A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition v. Basham, No. 16-5047 (D.C. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The ANSWER Coalition challenges a 2008 Park Service regulation authorizing a priority permit setting aside a fraction of those spaces for identified Presidential Inaugural Committee uses on Inauguration Day. The Coalition contends that authorizing Freedom Plaza bleachers in the priority permit violates the Coalition's First Amendment right to instead use the same space for a mass demonstration. The court concluded that the regulation authorizing the priority permit, including the space on Freedom Plaza for the bleachers, is not a content- or viewpoint-based speech restriction, but a reasonable time, place, and manner regulation of the use of a public forum. The court explained that the regulation sets aside bleacher areas, including on Freedom Plaza, for the Inaugural Committee’s use as part of the package the rule reserves to the Committee as event organizer. However, the First Amendment does not support the Coalition's claim of a right to displace spectator bleachers with its own demonstration at Freedom Plaza. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Park Service.