Eleanor Holmes Norton Battles Administration Over Attempts to Limit DC Protests
The National Parks Service (NPS) is considering a proposal to require protest organizers to reimburse the agency for the support and security it provides during large demonstrations. Other proposals seek to limit how many demonstrators may gather on the Park Service’s land without a permit and in what areas protesters can congregate, including a suggestion that 20 feet of the 25-foot sidewalk beyond the White House gate on Pennsylvania Avenue NW be closed off. To which Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) says nah. She said she will fiercely oppose the new proposals by the NPS which would severely reduce the First Amendment area along the sidewalk in front of the White House, restrict spontaneous demonstrations and impose fees for free speech permits. Norton said the proposals would not pass constitutional muster, and similar proposals have been struck down by the courts, even during times of war. Norton will submit her statement as an official public comment to the proposals. “This is the nation’s capital, the seat of our national democratic government and, consequently, where First Amendment rights are most often exercised on virtually every issue by Americans of all colors, creeds and beliefs,” Norton said. “The security concerns cited by NPS do not hold water ... if the Trump Administration chooses to move forward, they will have to deal with me, my colleagues in Congress and, I believe, the courts, to justify these proposals.” More here.