If this was not so pathetic it would be funny]

Lawyers for two men charged with illegally ejecting two people from a speech by President Bush in 2005 are arguing that the president’s staff can lawfully remove anyone who expresses points of view different from his.

Alex Young and Leslie Weise said they were ejected because of an antiwar bumper sticker.

Lawyers for the two, Michael Casper and Jay Klinkerman, said the men were working as organizers for a public presidential forum on Social Security at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver on March 21, 2005, when they were involved in ejecting two audience members, Alex Young and Leslie Weise.

Mr. Young and Ms. Weise filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court here, saying they were ejected shortly after they had arrived in a car that had an antiwar bumper sticker, although they had done nothing disruptive. The suit charged Mr. Casper and Mr. Klinkerman with violating Mr. Young’s and Ms. Weise’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Mr. Casper and Mr. Klinkerman lost their motion for dismissal, and this week their lawyers filed an appeals brief arguing that their clients had the right to take action against Mr. Young and Ms. Weise precisely because the two held views different from Mr. Bush’s.

“They excluded people from a White House event because they posed a threat of being disruptive,” said a lawyer for Mr. Casper, Sean Gallagher.

The brief filed by Mr. Gallagher and other lawyers refers to a 1992 case involving a woman who wore a button supporting Bill Clinton for president as she tried to enter a campaign rally in support of George H. W. Bush and Dan Quayle. She was denied entry until she removed the button.

A lawyer for Ms. Weise and Mr. Young, Martha Tierney, said that case was different because the event was sponsored by the Strongsville, Ohio, Republican Party, a private entity. “I think if the court adopts this argument, they’ll essentially gut the First Amendment in terms of viewpoint discrimination,” Ms. Tierney said.

Earlier this year, Mr. Young and Ms. Weise filed a separate lawsuit against three White House staff members who were also working at the Denver speech, saying they were responsible for their removal and thus had violated their right to free speech.