WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed protesters free-speech claims against two Secret Service agents who were guarding President George W. Bush during a 2004 campaign trip to Oregon.
In a unanimous decision, the justices said the agents did not violate the protesters’ First Amendment rights by moving them farther away from the president while allowing pro-Bush demonstrators to stay nearby.
The protesters claimed the agents moved them only because their loud chants were disturbing Bush’s dinner on an outdoor patio and not for genuine security reasons.
The Obama administration said the actions were proper crowd control tactics and argued that agents who make on-the-spot decisions about the president’s security should be shielded from liability.
Writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said no legal precedent would have alerted the agents “that they bear a First Amendment obligation to ensure that groups with different viewpoints are at comparable locations all times.”