A “1969 Project” Would Say the Moon Landing Didn’t Happen

The New York Times’ woke campaign “1619 Project” offers restitution for slavery with typical newspaperman philanthropy: the in-kind contribution! Thus “all the news that’s fit to print” gets trimmed by what isn’t centric to the African American experience, not for news in real-time but retroactively! The Grey Lady of Yellow Journalism is courting younger audiences fresh from history courses featuring personages created in their diverse image. As if the past is a pageant of participation awards, purged of the characters whose relevance used to be the making of history. Never mind how you got here, the study of history is now a showcase of what insignificant role you might aspire to when it’s your turn to play a part.

Syria neoliberal invasion ad campaign casts chicks with guns but no helmets


THAT’S RICH. When they’re not bombarding western viewers with contrived photo-ops of camera-facing toddlers, victimized by Asad’s bombs never ours, the neoliberal propagandists are fishing for left-leaning sympathies with “Freedom Fighters” who Americans could not should not leave behind. Meet the West’s own Femen ForWar, Kurdish anarchist insurgents, one even dubbed “Angelina Jolie”, who are photographed in action, with wide smiles in sniper’s nests, looking like they’re otherwise hanging in homeroom detention. I’m surprised we never see the lighting crews or makeup artists reflected in the shattered glass, but what we don’t see in plain sight are HELMETS. Apparently only real soldiers need those.

There’s even a Chicks-with-Guns meme gone viral of a bareheaded Freedom Fighter breaking into a huge grin after narrowly escaping a sniper’s bullet. One man’s insurgent is another man’s freedom fighter. Western media’s freedom fighters are your Freedom Fries.

Colo. US District Court judge enjoins DIA to limit restriction of free speech (grants our preliminary injunction!)

Plaintiffs Nazli McDonnell and Eric Verlo
DENVER, COLORADO- If your civil liberties have ever been violated by a cop, over your objections, only to have the officer say “See you in court”, this victory is for YOU! On January 29 we were threatened with arrest for protesting the “Muslim Ban” at Denver International Airport. We argued that our conduct was protected speech and that they were violating our rights. They dismissed our complaints with, in essense: “That’s for a court to decide.” And today IT HAS! On Feb 15 we summoned the cops to federal court and this morning, Feb 22, US District Court Judge William Martinez granted our preliminary injunction, severely triming DIA’s protest permit process. In a nutshell: no restrictions on signs, size of assemblies or their location within the main terminal (so long as the airport’s function is not impeded). Permits are still required but with 24 hours advance notice, not seven days. Below is Judge Martinez’ 46-page court order in full:

Document 29 Filed 02/22/17 USDC Colorado

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO

Judge William J. Martínez

Civil Action No. 17-cv-0332-WJM-MJW

NAZLI MCDONNELL, and
ERIC VERLO,

Plaintiffs,

v.

CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER,?
DENVER POLICE COMMANDER ANTONIO LOPEZ,
in his individual and official capacity, and?
DENVER POLICE SERGEANT VIRGINIA QUIÑONES,
in her individual and official capacity,

Defendants.

________________________________________________________

ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN PART
________________________________________________________

Plaintiffs Nazli McDonnell (“McDonnell”) and Eric Verlo (“Verlo”) (together, “Plaintiffs”) sue the City and County of Denver (“Denver”), Denver Police Commander Antonio Lopez (“Lopez”) and Denver Police Sergeant Virginia Quiñones (“Quiñones”) (collectively, “Defendants”) for allegedly violating Plaintiffs’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they prevented Plaintiffs from protesting without a permit in the Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport (“Airport” or “Denver Airport”). (ECF No. 1.) Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, which seeks to enjoin Denver from enforcing some of its policies regarding demonstrations and protests at the Airport. (ECF No. 2.) This motion has been fully briefed (see ECF Nos. 2, 20, 21, 23) and the Court held an evidentiary hearing on February 15, 2017 (“Preliminary Injunction Hearing”).

For the reasons explained below, Plaintiffs’ Motion is granted to the following limited extent:

• Defendants must issue an expressive activity permit on twenty-four hours’ notice in circumstances where an applicant, in good faith, seeks a permit for the purpose of communicating topical ideas reasonably relevant to the purposes and mission of the Airport, the immediate importance of which could not have been foreseen seven days or more in advance of the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought, or when circumstances beyond the control of the permit applicant prevented timely filing of the application; ?

• Defendants must make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the applicant’s preferred demonstration location, whether inside or outside of the Jeppesen Terminal, so long as the location is a place where the unticketed public is normally allowed to be; ?

• Defendants may not enforce Denver Airport Regulation 50.09’s prohibition against “picketing” (as that term is defined in Denver Airport Regulation 50.02-8) within the Jeppesen Terminal; and ?

• Defendants may not restrict the size of a permit applicant’s proposed signage beyond that which may be reasonably required to prevent the impeding of the normal flow of travelers and visitors in and out of Jeppesen Terminal; and specifically, Defendants may not enforce Denver Airport Regulation 50.08-12’s requirement that signs or placards be no larger than one foot by one foot. ??

Any relief Plaintiffs seek beyond the foregoing is denied at this phase of the case. In particular, the Court will not require the Airport to accommodate truly spontaneous demonstrations (although the Airport remains free to do so); the Court will not require the Airport to allow demonstrators to unilaterally determine the location within the Jeppesen Terminal that they wish to demonstrate; and the Court will not strike down the Airport’s usual seven-day notice-and-permit requirement as unconstitutional in all circumstances.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

Based on the parties’ filings, and on the documentary and testimonial evidence received at the evidentiary hearing, the Court makes the following findings of fact for purposes of resolving Plaintiffs’ Motion.?

A. Regulation 50

Pursuant to Denver Municipal Code § 5-16(a), Denver’s manager of aviation may “adopt rules and regulations for the management, operation and control of [the] Denver Municipal Airport System, and for the use and occupancy, management, control, operation, care, repair and maintenance of all structures and facilities thereon, and all land on which [the] Denver Municipal Airport System is located and operated.” Under that authority, the manager of aviation has adopted “Rules and Regulations for the Management, Operation, Control, and Use of the Denver Municipal Airport System.” See https://www.flydenver.com/about/administration/rules_regulations (last accessed Feb. 16, 2017). Part 50 of those rules and regulations governs picketing, protesting, soliciting, and similar activities at the Airport. See https://www.flydenver.com/sites/default/files/rules/50_leafleting.pdf (last accessed Feb. 16, 2017). The Court will refer to Part 50 collectively as “Regulation 50.”

The following subdivisions of Regulation 50 are relevant to the parties’ current dispute:

Regulation 50.03: “No person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO [of the Airport] or his or her designee. . . .” ?

Regulation 50.04-1: “Any person or organization desiring to leaflet, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, shall complete a permit application and submit it during regular business hours, at least seven (7) days prior to the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought and no earlier than thirty (30) days prior to commencement of the activity. The permit application shall be submitted using the form provided by the Airport. The applicant shall provide the name and address of the person in charge of the activity, the names of the persons engaged in the activity, the nature of the activity, each location at which the activity is proposed to be conducted, the purpose of the activity, the hours during which the activity is proposed to be conducted, and the beginning and end dates of such activity. A labor organization shall also identify the employer who is the target of the proposed activity.”

Regulation 50.04-3: “Upon presentation of a complete permit application ?and all required documentation, the CEO shall issue a permit to the applicant, if there is space available in the Terminal, applying only the limitations and regulations set forth in this Rule and Regulation . . . . Permits shall be issued on a first come-first served basis. No permits shall be issued by the CEO for a period of time in excess of thirty-one (31) days.” ?

Regulation 50.04-5: “In issuing permits or allocating space, the CEO shall not exercise any discretion or judgment regarding the purpose or content of the proposed activity, except as provided in these Rules and Regulations. The issuance of a permit is a strictly ministerial function and does not constitute an endorsement by the City and County of Denver of any organization, cause, religion, political issue, or other matter.” ?

Regulation 50.04-6: “The CEO may move expressive activity from one location to another and/or disperse such activity around the airport upon reasonable notice to each affected person when in the judgment of the CEO such action is necessary for the efficient and effective operation of the transportation function of the airport.” ?

Regulation 50.08-12: “Individuals and organizations engaged in leafleting, solicitation, picketing, or other speech related activity shall not: * * * [w]ear or carry a sign or placard larger than one foot by one foot in size . . . .” (underscoring in original).

Regulation 50.09: “Picketing not related to a labor dispute is prohibited in ?all interior areas of the Terminal and concourses, in the Restricted Area, and on all vehicular roadways, and shall not be conducted by more than two (2) persons at any one location upon the Airport.” ?

Regulation 50.02-8: “Picketing shall mean one or more persons marching or stationing themselves in an area in order to communicate their position on a political, charitable, or religious issue, or a labor dispute, by displaying one or more signs, posters or similar devices” (underscoring in original).

The Airport receives about forty-five permit requests a year. No witness at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing (including Airport administrators who directly or indirectly supervise the permit process) could remember an instance in which a permit had been denied.

?Although there is no formal written, prescribed procedure for requesting expedited treatment of permit requests, the Airport not infrequently processes such requests and issues permits in less than seven days. Last November, less than seven days before Election Day, the Airport received a request from “the International Machinists” 1 to stage a demonstration ahead of the election. The Airport was able to process that request in two days and thereby permit the demonstration before Election Day.
?
——————————
1 Presumably, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. ?
———————

B. The Executive Order

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769 (“Executive Order”). See 82 Fed. Reg. 8977. The Executive Order, among other things, established a 90-day ban on individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions, and an indefinite suspension of refugee admissions from Syria. Id. §§ 3(c), 5(a), 5(c). “The impact of the Executive Order was immediate and widespread. It was reported that thousands of visas were immediately canceled, hundreds of travelers with such visas were prevented from boarding airplanes bound for the United States or denied entry on arrival, and some travelers were detained.” Washington v. Trump, ___ F.3d. ___, ___, 2017 WL 526497, at *2 (9th Cir. Feb. 9, 2017). As is well known, demonstrators and attorneys quickly began to assemble at certain American airports, both to protest the Executive Order and potentially to offer assistance to travelers being detained upon arrival.?

C. The January 28 Protest at the Denver Airport

Shortly after 1:00 p.m. on the following day—Saturday, January 28, 2017— Airport public information officer Heath Montgomery e-mailed Defendant Lopez, the police commander responsible for Denver’s police district encompassing the Airport. Lopez was off-duty at the time. Montgomery informed Lopez that he had received media inquiries about a protest being planned for the Airport later that day, and that no Regulation 50 permit had been issued for such a protest.

Not knowing any details about the nature or potential size of the protest, and fearing the possibility of “black bloc” and so-called “anarchist activities,” Lopez coordinated with other Denver Police officials to redeploy Denver Police’s gang unit from their normal assignments to the Airport. Denver Police also took uniformed officers out of each of the various other police districts and redeployed them to the Airport. Lopez called for these reinforcements immediately in light of the Airport’s significant distance from any other police station or normal patrol area. Lopez knew that if an unsafe situation developed, he could not rely on additional officers being able to get to the Airport quickly.

Through his efforts, Lopez was eventually able to assemble a force of about fifty officers over “the footprint of the entire airport,” meaning inclusive of all officers already assigned to the Airport who remained on their normal patrol duties. Lopez himself also came out to the Airport.

In the meantime, Montgomery had somehow learned of an organization known as the Colorado Muslim Connection that was organizing protesters through Facebook. Montgomery reached out to this organization through the Airport’s own Facebook account and informed them of Regulation 50’s permit requirement. (Ex. 32.) One of the Colorado Muslim Connection’s principals, Nadeen Ibrahim, then e-mailed Montgomery “to address the permit.” (Ex. 30.) Ibrahim told Montgomery:

The group of people we have will have a peaceful assembly carrying signs saying welcome here along with a choir and lots of flowers. Our goal is to stand in solidarity with our community members that have been detained at the airports since the signing of the executive order, though they do have active, legal visas/green cards. Additionally, we would like to show our physical welcoming presence for any newly arriving Middle Eastern sisters and brothers with visas. We do not intend to block any access to [the Airport].

(Id.) Montgomery apparently did not construe this e-mail as a permit request, or at least not a properly prepared one, and stated that “Denver Police will not allow a protest at the airport tonight. We are willing to work with you like any other group but there is a formal process for that.” (Id.)

Nonetheless, protesters began to assemble in the late afternoon and early evening in the Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal, specifically in the multi-storied central area known as the “Great Hall.” The Great Hall is a very large, rectangular area that runs north and south. The lower level of the Great Hall (level 5) has an enormous amount of floor space, and is ringed with offices and some retail shops, but the floor space itself is largely taken up by security screening facilities for departing passengers. The only relatively unobstructed area on level 5 is the middle third, which is currently designed primarily as a location for “meeters-and-greeters,” i.e., individuals waiting for passengers arriving from domestic flights who come up from the underground train connecting the Jeppesen Terminal with the various concourses. There is a much smaller meeters-and-greeters waiting area at the north end of level 5, where international arrivals exit from customs screening.

The upper level of the Great Hall (level 6) has much less floor space than level 5 given that it is mostly open to level 5 below. It is ringed with retail shops and restaurants. At its north end is a pedestrian bridge to and from the “A” concourse and its separate security screening area.

Given this design, every arriving and departing passenger at the Airport (i.e., all passengers except those only connecting through Denver), and nearly every other person having business at the airport (including employees, delivery persons, meeters-and-greeters, etc.), must pass through some portion of the Great Hall. In 2016, the Airport served 58.3 million passengers, making it the sixth busiest airport in the United States and the eighteenth busiest in the world. Approximately 36,000 people also work at the airport.

The protesters who arrived on the evening of January 28 largely congregated in the middle third of the Great Hall (the domestic-arrivals meeter-and-greeter area). The protesters engaged in singing, chanting, praying, and holding up signs. At least one of them had a megaphone.

The size of the protest at its height is unclear. The witnesses at the evidentiary hearing gave varying estimates ranging from as low as 150 to as high as 1,000. Most estimates, however, centered in the range of about 200. Lopez, who believed that the protest eventually comprised about 300 individuals, did not believe that his fifty officers throughout the Airport were enough to ensure safety and security for that size of protest, even if he could pull all of his officers away from their normal duties.

Most of the details of the January 28 protest are not relevant for present purposes. Suffice it to say that Lopez eventually approached those who appeared to be the protest organizers and warned them multiple times that they could be arrested if they continued to protest without a permit. Airport administration later agreed to allow the protest to continue on “the plaza,” an area just outside the Jeppesen Terminal to its south, between the Terminal itself and the Westin Hotel. Protesters then moved to that location, and the protest dispersed later in the evening. No one was arrested and no illegal activity stemming from the protest (e.g., property damage) was reported, nor was there any report of disruption to travel operations or any impeding of the normal flow of travelers and visitors in and out of Jeppesen Terminal.

D. The January 29 Protest at the Denver Airport

Plaintiffs disagree strongly with the Executive Order and likewise wished to protest it, but, due to their schedules, were unable to participate in the January 28 protest. They decided instead to go to the Airport on the following day, Sunday, January 29. They came that afternoon and stationed themselves at a physical barrier just outside the international arrival doors at the north end of the Great Hall, level 5. They each held up a sign of roughly poster board size expressing a message of opposition to the Executive Order and solidarity with those affected by it. (See Exs. 2, 4, M.)

Plaintiffs were soon approached by Defendant Quiñones, who warned them that they could be arrested for demonstrating without a permit. Plaintiffs felt threatened, as well as disheartened that they could not freely exercise their First Amendment rights then and there. Plaintiffs felt it was important to be demonstrating both at that particular time, given the broad news coverage of the effects of the Executive Order, and at that particular place (the international arrivals area), given a desire to express solidarity with those arriving directly from international destinations—whom Plaintiffs apparently assumed would be most likely to be affected by the Executive Order in some way.

Plaintiffs left the Airport later that day without being arrested, and without incident. They have never returned to continue their protest, nor have they applied for a permit to do so.

E. Permits Since Issued

The airport has since issued permits to demonstrators opposed to the Executive Order. At least one of these permits includes permission for four people to demonstrate in the international arrivals area, where Plaintiffs demonstrated on January 29.

II. REQUESTED INJUNCTION

Plaintiffs have never proposed specific injunction language. In their Motion, they asked for “an injunction prohibiting their arrest for standing in peaceful protest within Jeppesen Terminal and invalidating Regulation 50 as violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.” (ECF No. 2 at 4.) At the Preliminary Injunction Hearing, Plaintiffs’ counsel asked the Court to enjoin Defendants (1) “from arresting people for engaging in behavior that the plaintiffs or people similarly situated were engaging in,” (2) from enforcing Regulation 50.09 (which forbids non- labor demonstrators from holding up signs within the Jeppesen Terminal), and (3) from administering Regulation 50 without an “exigent circumstances exception.” Counsel also argued that requiring a permit application seven days ahead of time is unconstitutionally long in any circumstance, exigent or not.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A. The Various Standards

In a sense, there are at least three preliminary injunction standards. The first, typically-quoted standard requires: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits, (2) a threat of irreparable harm, which (3) outweighs any harm to the non-moving party, and (4) that the injunction would not adversely affect the public interest. See, e.g., Awad v. Ziriax, 670 F.3d 1111, 1125 (10th Cir. 2012).

If, however, the injunction will (1) alter the status quo, (2) mandate action by the defendant, or (3) afford the movant all the relief that it could recover at the conclusion of a full trial on the merits, a second standard comes into play, one in which the movant must meet a heightened burden. See O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal v. Ashcroft, 389 F.3d 973, 975 (10th Cir. 2004) (en banc). Specifically, the proposed injunction “must be more closely scrutinized to assure that the exigencies of the case support the granting of a remedy that is extraordinary even in the normal course” and “a party seeking such an injunction must make a strong showing both with regard to the likelihood of success on the merits and with regard to the balance of harms.” Id.

On the other hand, the Tenth Circuit also approves of a

modified . . . preliminary injunction test when the moving party demonstrates that the [irreparable harm], [balance of harms], and [public interest] factors tip strongly in its favor. In such situations, the moving party may meet the requirement for showing [likelihood of] success on the merits by showing that questions going to the merits are so serious, substantial, difficult, and doubtful as to make the issue ripe for litigation and deserving of more deliberate investigation.

Verlo v. Martinez, 820 F.3d 1113, 1128 n.5 (10th Cir. 2016). This standard, in other words, permits a weaker showing on likelihood of success when the party’s showing on the other factors is strong. It is not clear how this standard would apply if the second standard also applies.

In any event, “a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy,” and therefore “the right to relief must be clear and unequivocal.” Greater Yellowstone Coal. v. Flowers, 321 F.3d 1250, 1256 (10th Cir. 2003).

B. Does Any Modified Standard Apply?

The status quo for preliminary injunction purposes is “the last peaceable uncontested status existing between the parties before the dispute developed.” Schrier v. Univ. of Colo., 427 F.3d 1253, 1260 (10th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted). By asking that portions of Regulation 50 be invalidated, Plaintiffs are seeking to change the status quo. Therefore they must make a stronger-than-usual showing on likelihood of success and the balance of harms.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Irreparable Harm as it Relates to Standing

Under the circumstances, the Court finds it appropriate to begin by discussing the irreparable harm element of the preliminary injunction test as it relates Plaintiffs’ standing to seek an injunction.

Testimony at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing revealed that certain groups wishing to protest the Executive Order have since applied for and obtained permits. Thus, Plaintiffs could get a permit to demonstrate at the airport on seven days’ advance notice—although Regulation 50.09 would still prohibit them from demonstrating by wearing or holding up signs. In addition, as discussed in more detail below (Part IV.B.3.c), Plaintiffs could potentially get a permit to hold a protest parade on public streets in the City and County of Denver with as little as 24 hours’ notice. And as far as the Court is aware, the two Plaintiffs may be able to stand on any public street corner and hold up signs without any prior notice or permit requirement. Thus, Plaintiffs’ alleged irreparable harm must be one or both of the following: (1) the prospect of not being able to demonstrate specifically at the airport on less than seven days’ notice, or (2) the inability to picket in opposition to the government action they oppose—that is, the inability to hold up “signs, posters or similar devices” while engaging in expressive activity at the airport. The Court finds that the second of these options is a fairly traditional allegation of First Amendment injury—even if they do apply for and obtain a permit, by the express terms of Regulation 50.09 Plaintiffs will not be allowed to carry or hold up signs, posters, or the like. The first option, however, requires more extensive discussion and analysis.

The rapidly developing situation that prompted Plaintiffs to go to the Airport on January 29 has since somewhat subsided. The Executive Order remains a newsworthy topic, but a nationwide injunction now prevents its enforcement, see Washington, ___ F.3d at ___, 2017 WL 526497, at *9, and—to the Court’s knowledge—none of the most urgent effects that led to airport-based protests, such as individuals being detained upon arrival, have since repeated themselves. Nonetheless, the circumstances that prompted this lawsuit reveal a number of unassailable truths about “freedom of speech . . . [and] the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” U.S. Const. amend. I.

One indisputable truth is that the location of expressive activity can have singular First Amendment significance, or as the Tenth Circuit has pithily put it: “Location, location, location. It is cherished by property owners and political demonstrators alike.” Pahls v. Thomas, 718 F.3d 1210, 1216 (10th Cir. 2013). The ability to convey a message to a particular person is crucial, and that ability often turns entirely on location.

Thus, location has specifically been at issue in a number of First Amendment decisions. See, e.g., McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S. Ct. 2518, 2535 (2014) (abortion protesters’ ability to approach abortion clinic patrons within a certain distance); Pahls, 718 F.3d at 1216–17 (protesters’ ability to be in a location where the President could see them as his motorcade drove past); Citizens for Peace in Space v. City of Colo. Springs, 477 F.3d 1212, 1218–19 (10th Cir. 2007) (peace activists’ ability to be near a hotel and conference center where a NATO conference was taking place); Tucker v. City of Fairfield, 398 F.3d 457, 460 (6th Cir. 2005) (labor protesters’ ability to demonstrate outside a car dealership); Friends of Animals, Inc. v. City of Bridgeport, 833 F. Supp. 2d 205, 207–08 (D. Conn. 2011) (animal rights protesters’ ability to protest near a circus), aff’d sub nom. Zalaski v. City of Bridgeport Police Dep’t, 475 F. App’x 805 (2d Cir. 2012).

Another paramount truth is that the timing of expressive activity can also have irreplaceable First Amendment value and significance: “simple delay may permanently vitiate the expressive content of a demonstration.” NAACP, W. Region v. City of Richmond, 743 F.2d 1346, 1356 (9th Cir. 1984); see also American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. City of Dearborn, 418 F.3d 600, 605 (6th Cir. 2005) (“Any notice period is a substantial inhibition on speech.”); Church of Am. Knights of Ku Klux Klan v. City of Gary, 334 F.3d 676, 682 (7th Cir. 2003) (“given that . . . political demonstrations are often engendered by topical events, a very long period of advance notice with no exception for spontaneous demonstrations unreasonably limits free speech”); Douglas v. Brownell, 88 F.3d 1511, 1524 (8th Cir. 1996) (“The five-day notice requirement restricts a substantial amount of speech that does not interfere with the city’s asserted goals of protecting pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and minimizing inconvenience to the public.”).

This case provides an excellent example of this phenomena given that —whether intentionally or not— the President’s announcement of his Supreme Court nomination on January 31 (four days after signing the Executive Order) permitted the President to shift the media’s attention to a different topic of national significance. Thus, the inability of demonstrators to legally “strike while the iron’s hot” mattered greatly in this instance. Cf. City of Gary, 334 F.3d at 682 (in the context of a 45-day application period for a parade, noting that “[a] group that had wanted to hold a rally to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq and had applied for a permit from the City of Gary on the first day of the war would have found that the war had ended before the demonstration was authorized”).

These principles are not absolute, however, nor self-applying. The Court must analyze them in the specific context of the Airport. But for present purposes, the Court notes that the Plaintiffs’ alleged harm of being unable to protest at a specific location on short notice states a cognizable First Amendment claim. In addition, by its very nature, this is the sort of claim that is “capable of repetition, yet evading review.” S. Pac. Terminal Co. v. Interstate Commerce Comm’n, 219 U.S. 498, 515 (1911). Here, “the challenged action”—enforcement of the seven-day permit requirement during an event of rapidly developing significance —“was in its duration too short to be fully litigated prior to its cessation or expiration.” Weinstein v. Bradford, 423 U.S. 147, 149 (1975). Further, “there [is] a reasonable expectation that the same complaining party would be subjected to the same action again.” Id. More specifically, the Court credits Plaintiffs’ testimony that they intend to return to the Airport for future protests, and, given continuing comments by the Trump Administration that new immigration and travel- related executive orders are forthcoming, the Court agrees with Plaintiffs that it is reasonably likely a similar situation will recur —i.e., government action rapidly creating consequences relevant specifically to the Airport.

Thus, although the prospect of being unable to demonstrate at the Airport on short notice is not, literally speaking, an “irreparable harm” (because the need for such demonstration may never arise again), it is nonetheless a sufficient harm for purposes of standing and seeking a preliminary injunction.

The Court now turns to the heart of this case—whether Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims. Following that, the Court will reprise the irreparable harm analysis in the specific context of the likelihood-of-success findings.

B. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

Evaluating likelihood of success requires evaluating the substantive merit of Plaintiffs’ claim that Regulation 50, or any portion of it, violates their First Amendment rights. To answer this question, the Supreme Court prescribes the following analysis:

1. Is the expression at issue protected by the First Amendment? ?

2. If so, is the location at issue a traditional public forum, a designated public ?forum, or a nonpublic forum? ?

3. If the location is a traditional or designated public forum, is the ?government’s speech restriction narrowly tailored to meet a compelling ?state interest? ?

4. If the location is a nonpublic forum, is the government’s speech restriction ? ?reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum, and viewpoint neutral?

See Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Def. & Educ. Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788, 797–806 (1985).

The Court will address these inquiries in turn.

1. Does the First Amendment Protect Plaintiffs’ Expressive Conduct?

The Court “must first decide whether [the speech at issue] is speech protected by the First Amendment, for, if it is not, we need go no further.” Id. at 797. There appears to be no contest that the sorts of activities Plaintiffs attempted to engage in at the Airport (including holding up signs) are expressive endeavors protected by the First Amendment. Accordingly, the Court deems it conceded for preliminary injunction purposes that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on this element of the Cornelius analysis.

2. Is the Jeppesen Terminal a Public Forum (Traditional or Designated)?

The Court must next decide whether the Jeppesen Terminal is a public forum:

. . . the extent to which the Government can control access [to government property for expressive purposes] depends on the nature of the relevant forum. Because a principal purpose of traditional public fora is the free exchange of ideas, speakers can be excluded from a public forum only when the exclusion is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and the exclusion is narrowly drawn to achieve that interest. Similarly, when the Government has intentionally designated a place or means of communication as a public forum[,] speakers cannot be excluded without a compelling governmental interest. Access to a nonpublic forum, however, can be restricted as long as the restrictions are reasonable and are not an effort to suppress expression merely because public officials oppose the speaker’s view.

Id. at 800 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted; alterations incorporated).

a. Is the Jeppesen Terminal a Traditional Public Forum??

Plaintiffs claim that “[t]he Supreme Court has not definitively decided whether airport terminals . . . are public forums.” (ECF No. 2 at 7.) This is either an intentional misstatement or a difficult-to-understand misreading of the most relevant case (which Plaintiffs repeatedly cite), International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672, 679 (1992) (“Lee”).

The plaintiffs in Lee were disseminating religious literature and soliciting funds at the airports controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark). Id. at 674–75. By regulation, however, the Port Authority prohibited “continuous or repetitive” person-to-person solicitation and distribution of literature. Id. at 675–76. The Second Circuit held that the airports were not public fora and that the regulation was reasonable as to solicitation but not as to distribution. Id. at 677. The dispute then went to the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari specifically “to resolve whether airport terminals are public fora,” among other questions. Id.

The Court answered the public forum question in the negative. Relying on the historical use of airport terminals generally, the Court found that “the tradition of airport activity does not demonstrate that airports have historically been made available for speech activity.” Id. at 680. “Nor can we say,” the Court continued, “that these particular terminals, or airport terminals generally, have been intentionally opened by their operators to such activity; the frequent and continuing litigation evidencing the operators’ objections belies any such claim.” Id. at 680–81. Then, invoking the reasonableness test that applies to government regulation of nonpublic fora, the Court affirmed the Second Circuit’s holding that the solicitation ban was reasonable. Id. at 683–85.

Five justices (Rehnquist, White, O’Connor, Scalia, and Thomas) joined all of the major rulings regarding the solicitation ban, including the nonpublic forum status of airport terminals and the reasonableness of the ban. The outcome regarding the distribution ban, however, commanded no majority opinion. Justice O’Connor, applying the reasonableness standard for nonpublic fora, agreed with the Second Circuit that the distribution ban was not reasonable. Id. at 690–93 (opn. of O’Connor, J.). Justice Kennedy, joined in relevant part by Justices Blackmun, Stevens, and Souter, agreed that the Second Circuit’s judgment regarding the distribution ban should be affirmed, but on different grounds, namely, under a strict scrutiny test (because these justices believed that the airport terminals should be deemed a public forum). Id. at 708–10 (opn. of Kennedy, J.). The result was that the Second Circuit’s invalidation of the distribution ban was affirmed without any opinion commanding a majority view.

Regardless of the outcome with respect to the distribution ban, it is beyond debate that five Supreme Court justices in Lee agreed that airport terminals are not public fora. Id. at 680–81. The Tenth Circuit has acknowledged this holding. Mocek v. City of Albuquerque, 813 F.3d 912, 930 (10th Cir. 2015) (“As an initial matter, an airport is a nonpublic forum, where restrictions on expressive activity need only ‘satisfy a requirement of reasonableness.’” (quoting Lee, 505 U.S. at 683)). Notably, Plaintiffs have cited no case in which any court anywhere has deemed an airport to be a public forum.

b. Is the Jeppesen Terminal a Designated Public Forum??

Even though the Jeppesen Terminal is not a traditional public forum, Denver could still designate it as a public forum if Denver “intentionally [opens the Jeppesen Terminal] for public discourse.” Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 802. Denver denies that it has done so, and Plaintiffs’ arguments to the contrary lack merit.

i. Terminal Visitors’ Incidental Expressive Activities

Plaintiffs argue that visitors to the Jeppesen Terminal “engage in First Amendment activity; they wear buttons, shirts, and hats that convey distinct messages to other visitors. They engage in one-on-one conversations.” (ECF No. 21 at 3.) Thus, Plaintiffs say, Denver has designated a public forum within the Jeppesen Terminal.

The Tenth Circuit has already foreclosed this argument. Addressing the public forum status of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Court stated the following: “Even if Denver allowed patrons to wear political buttons or shirts with slogans, this would not be sufficient to establish a designated public forum. The First Amendment does not require the government to impose a ‘zone of silence’ on its property to maintain its character as a nonpublic forum.” Hawkins v. City & Cnty. of Denver, 170 F.3d 1281, 1288 (10th Cir. 1999).

Indeed, even if it wanted to, Denver almost certainly could not impose such a “zone of silence,” as illustrated by Board of Airport Commissioners of City of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc., 482 U.S. 569 (1987). There, the Los Angeles airport authority adopted a resolution announcing that “the Central Terminal Area at Los Angeles International Airport [LAX] is not open for First Amendment activities.” Id. at 570–71 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Supreme Court found that this provision did not “merely reach the activity of [the religious proselytizers who challenged it],” but also prohibited

even talking and reading, or the wearing of campaign buttons or symbolic clothing. Under such a sweeping ban, virtually every individual who enters LAX may be found to violate the resolution by engaging in some “First Amendment activit[y].” We think it obvious that such a ban cannot be justified even if LAX were a nonpublic forum because no conceivable governmental interest would justify such an absolute prohibition of speech.

Id. at 574–75. Thus, the evidence at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing established beyond any possible dispute that Denver has shown no intent to designate the Airport as a public forum by allowing speech at that location which it may not disallow in the first instance.

ii. The Effect of Regulation 50 Itself?

Plaintiffs further argue, “Regulation 50 states that free speech activity is proper in the Jeppesen Terminal (pursuant to a restriction). Denver has [thus] designated the Jeppesen Terminal a public forum for leafleting, conducting surveys, displaying signs, gathering signatures, soliciting funds, and other speech related activity for religious, charitable, or political purposes.” (ECF No. 21 at 3–4.) Although clever, this argument cannot be correct. 2

First, the Airport knows from the Supreme Court’s Jews for Jesus decision, just discussed, that it cannot prohibit all behavior that can be characterized as First Amendment-protected expressive activity.

Second, the Airport also knows from the Lee decision that it likely cannot completely ban some forms of intentional First Amendment communication (such as leafleting) given that the Jeppesen T erminal, like the Port Authority terminals at issue in Lee, is a large multipurpose facility that can reasonably accommodate some amount of intentional First Amendment activity. So, again, the Airport’s choice to regulate what it could not prohibit in the first place is not evidence of intent to designate a public forum. See Stanton v. Fort Wayne-Allen Cnty. Airport Auth., 834 F. Supp. 2d 865, 872 (N.D. Ind. 2011) (“[t]he designation of certain free speech zones, along with the permit requirement and limitation of expression to certain times, manners, and places as set forth in the permit, are marks of the Airport Authority’s attempt to restrict public discourse, and are inconsistent with an intent to designate a public forum” (emphasis in original)).

Third, Plaintiffs’ position, if accepted, would likely turn out to chill expressive speech in the long run. If a government will be deemed to have designated a public forum every time it accommodates citizens’ natural desire to engage in expressive activity in a nonpublic forum, governments will likely cut back on such accommodations as far as they are constitutionally allowed. Cf. Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 46 (1983) (government may un-designate a designated public forum).

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2 Plaintiffs have unsurprisingly cited no decision from any court adopting their reasoning.
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iii. “Welcome Home” Messages?

Plaintiffs finally argue that “[s]ome individuals (who, importantly, are not airlines passengers) hold signs welcoming home loved ones or those returning from overseas deployment.” (ECF No. 21 at 3.) The Court will address signs welcoming home veterans and active-duty military members in Part IV.B.3.f, below, and for the reasons stated there finds that this practice, to the extent it exists, does not show intent to designate a public forum. As for welcoming home loved ones, the Court sees no greater religious, charitable, political, or labor-related significance in a typical welcome home sign than standing in the meeter-and-greeter area with a pleasant smile.

In any event, to the extent a welcome home sign has greater significance, “[t]he government does not create a public forum by inaction.” Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 802. Thus, simple failure to enforce Regulation 50 against such signholders is not itself sufficient to infer that the Airport intended to designate a public forum. And finally, even if the Court were to find such an intent, the Court would still be required to consider whether the Airport only intended to designate a public forum specifically for, e.g., those wishing to convey welcome home messages: “A public forum may be created for a limited purpose such as use by certain groups, or for the discussion of certain subjects.” Perry, 460 U.S. at 45 n.7 (1983) (citations omitted). Plaintiffs have nowhere addressed this.

For all these reasons, Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the Jeppesen Terminal is a designated public forum. 3

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3 Plaintiffs also attack Regulation 50 as a “prior restraint.” (ECF No. 2 at 6–7.) “The term prior restraint is used ‘to describe administrative and judicial orders forbidding certain communications when issued in advance of the time that such communications are to occur.’” Alexander v. United States, 509 U.S. 544, 550 (1993) (quoting M. Nimmer, Nimmer on Freedom of Speech § 4.03, p. 4-14 (1984)) (emphasis in original). Whether or not that definition could fit Regulation 50, it adds nothing to this case because the Supreme Court’s forum analysis provides the governing principles.
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3. Given that the Jeppesen Terminal Is Not a Public Forum, Is Regulation 50 Reasonable in Light of the Purposes Served by the Airport, and Is It Viewpoint-Neutral?

a. Reasonableness of the Need for a Permit Submitted in Advance, Generally

Reasonableness is a fact-intensive inquiry into the “particular nature of the public expression” at issue and “the extent to which it interferes with the designated purposes” of the nonpublic forum. Hawkins, 170 F.3d at 1290. Justice O’Connor’s concurring opinion in Lee is significant here, both because of its reasoning and because it has reached the somewhat paradoxical status of a “controlling concurrence.” See id. at 1289 (“In actuality, [Justice O’Connor’s reasonableness analysis in Lee] constitutes only Justice O’Connor’s view, who provided the swing vote in the highly-fractured Lee decision, but as the narrowest majority holding, we are bound by it.”).

In Lee, Justice O’Connor noted the Port Authority’s airports were not single-purpose facilities (unlike many other locations where the Supreme Court had previously examined speech restrictions). 505 U.S. at 688. Rather, the airports were “huge complex[es] open to travelers and nontravelers alike,” id. at 688, and had essentially become “shopping mall[s] as well as . . . airport[s],” id. at 689. The question, then, was whether Port Authority’s restrictions were “reasonably related to maintaining the multipurpose environment that the Port Authority has deliberately created.” Id.

Justice O’Connor’s description of the Port Authority Airports aptly describes the Jeppesen Terminal, to an extent. The Great Hall is lined with restaurants and retail establishments, and in that sense is reminiscent of a shopping mall. On the other hand, most of the floor space on level 6 is simply the floor space needed to get from location to location (the equivalent of wide hallways), and most of the floor space on level 5 is dedicated to security screening. The only large area that is usually free of significant obstructions is the central meeter-and-greeter area—and even that area has at times been taken up by art installations or other features. 4

Moreover, despite certain characteristics of the Airport that may resemble a shopping mall, the Airport’s undisputed primary purpose is to facilitate safe and efficient air travel. The need for safety hopefully needs no discussion —for decades, airports and airplanes have been the specific target of terrorists. As for efficiency, the significance of the Great Hall within the Jeppesen Terminal is particularly evident given that it is the node through which every arriving and departing passenger must pass. As noted, the Airport served 58.3 million passengers last year. Even assuming that just 20 million (about a third) were arrivals and departures (the remainder being those who connect through without reaching the Jeppesen Terminal), this still comes to more than 55,000 passengers moving through the Great Hall per day, or about 2,300 per hour. If the Airport could somehow maintain precisely that average over all days and hours of its operation —which of course never happens— it would still be the equivalent of perpetually filling and emptying a large concert hall every hour.

In this light, the Airport’s general purposes for requiring demonstrators to apply for a permit in advance are difficult to question. As stated by the various Airport administrators who testified at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing (Ken Greene, chief operations officer; Patrick Heck, chief commercial officer; and Dave Dalton, assistant director for terminal operations), it is important for the Airport to have advance notice regarding the presence of individuals coming for reasons other than normal airport- related activities, and particularly those who come to the airport intending to attract the attention of passengers and others. The Airport needs an opportunity to determine the appropriate location for a group of the requested size in light of the day(s) and time(s) requested. The permitting requirement also gives the Airport the opportunity to point out Regulation 50’s code of conduct (Regulation 50.08), so that demonstrators know what activities are and are not permissible.

In addition, the Airport fairly desires an opportunity to understand the nature of the expressive activity, which can inform whether additional security is needed. As Lopez’s testimony illustrates, it is not a simple matter to bring additional police officers to the Airport on a moment’s notice. Lopez further pointed out the advantage of understanding the subject matter of the dispute so that he can anticipate whether counter-protesters might arrive and potentially create at least a difficult, if not dangerous, situation.

Importantly, Denver does not need to prove that any particular past event has raised serious congestion or safety concerns: “Although Denver admits that plaintiffs did not cause any congestion problems or major disruption on the particular occasion that they demonstrated . . . , that is not dispositive. ‘[T]he Government need not wait until havoc is wreaked to restrict access to a nonpublic forum.’” Hawkins, 170 F.3d at 1290 (quoting Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 810). Thus, the Airport may reasonably require a permit applied for in advance. The Court does not understand Plaintiffs to be arguing to the contrary, i.e., that the Airport is never justified in requiring an advance permit under any circumstances.

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4 Plaintiffs’ Exhibit 15, for example, is a photograph of the meeter-and-greeter area in 2008, and shows that a fountain occupied a significant portion of floor space at the time.
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?b. Reasonableness of the Seven-Day Requirement, Specifically

Plaintiffs do attack Regulation 50.03’s requirement that permit applications be submitted seven days in advance of the desired activity, apparently arguing that this is unconstitutionally unreasonable in all circumstances. Given both Plaintiffs’ testimony at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing, it is not clear that they would be satisfied by a shorter advance-notice period, nor that it would redress their claimed injury —the inability to protest essentially at a moment’s notice on a topical event. But, to the extent Plaintiffs are challenging the seven-day requirement through the overbreadth doctrine (see Part IV.B.4, below), the Court finds that they have not met their higher burden (or even the normal preliminary injunction burden) to show that they are likely to succeed on proving the seven-day requirement unreasonable in all circumstances.

The Airport’s witnesses were not aware of any other airport with a seven-day requirement. The Indiana airport at issue in the Stanton case —which Defendants have relied upon heavily— had a two-day notice requirement, and also a provision by which the airport could accept an application on even shorter notice. 834 F. Supp. 2d at 870. On the other hand, that Airport handled about 40,000 departing and arriving passengers per month, id. at 868, whereas the Denver Airport handles far more than that per day.

The Court’s own research has revealed that airports ahead of the Denver Airport in 2016 passenger statistics have varied requirements:

• O’Hare International Airport (Chicago) — six business days, see Chicago Department of Aviation Amended Rules and Regulations Governing First Amendment Activities at the City of Chicago Airports § 3(A) (Sept. 18, 2015), available at http://www.flychicago.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/ OHare/AboutUs/cdaamendedRulesandRegs.pdf (last accessed Feb. 16, 2017);

• Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — three business days, see Code of Rules and Regulations of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Board, ch. 3, § 4, art. VI(A) (2006), available at https://www.dfwairport.com/cs/groups/public/documents/webasset/p1_008800.pdf (last accessed Feb. 16, 2017); ?

• John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York City) — twenty-four hours, see Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Airport Rules and Regulations § XV(B)(2)(a) (Aug. 4, 2009), available at http://www.panynj.gov/airports/pdf/Rules_Regs_Revision_8_04_09.pdf (last accessed Feb. 16, 2017). ??

Obviously there is no clear trend. Depending on how these airports define “business day,” some of these time periods may actually be longer than the Denver Airport’s seven-day requirement. ?

In any event, Plaintiffs have never explained how the Airport, in its particular circumstances, cannot reasonably request seven days’ advance notice as a general rule. Indeed, Plaintiffs could not cite to this Court any case holding that any advance notice requirement applicable to a nonpublic forum was unconstitutional in all circumstances. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not made a strong showing of likelihood of success on this particular theory of relief.

c. Reasonableness of the Regulation 50.03’s Lack of a Formal Process for Handling Permit Application More Quickly in Exigent Circumstances

Plaintiffs would prefer that they be allowed to demonstrate at the Airport without any advance notice in “exigent circumstances.” Given the serious and substantial purposes served by an advance notice requirement, the Court cannot say that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on this score. Plaintiffs have given the Court no reason to hold that the Airport has a constitutional duty, even in exigent circumstances, to accommodate demonstrators as they show up, without any advance warning whatsoever.

Nonetheless, the Airport’s complete lack of any formal mechanism for at least expediting the permit application process in unusual circumstances raises a substantial and serious question for this Court. As noted in Part IV.A, above, timing and location are cardinal First Amendment considerations, and a number of cases regarding public fora (streets and parks) have held or strongly suggested that an advance notice requirement is unconstitutional if it does not account for the possibility of spontaneous or short-notice demonstrations regarding suddenly relevant issues.

Indeed, as the undersigned pointed out to Defendants’ counsel at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing, Denver itself is willing to accept an application for a street parade on twenty-four hours’ notice (as opposed to its standard requirement of thirty days) “if the proposed parade is for the purpose of spontaneous communication of topical ideas that could not have been foreseen in advance of [the] required application period or when circumstances beyond the control of the applicant prevented timely filing of the application.” Denver Mun. Code § 54-361(d). But again, this governs a public forum (city streets), where time, place, and manner restrictions such as this must satisfy a narrow tailoring analysis and leave open ample alternative channels for communication. See Perry, 460 U.S. at 45. As the above discussion makes clear, under controlling authority the Airport need not satisfy the same legal standards.

The parties have not cited, nor has the Court located, any case specifically discussing the need for a nonpublic forum to accommodate short-notice demonstrations. But the Court likewise has not found any case expressly precluding that consideration when evaluating reasonableness in the context of a nonpublic forum. It is perhaps unsurprising that the specific question has never come up in a nonpublic forum until now. The Court believes it to be an accurate observation that this country has never before experienced a situation in which (a) the motivation to protest developed so rapidly and (b) the most obviously relevant protest locations was a place the Supreme Court had already declared to be a nonpublic forum—the airport terminal.

When evaluating the reasonableness of a First Amendment restriction in a nonpublic forum, the Court concludes that it may appropriately consider the ability to shorten an advance notice requirement in a place like the Airport, given how unique airports are within the category of nonpublic fora. As Justice O’Connor noted in Lee, most of the Supreme Court’s major nonpublic forum cases aside from airport cases have involved

discrete, single-purpose facilities. See, e.g., [United States v.] Kokinda, [497 U.S. 720 (1990)] (dedicated sidewalk between parking lot and post office); Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Ed. Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788 (1985) (literature for charity drive); City Council of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789 (1984) (utility poles); Perry, supra (interschool mail system); Postal Service v. Council of Greenburgh Civic Assns., [453 U.S. 114 (1981)] (household mail boxes); Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966) (curtilage of jailhouse).

505 U.S. at 688 (parallel citations omitted). As Justice O’Connor observed, however, many airports have become large, multipurpose facilities, see id. at 688–89, and that describes the Denver Airport well. To be sure, the reason for expanding beyond the bare minimum of infrastructure needed to handle travelers and airplanes is to promote air travel—to make the airport a more convenient and welcoming location specifically (although not exclusively) for travelers—but the reasonableness of First Amendment restrictions must nonetheless be judged according to the “multipurpose environment that [airport authorities] ha[ve] deliberately created.” Id. at 689.

Moreover, modern airports are almost always owned and operated by a political body, as well as secured by government employees. Thus, short-notice demonstrations reasonably relevant to an airport are also reasonably likely to be demonstrations about political or otherwise governmental topics, “an area in which the importance of First Amendment protections is at its zenith.” Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 425 (1988) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Given all this, and in light of the First Amendment interests in location and timing that this very case has made salient, the Court finds it unreasonable for the Airport to have no formal process by which demonstrators can obtain an expedited permit when -to borrow from the Denver parade ordinance— they seek to communicate topical ideas reasonably relevant to the Airport, the immediate importance of which could not have been foreseen in advance of the usual seven-day period, or when circumstances beyond the control of the applicant prevented timely filing of the application. The Court further finds in the particular circumstances of the Airport that reasonableness requires a process by which an applicant who faces such circumstances can request a permit on twenty-four hours’ notice. If this is all the notice Denver needs to prepare for a street parade, the Court can see no reason why more notice is needed (in exigent circumstances) for a substantially more confined environment like the Airport. 5

Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are strongly likely to succeed in their challenge to Regulation 50.03 to this limited extent.

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5 At the Preliminary Injunction Hearing, Defendants’ counsel argued that preparing for a street parade is actually easier than preparing for demonstrations at the airport. The Court cannot fathom how this could possibly be the case, at least when comparing a typical street parade request to the typical Airport demonstration request. Indeed, the normal street parade request window is thirty days, suggesting just the opposite. Denver Mun. Code § 54-361(d). The challenges may be different, but the Court cannot accept—on this record, at least—that Airport demonstrations on average require more preparation time than do public parades or marches.
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d. Reasonableness of the Airport’s Power to Control the Location of Permitted Expressive Activity

At the Preliminary Injunction Hearing, it became clear that Plaintiffs not only wish for a more expansive right to protest in the Jeppesen T erminal, but they also argue for the right to select precisely where in the Terminal they should be allowed to stand. The Court recognizes that, from Plaintiffs’ perspective, their message is diluted if they cannot demonstrate in the international arrivals area, and this is a legitimate concern for all the reasons discussed previously about the power of location when conveying a message. The Court must also account, however, for Airport administrators’ superior knowledge about airport operations, foot traffic patterns, concerns particular to the specific day of the protest, and so forth.

?Regulation 50.04-1 requires permit applicants to specify “each location at which the [expressive] activity is proposed to be conducted,” but nowhere in Regulation 50 is there any limitation on the Airport’s discretion whether to approve the location request. Rather, the only provision addressing this topic is Regulation 50.04-6, which applies to a demonstration already underway: “The CEO may move expressive activity from one location to another and/or disperse such activity around the airport upon reasonable notice to each affected person when in the judgment of the CEO such action is necessary for the efficient and effective operation of the transportation function of the airport.”

There is no evidence that Airport administrators are using their discretion when approving a demonstration’s location to suppress or dilute a particular message, but there is also no logical reason to leave Airport administrators’ discretion essentially unfettered at the permitting stage while restricting it once the demonstration is underway. The Court finds Plaintiffs are likely to succeed at least in proving that Regulation 50.04-1 is unreasonable to the extent the Airport’s discretion is not restrained to the same degree as in Regulation 50.04-6. Defendants will therefore be enjoined to follow the same restraints in both settings.

e. Reasonableness of Regulation 50.09’s Prohibition of Signage Within the Jeppesen Terminal, and Regulation 50.08-12’s Limitation of All Signs to One Square Foot

Regulation 50.09 establishes that “picketing” (defined to include “displaying one or more signs, posters or similar devices,” Regulation 50.02-8) is totally prohibited in the Jeppesen Terminal unless as part of a labor protest. And, under Regulation 50.08-12, any permissible sign may be no larger than “one foot by one foot in size.”

?Any argument that the picketing ban is reasonable in the context of the Airport is foreclosed by Justice O’Connor’s analysis of the leafleting band at issue in Lee. See 505 U.S. at 690–93. Leafleting usually involves an individual moving around, at least within a small area, and actively offering literature to passersby. Signholding is usually less obtrusive, given that the signholder often stays within an even smaller area and conveys his or her message passively to those who walk by and notice the sign. The Court simply cannot discern what legitimate or reasonable Airport purpose is served by a complete ban on “picketing” or signholding among permitted demonstrators in the Jeppesen Terminal.

The Court also finds the one-foot-by-one-foot signage restriction unreasonable. The Airport has a legitimate interest in regulating the size of signs, as well as other aspects of their display (such as whether they will be held in the air, as in traditional picketing), but a one-foot-by-one-foot restriction is barely distinguishable, both legally and as a factual matter, from a complete ban. The point of a sign is to make a message readable from a distance. Few messages of substance are readable from any kind of distance if they must be condensed into one foot square. Reasonableness instead requires the Airport to consider the size of the signs that a permit applicant wishes to display as compared to the needs and limitations of the location where the applicant will demonstrate. Any restriction by the Airport which limits the size of a permit applicant’s signage beyond that which may be reasonably required to prevent the restriction or impeding of the normal flow of travelers and visitors in and out of Jeppesen Terminal will be preliminarily enjoined.

f. Viewpoint Neutrality

?A nonpublic forum is not required to be content-neutral, but it is required to be viewpoint-neutral with respect to the First Amendment activity it permits. Hawkins, 170 F.3d at 1288. Regulation 50, on its face, is viewpoint neutral, and Plaintiffs do not argue otherwise. Rather, they say that “Regulation 50 is being enforced as a clearly view-point-based restriction.” (ECF No. 2 at 14 (emphasis added).) This appears to be an as-applied challenge:

Individuals walk through Denver International Airport with political messages and slogans on their shirts and luggage and discuss politics on a daily basis. Counsel for Plaintiffs has worn political shirts while traveling through Denver International Airport and discussed modern politics with fellow passengers on many occasions. However, no other individual, to Plaintiffs or Plaintiffs’ counsel’s knowledge, has been threatened with arrest for engaging in this political speech. Nor has any individual been arrested for displaying pro-President Trump messages, for example a red hat that reads “Make America Great Again.” Only Plaintiffs’ expressive activity against the President’s Executive Order, and others advocating similarly, has been threatened with arrest.

(Id.) Denver responds:

The permit requirement furthers the nonpublic forum purpose by mitigating disruption at the airport by individuals who choose to be at the airport for non-travel related activities. In Stanton, the [Northern District of Indiana] rejected this exact argument challenging a nearly identical permitting rule of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport on an as applied basis by distinguishing between incidental expressive activities by members of the traveling public versus those arriving at the airport solely for purposes of engaging in expressive speech. Any messages a traveler or individual picking up a family member conveys by wearing T-shirts or hats are “incidental to the use of the Airport’s facilities” by persons whose “primary purpose for being present at the Airport is a purpose other than expressing free speech rights,” which is different in kind than individuals arriving at an airport whose primary purpose is expressive speech. Id. at 880–882.

(ECF No. 20 at 11 (emphasis added).)?

This argument obviously relies on a particular interpretation of Regulation 50 (given that the Regulation itself makes no explicit distinction between those who arrive at the airport for travel-related purposes and those who do not). Nonetheless, this is how Airport administrators interpret Regulation 50, as they made clear at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing. They also made clear that they have never sought to enforce Regulation 50 against someone wearing a political shirt, for example, while on airport-related business. Plaintiffs’ own arguments support the sincerity of the Airport administrators’ testimony. By Plaintiffs’ own admission, they are unaware of anyone going about his or her typical airport-related business who has been arrested or even threatened with arrest for wearing a political shirt, discussing politics, etc.

At the Preliminary Injunction Hearing, Plaintiffs attempted to present an as- applied viewpoint discrimination case by showing that the Airport regularly allows individuals to hold rallies, display signs, and so forth, for returning servicemembers and veterans, yet without requiring those individuals to obtain a permit under Regulation 50. The Court agrees that pro-military and pro-veteran messages are political statements, at least to the extent being conveyed by someone not at the Airport to welcome home a relative or loved one (and perhaps even by those persons as well). Thus, it would seem that pro-military messages would fall under Regulation 50. However, Plaintiffs have failed at this stage to show that the Airport’s alleged treatment of pro-military and pro-veteran messages amounts to viewpoint discrimination.

At the outset, Plaintiffs fail to note the subjective element of their claim: “viewpoint discrimination in contravention of the First Amendment requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant acted with a viewpoint-discriminatory purpose.” Pahls, 718 F.3d at 1230. In that light, it is tenuous to suggest that allowing (allegedly) unpermitted pro-military or pro-veteran expression at various times in the past but not allowing these recent unpermitted protests against the Executive Order is evidence of viewpoint discrimination. The question of whether our nation should honor servicemembers and the question of how our nation should treat foreign nationals affected by the Executive Order are not really in the same universe of discourse. To bridge the gap, it takes a number of assumptions about where pro-military attitudes tend to fall in the American political spectrum, and what people with those attitudes might also think about the Executive Order. This would be a fairly tall order of proof even outside the preliminary injunction context.

Moreover, Plaintiffs’ evidence of unpermitted pro-military expression is fairly weak. Plaintiffs’ main example is the activities of the Rocky Mountain Honor Flight, an organization that assists World War II veterans to travel to Washington, D.C., and visit the World War II Memorial, and then welcomes them home with a large and boisterous rally held in the meeter-and-greeter portion of the Great Hall. A former servicemember who helped to organize one of these rallies testified that she inquired of a more-senior organizer whether the Airport required any special procedures, and the answer she received was “no.” However, Airport administrators presented unrebutted testimony that Rocky Mountain Honor Flight rallies are planned far in advance and sponsored by the Airport itself, in connection with TSA and certain airlines. The Airport does not need a Regulation 50 permit for its own expressive activities, and a government entity’s expression about a topic is not a matter of First Amendment concern. See Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460, 467 (2009) (“The Free Speech Clause restricts government regulation of private speech; it does not regulate government speech.”).

Apart from the Rocky Mountain Honor Flight, Plaintiffs’ evidence comprises photos they gleaned from a Getty Images database showing individuals over the last decade or so being greeted at the Airport by persons holding signs. Some of these signs appear to be simple “welcome home” signs directed at specific returning family members. In the obviously servicemember-related photos, American flags are common. The Court finds that these photos, presented out of context, are not sufficient evidence to make a strong showing of likelihood of success regarding viewpoint discrimination, particularly the subjective intent requirement. Thus, the Court finds no reason for an injunction based on alleged viewpoint-discriminatory conduct. 6

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6 Even if Plaintiffs’ evidence were enough, the Court would find at this stage of this litigation that the only injunctive relief appropriate in light of the balance-of-harms and public interest considerations, below, would be an injunction to enforce Regulation 50 evenhandedly. Such an outcome would not advance Plaintiffs’ interests here.
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4. Is Regulation 50 Overbroad or Vague?

Plaintiffs bring both overbreadth and vagueness challenges to Regulation 50, which, in this case, are really two sides of the same coin. If a speech regulation’s sweep is unclear and may potentially apply to protected conduct, a court may invalidate the regulation as vague; whereas if the regulation actually applies to unprotected as well as protected speech, an individual who violates the regulation through unprotected speech may nonetheless challenge the entire statute as overbroad. See Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 108–09, 114–15 (1972); 1 Smolla & Nimmer on Freedom of Speech ch. 6 (Oct. 2016 update). Here, Plaintiffs argue either that Regulation 50 is overbroad because it forbids (without a permit) protected conduct such as wearing a political hat while walking to one’s flight (ECF No. 2 at 16–18); or it is vague because it is unclear to what it applies precisely, given that Plaintiffs have seen Regulation 50 enforced against themselves but not against those who wear political hats or buttons, who are welcoming home military veterans, etc., all of whom are “seemingly in violation” of the Regulation (id. at 18–20).

The first task, then, is to determine what Regulation 50 actually encompasses. Again, the Regulation states that “no person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO or his or her designee.”

The portion about leafleting, conducting surveys, displaying signs, gathering signatures, or soliciting funds is not vague. It does not fail to “give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited.” Grayned, 408 U.S. at 108. Nor is it overbroad given that it is not a complete prohibition of leafleting (as in Lee), but simply a prohibition without a permit.

The arguably difficult portion of Regulation 50 is the “or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes” clause. It is grammatically possible to interpret this passage as extending to any religious, charitable, or political “speech related activity” by anyone at the Airport, including travelers wearing political buttons or sharing their religious beliefs with others.

Denver argues that no person of ordinary intelligence would have such a worry: “a person of ordinary intelligence cannot reasonably claim that they are unable to discern the difference between a traveler walking through the airport with a ‘make America great again’ baseball cap or travelers discussing politics as they walk to their intended destination and a gathering of people who have no purpose for being at the airport other than to march or station themselves in order to communicate their position on a political issue.” (ECF No. 20 at 14.) This argument is slightly inapposite. The question is not whether someone can distinguish between a passenger’s pro-Trump hat and a gathering of anti-Trump protesters. The question is whether Regulation 50 contains such a distinction, and particularly a distinction between the incidental activities of those who come to the airport for airport-related purposes and the intentional activities of those who come to the airport to demonstrate.

However, to the extent Denver means to say that Regulation 50 would not be interpreted by a person of ordinary intelligence to encompass, e.g., a traveler choosing to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat, the Court agrees. Regulation 50 is not, as Plaintiffs suggest, just one paragraph from Regulation 50.03. Regulation 50 comprises sixteen major subdivisions, many of which are themselves subdivided. A person of ordinary intelligence who reads Regulation 50 —all of it— cannot avoid the overwhelming impression that its purpose is to regulate the expressive conduct of those who come to the Airport specifically to engage in expressive conduct. Thus, Regulation 50 is not vague.

As for overbreadth, “[t]he first step in [the] analysis is to construe the challenged statute; it is impossible to determine whether a statute reaches too far without first knowing what the statute covers.” United States v. Williams, 553 U.S. 285, 293 (2008). For the reasons already stated, the Court finds that the only reasonable construction is one that does not extend to an airline passenger wearing a political T-shirt, or anything of that character. Cf. Jews for Jesus, 482 U.S. at 575. This is, moreover, the Airport’s own interpretation, the sincerity of which is borne out by Plaintiffs’ own experience. Thus, Regulation 50 is not overbroad. 7

————
7 Even if Regulation 50 were vague or overbroad, the Court would nonetheless find that an injunction against enforcing Regulation 50 as a whole would be against the public interest. The more appropriate remedy would be an injunction to follow precisely the interpretation that the Airport currently follows, but that would be of no benefit to Plaintiffs.
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?C. Irreparable Harm

Having found that Plaintiffs are strongly likely to succeed in invalidating a narrow subset of Regulation 50, the Court returns to irreparable harm. Given that Plaintiffs First Amendment rights are at stake in those portions of Regulation 50 that the Court finds to be unreasonable, irreparable harm almost inevitably follows: “the loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Heideman v. S. Salt Lake City, 348 F.3d 1182, 1190 (10th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted).

?D. Balance of Harms

The injury to a plaintiff deprived of his or her legitimate First Amendment rights almost always outweighs potential harm to the government if the injunction is granted. See Awad v. Ziriax, 670 F.3d 1111, 1131 (10th Cir. 2012); ACLU v. Johnson, 194 F.3d 1149, 1163 (10th Cir. 1999). Thus, the Court finds that the harm to Plaintiffs from the Airport’s continued enforcement of the unreasonable portions of Regulation 50 would be greater than the harm to the Airport in refraining from such enforcement, particularly given that the unreasonable portions are quite limited and most of Regulation 50 will remain unchanged.

?E. Public Interest

Finally, as with irreparable injury and balancing of interests, it is almost always in the public interest to prevent a First Amendment violation. See Awad, 670 F.3d at 1132; Johnson, 194 F.3d at 1163. Moreover, the Court is not striking down Regulation 50 or even altering it in any significant respect. Thus, the public’s interest in safe and efficient Airport operations remains unaffected.?

F. Bond

A party awarded a preliminary injunction normally must “give[] security in an amount that the court considers proper to pay the costs and damages sustained by any party found to have been wrongfully enjoined or restrained.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(c). The Tenth Circuit has held, however, that “a trial court may, in the exercise of discretion, determine a bond is unnecessary to secure a preliminary injunction if there is an absence of proof showing a likelihood of harm.” Coquina Oil Corp. v. Transwestern Pipeline Co., 825 F.2d 1461, 1462 (10th Cir. 1987) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also 11A Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice & Procedure § 2954 n.29 (3d ed., Apr. 2016 update) (citing public rights cases where the bond was excused or significantly reduced). Denver has not argued that Plaintiffs should be required to post a bond, and the Court finds that waiver of the bond is appropriate in any event.

V. CONCLUSION

For the reasons set forth above, the Court ORDERS as follows:

1. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 2) is GRANTED to the ?limited extent stated in this order and otherwise DENIED; ?

2. The City and County of Denver (including its respective officers, agents, ?servants, employees, attorneys, and other persons who are in active concert or participation with any of them, and further including without limitation Defendants Lopez and Quiñones) (collectively, “Defendants”) are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED as follows:

a. Defendants must timely process a permit application under Denver Airport Regulation 50.04-1 that is received less than 7 days but at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought, provided that the applicant, in good faith, seeks a permit for the purpose of communicating topical ideas reasonably relevant to the purposes and mission of the Airport, the immediate importance of which could not have been foreseen 7 days or more in advance of the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought, or when circumstances beyond the control of the applicant prevented timely filing of the application; however, circumstances beyond Defendants’ control may excuse strict compliance with this requirement to the extent those circumstances demonstrably interfere with the expedited permitting process; ?

b. So long as a permit applicant seeks to demonstrate in a location where the unticketed public is normally allowed to be, Defendants must make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the applicant’s preferred location, whether inside or outside of the Jeppesen Terminal;

c. Defendants may not enforce Denver Airport Regulation 50.09’s prohibition against “picketing” (as that term is defined in Regulation 50.02-8) within the Jeppesen Terminal; and

d. Defendants may not restrict the size of a permit applicant’s proposed signage beyond that which may be reasonably required to prevent the impeding of the normal flow of travelers and visitors in and out of Jeppesen Terminal; and specifically, Defendants may not enforce Denver Airport Regulation 50.08-12’s requirement that signs or placards be no larger than one foot by one foot.

3. This Preliminary Injunction is effective immediately upon issuance of this Order, and will remain in force for the duration of this action unless otherwise modified by Order of this Court.

Dated this 22nd day of February, 2017, at 8:05 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. BY THE COURT:

__________________________
William J. Martínez?
United States District Judge

Occupy v. Martinez (Plaza Protest Ban) 2015 Order Granting Prelim Injunction


While we await a judge’s response to the complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction against DIA’s free speech permit, I was drawn to reminisce about an earlier federal injunction GRANTED against Denver’s 2nd Judicial District. It was/is (!) also a preliminary injunction curbing police intimidation. This one prevents arrests of Jury Nullification pamphleteers at the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. More broadly, it halts the enforcement of the despotic “Chief Justice Order 1” which attempted to curb free speech in Tully Plaza, between the courthouse and the jail, site of innumerable protest rallies since the facility was erected in 2010. After a protracted legal battle, the case will finally come to trial in April 2017. This case also started with police overreach, then a complaint, a motion, and a hearing. In August 2015, US District Judge William Martinez issued the below court order granting the preliminary injunction.

Document 28 Filed 08/25/15 USDC Colorado

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge William J. Martínez

Civil Action No. 15-cv-1775-WJM-MJW

ERIC VERLO,?
JANET MATZEN, and?
FULLY INFORMED JURY ASSOCIATION,

Plaintiffs, v.

THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER, COLORADO, a municipality,?ROBERT C. WHITE, in his official capacity as chief of police for Denver, and CHIEF JUDGE MICHAEL MARTINEZ, in his official capacity as chief judge of the Second Judicial District,

Defendants.

______________________________

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
______________________________

Plaintiffs Eric Verlo, Janet Matzen, and the Fully Informed Jury Association (“FIJA”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) bring this lawsuit to establish that they have a First Amendment right to distribute and discuss literature regarding jury nullification in the plaza outside of Denver’s Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse (“Courthouse Plaza” or “Plaza”). (ECF Nos. 1, 13-1.) The Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse is where most criminal proceedings take place for Colorado’s Second Judicial District (which is coterminous with the City and County of Denver).

Plaintiffs have sued the City and County of Denver itself and its police chief, Robert C. White, in his official capacity (jointly, “Denver”). Plaintiffs have also sued the Hon. Michael A. Martinez 1 in his official capacity as Chief Judge of the Second Judicial District. Out of recognition that Plaintiffs’ lawsuit does not target Chief Judge Martinez himself but rather a policy promulgated by the Second Judicial District through Chief Judge Martinez, the Court will refer below to Chief Judge Martinez as “the Second Judicial District.”

On the same day Plaintiffs filed their complaint, they also moved for a preliminary injunction to restrain Defendants from taking any action to stop them from distributing certain literature regarding, or advocating for, jury nullification on the Courthouse Plaza (“Motion”). (ECF No. 2.) The Second Judicial District, represented by the Colorado Attorney General’s office, filed a response defending its current policy of limiting expressive activities to certain areas away from the main walkways leading to the Courthouse doors. (ECF No. 24.) Denver, represented by the Denver City Attorney’s office, did not file a response, but instead filed a joint stipulation with Plaintiffs regarding the status of the Plaza. (ECF No. 23.) As discussed further below, Denver (a) has no intent to enforce the Second Judicial District’s policy that would otherwise restrict Plaintiffs’ activities, and (b) agrees with Plaintiffs that they have a First Amendment right to distribute and discuss their literature essentially anywhere on the Courthouse Plaza, including in the areas designated as restricted by the Second Judicial District.

This Court held an evidentiary hearing and heard oral argument on August 21, 2015. Having considered all of the filings, evidence, and arguments submitted to date, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ Motion for the reasons explained below.

—————
1 No relation to the undersigned.?
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I. LEGAL STANDARD

To prevail on a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, Plaintiffs have the burden of establishing that four equitable factors weigh in their favor: (1) they are substantially likely to succeed on the merits; (2) they will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is denied; (3) their threatened injury outweighs the injury the opposing party will suffer under the injunction; and (4) the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. See Westar Energy, Inc. v. Lake, 552 F.3d 1215, 1224 (10th Cir. 2009); Gen. Motors Corp. v. Urban Gorilla, LLC, 500 F.3d 1222, 1226 (10th Cir. 2007). “[B]ecause a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy, the right to relief must be clear and unequivocal.” Greater Yellowstone Coal. v. Flowers, 321 F.3d 1250, 1256 (10th Cir. 2003).

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts Alleged in the Original Complaint

Plaintiffs’ original complaint recounts the story of two non-parties, Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt, who were passing out pamphlets on the Courthouse Plaza on July 27, 2015. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 14.) The pamphlets were titled “Fresh Air for Justice” and “Your Jury Rights: True or False?” (Id. ¶ 15; ECF No. 1-3; ECF No. 1-4.) Both pamphlets contain some history of jury nullification and various general statements about the jury’s role as envisioned by the Framers. (See generally ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-4.) But the pamphlets also contain certain calls to action which could raise concern. “Fresh Air for Justice,” for example, contains the following:

• “Judges say the law is for them to decide. That’s not true. When you are a juror, you have the right to decide both law and fact.” (ECF No. 1-3?at 3.) ?

• “If the law violates any human rights, you must vote no against that law by voting ‘not guilty.’” (Id. (emphasis in original).) ?

“Fresh Air for Justice” also contains the following, which could be interpreted as encouraging prospective jurors to lie during voir dire:

When you are called for jury duty, you will be one of the few people in the courtroom who wants justice rather than to win or to score career points. For you to defend against corrupt politicians and their corrupt laws, you must get on the jury. During the jury selection, prosecutors and judges often work together to remove honest, thinking people from juries. ?

When you’re questioned during jury selection, just say you don’t keep track of political issues. Show an impartial attitude. Don’t let the judge and prosecutor stack the jury by removing all the thinking, honest people!

Instructions and oaths are designed to bully jurors and protect political power. Although it all sounds very official, instructions and oaths are not legally binding, or there would be no need for independent thinking jurors like you.?

?(Id. at 4.)

The other pamphlet, “Your Jury Rights: True or False?”, does not contain language quite as direct as the foregoing, but it does declare, “You cannot be forced to obey a ‘juror’s oath.’” (ECF No. 1-4 at 3.) ?

Iannicelli was arrested on the Plaza that day, and Brandt was arrested on a warrant a few days later. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 18.) Both were charged with jury tampering: “A person commits jury-tampering if, with intent to influence a juror’s vote, opinion, decision, or other action in a case, he attempts directly or indirectly to communicate with a juror other than as a part of the proceedings in the trial of the case.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-8-609(1). The affidavit supporting Brandt’s arrest mentions that he and Iannicelli had been on the Courthouse Plaza at a time that jurors “would be expected to be arriving” for the ongoing death penalty prosecution of Dexter Lewis. (ECF No. 1-2 at 4.) 2

Plaintiff Eric Verlo “wishes to pass out the same literature on the Lindsey-Flannigan [sic; ‘Flanigan’] plaza as Eric Brandt and Mark Iannicelli were passing out which caused them to be arrested.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 9.) Plaintiff Janet Matzen wishes to do the same. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff FIJA is

an association, based in Montana, who’s [sic] members passionately believe in the concept of jury nullification. FIJA intends to hold an educational campaign in Denver on September 5, 2015 where its members wish to pass out the same brochures on the Lindsey-Flannigan [sic] plaza as Eric Brandt and Mark Iannicelli . . . .

(Id. ¶ 11.) 3 Plaintiffs say that the arrests of Brandt and Iannicelli have caused them to to fear that they too might be arrested and prosecuted. (Id. ¶ 22.)

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2 Lewis was charged with murdering five individuals at a Denver bar in 2012. See, e.g., Jordan Steffen & Matthew Nussbaum, “Denver jury hears opening arguments in five Fero’s bar killings,” Denver Post (July 20, 2015), at http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28513519/denver-jury-hears-opening-arguments-five-feros-bar (last accessed Aug. 24, 2015).

3 September 5, 2015, is a Saturday —an unlikely day for a jury nullification advocate to reach his or her target audience at a courthouse. When this was pointed out at the preliminary injunction hearing, counsel for Plaintiffs qualified the date with an “on or about.”
——————

?B. Facts Alleged in the Amended Complaint & Supplemental Filings

Two days after filing suit, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to insert allegations regarding a Second Judicial District administrative order recently posted on the Courthouse doors. (ECF No. 13-1 ¶ 2.) The order, designated “CJO 15-1” and dated August 14, 2015, was titled “Chief Judge Order Regarding Expressive Activities at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse.” (ECF No. 24-1.) This order was actually amended on August 21, 2015, hours before the preliminary injunction hearing in this Court, and admitted as Exhibit 1 in that hearing. (See ECF No. 25-1.) The Court will refer to the amended order as the “Plaza Order.” In relevant part, it reads as follows:

The Court has the responsibility and authority to ensure the safe and orderly use of the facilities of the Second Judicial District; to minimize activities which unreasonably disrupt, interrupt, or interfere with the orderly and peaceful conduct of court business in a neutral forum free of actual or perceived partiality, bias, prejudice, or favoritism; to provide for the fair and orderly conduct of hearings and trials; to promote the free flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on sidewalks and streets; and to maintain proper judicial decorum. Those having business with the courts must be able to enter and exit the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse freely, in a safe and orderly fashion and unhindered by threats, confrontation, interference, or harassment. Accordingly, the Court hereby prohibits certain expressive activities on the grounds of the Courthouse, as depicted in the highlighted areas of the attached map [reproduced below], without regard to the content of any particular message, idea, or form of speech.

Prohibited Activities: The activities listed below shall be prohibited in the following areas: anywhere inside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, including courtrooms, corridors, hallways, and lobbies; the areas, lawns, walkways, or roadways between the Courthouse and public sidewalks and roads; and any areas, walkways, or roadways that connect public sidewalks and roads to Courthouse entrances or exits. This includes the Courthouse entrance plaza areas on the east and west sides of the Courthouse as depicted in the highlighted areas of the attached map.

1. Demonstrating; picketing; protesting; marching; parading; holding vigils or religious services; proselytizing or preaching; distributing literature or other materials, or engaging in similar conduct that involves the communication or expression of views or grievances; soliciting sales or donations; or engaging in any commercial activity; unless specifically authorized in writing by administration;

2. Obstructing the clear passage, entry, or exit of law enforcement and emergency vehicles and personnel, Courthouse personnel, and other persons having business with the courts through Courthouse parking areas, entrances, and roadways to and from Courthouse and Courthouse grounds; ?

3. Erecting structures or other facilities, whether for a single proceeding or intended to remain in place until the conclusion of a matter; or placing tents, chairs, tables, or similar items on Courthouse grounds; except as specifically authorized in writing by administration; and ?

4. Using sound amplification equipment in a manner that harasses or interferes with persons entering or leaving Courthouse grounds or persons waiting in line to enter the Courthouse. ?

(Id. at 1–2 (formatting in original).) The Court will refer to the Plaza Order’s numbered paragraphs by their number, e.g., “Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order” (referring to the forms of prohibited expressive activity). In their amended complaint, Plaintiffs allege that the Plaza Order was “apparently” entered in response to Brandt’s and Iannicelli’s actions. (ECF No. 13-1 ¶ 2.)

The “attached map” referenced in the Plaza Order is reproduced on the following page:

(Id. at 3.) This map shows an aerial view of the Courthouse. The top of the map is north. The Courthouse itself is the irregularly shaped, white-roofed building occupying the left half of the map. Immediately to the left (west) of the Courthouse is Fox Street. Immediately to the north is Colfax Avenue. Immediately to the right (east) of the Courthouse grounds is Elati Street, which is closed to traffic other than police vehicles as it runs past the Courthouse. Elati bisects a circular area paved in a tan color. Just to the right (east) of Elati, and not depicted in the map, is Denver’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center (“Detention Center”), which houses pretrial detainees. Thus, the area between the Courthouse and Detention Center is a fairly spacious place suitable for public gatherings.

Immediately to the east and west of the Courthouse are areas that the Second Judicial District highlighted in yellow to indicate where expressive activity is restricted (“Restricted Area”). This matter principally concerns the arc-shaped portion of the Restricted Area to the east of the Courthouse (“East Restricted Area”). The East Restricted Area comprises the following:

• planter boxes and public art (collectively, “Landscaping”); ?

• sidewalks, including a narrow sidewalk beginning at the north of the map ?(just below the blue bus stop icon) and following the arc of the planter boxes until it reaches a much wider sidewalk that completes the arc, which itself connects with the awning-covered steps leading to the Courthouse front doors depicted in approximately the center of the map (collectively, “Sidewalks”); and ?

• a gravel passive security feature between the narrow sidewalk and the Courthouse itself (“Gravel Area”). ?

C. Evidence Received at the Preliminary Injunction Hearing

1. Commander Lopez

?Plaintiffs called as a witness Commander Antonio Lopez of the Denver Police Department. Lopez oversees the Denver Police district that encompasses the Courthouse and the Detention Center. Lopez testified that the Courthouse opened in 2010 or 2011. During that time, he has seen “more protests [in the area between the Courthouse and the Detention Center] than [he can] recall. At one point w e were averaging about two or three a week, in that area.” On cross-examination, Lopez clarified that most of those protests were nearer to the Detention Center than the Courthouse. Nonetheless, to Lopez’s knowledge, the Denver Police Department has never restricted or interfered with any peaceful First Amendment activity taking place between the Courthouse and the Detention Center.

2. Mr. Steadman

The Second Judicial District called Steven Steadman, who is the Colorado judicial branch’s security administrator. Steadman was closely involved in the discussions leading up to the Plaza Order. Steadman testified that, during those discussions, he was unaware of Brandt and Iannicelli or the distribution of jury nullification literature, and that the Plaza Order actually arose from very different concerns.

According to Steadman, discussions began with Chief Judge Martinez in early July 2015 because the Dexter Lewis trial was scheduled to overlap with another death penalty trial in Arapahoe County, i.e., the trial of Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. Steadman and Chief Judge Martinez specifically worried about potentially violent protests that might break out if Lewis (who is black) eventually received the death penalty but Holmes (who is white) did not. Proactively seeking to avoid such a problem, Steadman gave Chief Judge Martinez a copy of an order entered by the Hon. Carlos A. Samour, Jr., who presided over the Holmes trial in Arapahoe County. Judge Samour’s order apparently was a model for what the Second Judicial District eventually issued as the Plaza Order.

On cross-examination, Steadman confirmed that the Plaza Order was intended specifically to address the protests that might erupt if Holmes and Lewis were treated differently with respect to the death penalty. Steadman admitted, however, that his office could require several hours’ notice between the announcement that the jury had reached a verdict and the actual reading of the verdict, which would permit a police presence to assemble in anticipation of protests. Steadman also admitted that nothing like the Plaza Order had been in place or enforced prior to August 14, 2015, and that passing out jury nullification literature did not present any security risk beyond what the Second Judicial District has tolerated, without incident, since the Courthouse opened.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Article III Standing

As mentioned previously, Denver has stipulated with Plaintiffs that it will not enforce any prohibition on distributing jury nullification literature on the Courthouse Plaza. Specifically, Denver has stipulated that

Plaintiffs who wish to engage in peacefully passing out jury nullification literature to passersby on the Plaza are entitled to do so and that Denver, through its police or sheriff department, will not arrest or otherwise charge Plaintiffs for handing out literature regarding jury nullification so long as Plaintiffs do not violate Colorado law or Denver’s Revised Municipal Code when they are handing out their literature. The parties stipulate that Plaintiffs’ proposed intent of peacefully handing out jury nullification literature to or discussing jury nullification with passersby at the Plaza, without more, does not violate Colorado law. . .

***

. . . Denver stipulates that it does not intend to enforce the [Plaza] Order as written and will only impose content and viewpoint neutral reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on the use of the Plaza, and/or other exterior areas surrounding the Plaza if Denver determines that a compelling need exists to do so.

(ECF No. 23 ¶¶ 2, 4.)

?Given this stipulation, the Second Judicial District argues that Plaintiffs lack Article III standing to bring this lawsuit because no threat of enforcement is imminent. (ECF No. 24 at 6–8.) See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992) (“the irreducible constitutional minimum of standing” includes, among other things, an “actual or imminent” “invasion of a legally protected interest”); Dias v. City & Cnty. of Denver, 567 F.3d 1169, 1176 (10th Cir. 2009) (to obtain prospective relief, a plaintiff must show a “credible threat of future prosecution”). As stated at the preliminary injunction hearing, however, the Court rejects this contention.

The Second Judicial District’s standing argument assumes that the only way an individual could run afoul of the Plaza Order is through Denver’s independent enforcement efforts. But Chief Judge Martinez, and perhaps any other judge in the Second Judicial District, could issue a contempt citation for violating the Plaza Order. Cf. Schmidter v. State, 103 So. 3d 263, 265–69 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012) (distributor of FIJA literature convicted of contempt for violating an administrative order similar to the Plaza Order). The violator would then be required to appear before the issuing judge, and if he or she fails to appear, an arrest warrant can issue. See Colo. R. Civ. P. 107(c). Denver may then be obligated to arrest the violator —not on the authority of the Plaza Order, but on the authority of the judge’s contempt citation. See id. (requiring the sheriff to carry out the arrest). The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that Colorado state law enforcement officers, not subject to Denver’s stipulation, could also effect the arrest of such a hypothetical violator.

Thus, the Court finds that Article III standing still exists, and the Court will move on to the elements Plaintiffs must establish to secure a preliminary injunction. To repeat, those elements are: (1) likelihood of success on the merits; (2) irreparable injury if the injunction is denied; (3) the threatened injury outweighs the injury the opposing party will suffer under the injunction; and (4) the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. Westar Energy, 552 F.3d at 1224.

?B. Likelihood of Success

Evaluating the likelihood of success requires evaluating the substantive merit of Plaintiffs’ claim that the First Amendment grants them a right to discuss and distribute pamphlets about jury nullification with individuals entering and leaving the Courthouse. To answer this question, the Supreme Court prescribes the following analysis:

1. Is the expression at issue protected by the First Amendment? ?

2. If so, is the location at issue a traditional public forum, a designated public ?forum, or a nonpublic forum? ?

3. If the location is a traditional or designated public forum, is the ?government’s speech restriction narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest? ?

?4. If the location is a nonpublic forum, is the government’s speech restriction reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum, and viewpoint neutral?

See Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Def. & Educ. Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788, 797–806 (1985). The Court will address these inquiries in turn.

1. Does the First Amendment Protect Plaintiffs’ Pamphlets and Oral Advocacy of the Message Contained in the Pamphlets?

The Court “must first decide whether [the speech at issue] is speech protected by the First Amendment, for, if it is not, we need go no further.” Id. at 797. There appears to be no contest on this point. The Second Judicial District has raised no argument that any part of the message conveyed by the pamphlets is unprotected by the First Amendment. Accordingly, the Court deems it conceded for preliminary injunction purposes that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the question of whether the First Amendment protects their message.

2. Is the Courthouse Plaza a Public Forum?

The Court must next decide whether the Courthouse Plaza—and the Restricted Area specifically—is a public or nonpublic forum:

. . . the extent to which the Government can control access [to government property for expressive purposes] depends on the nature of the relevant forum. Because a principal purpose of traditional public fora is the free exchange of ideas, speakers can be excluded from a public forum only when the exclusion is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and the exclusion is narrowly drawn to achieve that interest. Similarly, when the Government has intentionally designated a place or means of communication as a public forum speakers cannot be excluded without a compelling governmental interest. Access to a nonpublic forum, however, can be restricted as long as the restrictions are reasonable and are not an effort to suppress expression merely because public officials oppose the speaker’s view.

Id. at 800 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted; alterations incorporated).

?The public/nonpublic inquiry presents a unique dilemma in this case. On the one hand, Denver’s stipulation with Plaintiffs includes the following: “The Lindsey-Flanigan plaza . . . which is located between the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center and the Lindsey-Flanigan courthouse is a public forum and any content-based regulations must be narrowly drawn to effectuate a compelling state interest . . . .” (ECF No. 23 ¶ 1 (emphasis added).) On the other hand, the Second Judicial District strong ly disagrees:

. . . Plaintiffs assert that the courthouse plaza is a traditional public forum, and therefore maintain that Chief Judge Martinez’s administrative order must be strictly scrutinized. As a matter of state law, however, Chief Judge Martinez— and not Denver—is responsible for the oversight of the courthouse and the adjoining grounds. Thus, any concession on this point by Denver binds neither the parties nor this Court.

(ECF No. 24 at 8.) Apparently a minor turf war has erupted between Denver and the Second Judicial District over control of the Courthouse grounds.

When asked at the preliminary injunction hearing regarding the “state law” that gives Chief Judge Martinez “responsib[ility] for the oversight of the courthouse and the adjoining grounds,” counsel for the Second Judicial District directed the Court to Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-3-108(1). That subsection reads: “The board of county commissioners in each county shall continue to have the responsibility of providing and maintaining adequate courtrooms and other court facilities including janitorial service, except as otherwise provided in this section.” Neither this language, nor anything else in § 13-3-108, appears to relate to a chief judge’s authority over courthouse policies or courthouse grounds.

?Counsel for the Second Judicial District also pointed this Court to State ex rel. Norton v. Board of County Commissioners of Mesa County, 897 P.2d 788 (Colo. 1995) (“Mesa County”). In Mesa County, the county commissioners defied an order from the Twenty-First Judicial District’s chief judge requiring additional security measures at the county courthouse. See Mesa County, 897 P.2d at 789. The county commissioners further announced their intent to stop providing support of any kind to the Twenty-First Judicial District, arguably in violation of § 13-3-108(1) (quoted above), Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-1-114(2) (requiring county sheriffs to assist the judiciary when the judiciary perceives a “risk of violence in the court”), and Colorado Revised Statutes § 30-11-104(1) (requiring each county to “provide a suitable courthouse”). See id. The county commissioners believed that Colorado’s constitutional Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights allowed the county to disregard the foregoing statutes because they created an impermissible “subsidy” to the court system. Id. at 789–90. The Colorado Supreme Court rejected the county commissioners’ position and held that counties’ statutory duties toward the court system are not “subsidies” under the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. Id. at 791.

The Mesa County decision highlights the relationship between counties and the state courts that sit within them. It emphasizes county sheriffs’ duties to assist judges in preventing “violence in the court.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-1-114(2). It does not support the Second Judicial District’s notion that it controls and can speak for the status of the Courthouse grounds.

Finally, counsel for the Second Judicial District cited this Court to In re Court Facilities for Routt County, 107 P.3d 981 (Colo. App. 2004) (“Routt County”). Routt County held that, under certain circumstances, a state judicial district’s chief judge has inherent authority to order the board of county commissioners to design and pay for a new courthouse. Id. at 984. Quoting Peña v. District Court, 681 P.2d 953, 956 (Colo. 1984), Routt County relied on the notion that “courts necessarily possess certain inherent powers, which . . . consist of ‘all powers reasonably required to enable a court to perform efficiently its judicial functions, to protect its dignity, independence, and integrity, and to make its lawful actions effective.’” Routt County, 107 P.3d at 984.

Both Routt County and Peña specifically address the Colorado judiciary’s inherent authority to order another state or municipal entity to spend money on the judiciary’s behalf. That power is not at issue here. Nonetheless, the inherent authority described in Routt County and Peña could conceivably also extend to entering orders such as the Plaza Order. The ultimate question, however, is whether Denver or the Second Judicial District speaks for the First Amendment status of the Courthouse Plaza. For at least three reasons, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail against the Second Judicial District on that question.

First, counsel for the Second Judicial District agrees that Denver owns the Courthouse itself and all of its grounds.

Second, counsel for the Second Judicial District further stated that there was no lease agreement of which he was aware between Denver and the Second Judicial District. Rather, the Second Judicial District occupies the Courthouse “as provided by law.”

?Third, it is undisputed that the Second Judicial District is not the Courthouse’s sole occupant. Denver County Court also sits in the Courthouse. Denver County Court is unique among county courts in Colorado because the Colorado Constitution grants Denver the authority to set the “number, manner of selection, qualifications, term of office, tenure, and removal of [its] judges.” Colo. Const. art. VI, § 26. Moreover, a Chief Justice Directive from the chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court states that “[t]he chief judge of the Second Judicial District shall not have administrative authority over the Denver County Court.” CJD 95-01, Preamble (amended Aug. 17, 2012), available at https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/Directives/95-01amended8-17-12.pdf. Thus, there are two distinct judicial bodies operating in the Courthouse, and the Second Judicial District apparently cannot speak for both.

For all these reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail in their contention that Denver controls and speaks for the Courthouse Plaza. 4 Because Denver has stipulated that the Courthouse Plaza is a public forum, Plaintiffs are likewise likely to prevail in their claim that the Courthouse Plaza is at least a designated public forum, if not a traditional public forum. See Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 800. 5

Moreover, the Court notes that the Second Judicial District has not specif ically argued for a finding that the Courthouse Plaza is a nonpublic forum. Rather, it says that “resolving [the type of forum at issue] is not necessary for the purposes of this proceeding because [the Plaza Order] would satisfy even the strictest test.” (ECF No. 24 at 9.) Thus, the Court turns to the question of whether the Plaza Order can survive a strict scrutiny analysis. 6

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4 Ultimately, a Colorado state court may need to resolve this question. See, e.g., CJD 95-01 ¶ 15 (“Any disputes arising from the exercise of the authority described in this directive shall be resolved by the Chief Justice.”). In this posture, however, the Court need only conclude that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed.

5 If the Courthouse Plaza is indeed a public forum, it would be unique in that respect. The parties have not cited, nor could the Court find, a single case in which courthouse grounds were deemed a public forum. Cf. Huminski v. Corsones, 396 F.3d 53, 90–91 (2d Cir. 2005) (courthouse grounds not a public forum); Sammartano v. First Judicial Dist. Court, 303 F.3d 959, 966 (9th Cir. 2002) (same), abrogated on other grounds by Winter v. NRDC, 555 U.S. 7 (2008); Comfort v. MacLaughlin, 473 F. Supp. 2d 1026, 1028 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (same); Schmidter, 103 So. 3d at 270 (same).

6 The ensuing analysis assumes, of course, that the Second Judicial District may attempt to enforce the Plaza Order through its own contempt power. If such power did not exist, there would likely be no reason to scrutinize the Plaza Order under any constitutional standard given Denver’s control over the Plaza and its stipulation not to interfere with Plaintiffs’ intended activities. (See Part III.A, supra.)
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3. Is the Plaza Order Narrowly Tailored to Serve a Significant Government Interest, and Does it Leave Open Ample Alternative Means of Communication?

“In [a] quintessential public forum[], the government may not prohibit all communicative activity.” Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1983); see also id. at 46 (holding that the government may un-designate a designated public forum, but until it does so, “it is bound by the same standards as apply in a traditional public forum”). The state may, however, “enforce regulations of the time, place, and manner of expression which [1] are content-neutral, [2] are narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and [3] leave open ample alternative channels of communication.” Id. The Court will address each element in turn as it applies to the Plaza Order.

a. “Content-Neutral”?

The Plaza Order applies “without regard to the content of any particular message, idea, or form of speech.” (ECF No. 25-1 at 1.) On its face, then, it appears content-neutral. Plaintiffs have not argued otherwise.

b. “Narrowly Tailored to Serve a Significant Government Interest”

The Plaza Order itself asserts several interests:

. . . to minimize activities which unreasonably disrupt, interrupt, or interfere with the orderly and peaceful conduct of court business in a neutral forum free of actual or perceived partiality, bias, prejudice, or favoritism; to provide for the fair and orderly conduct of hearings and trials; to promote the free flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on sidewalks and streets; and to maintain proper judicial decorum . . . .

(Id.) However, in response to Plaintiffs’ Motion, the Second Judicial District has only defended the Plaza Order on the bases of preserving “the efficient functioning of the court” (e.g., unhindered ingress and egress to the Courthouse) and “maintain[ing] public safety.” (ECF No. 24 at 12.)

These are potentially “significant” government interests. Legitimate time-place- manner restrictions in a public forum can be motivated by “objectives [such as] public safety, accommodating competing uses of the easement, controlling the level and times of noise, and similar interests.” First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City v. Salt Lake City Corp., 308 F.3d 1114, 1132 (10th Cir. 2002). But the Court finds on this record that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in proving that the Plaza Order is not narrowly tailored to these stated objectives. Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order bans essentially all expressive activity regardless of whether it would affect “the efficient functioning of the court” or threaten “public safety.” Courts look dimly on such “First Amendment Free Zones.” See Bd. of Airport Comm’rs of City of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc., 482 U.S. 569, 574 (1987); First Unitarian, 308 F.3d at 1132.

Moreover, in the Second Judicial District’s briefing (see ECF No. 24 at 12) and at the preliminary injunction hearing, it became clear that the sole motivating concern behind the Plaza Order was potentially violent protests that could follow if Dexter Lewis receives the death penalty. Steadman, the Second Judicial District’s witness, agreed that other measures could address that concern, e.g., he could arrange for additional security well in advance of any verdict announcement. He also agreed that Plaintiffs’ activities posed no greater threat to the Courthouse than it has faced in the last five years, when expressive activities have been unrestricted. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiffs will likely demonstrate that at least Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order is not narrowly tailored to serve the interests of maintaining public safety and the efficient functioning of the court.

c. “Leave Open Ample Alternative Channels of Communication”

Given the foregoing finding, inquiry into the alternative channels of communication is unnecessary. 7 The Court accordingly holds that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in defeating at least Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order under the strict scrutiny test applied to public forums.

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7 The Court nonetheless notes Plaintiffs’ argument at the preliminary injunction hearing that their advocacy requires person-to-person contact because the concept of jury nullification is obscure and does not lend itself well to pithy slogans that can easily be chanted or placed on a placard (and therefore understood from a distance). Plaintiffs’ counsel could not cite this Court to any authority holding that those wishing to advocate complicated or lesser understood concepts receive more solicitude than others when it comes to available channels of communication. To the contrary, the case law suggests that the government can more easily restrict person-to-person interaction because of its potential for harassment. See, e.g., Madsen v. Women’s Health Ctr., Inc., 512 U.S. 753, 773–74 (1994). The Court need not resolve the issue at this time, but only raises it as a matter of potential concern as this case progresses.
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?C. Irreparable Injury

“[T]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Heideman v. S. Salt Lake City, 348 F.3d 1182, 1190 (10th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover, the Second Judicial District offers no response to Plaintiffs’ irreparable injury argument. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiffs will be irreparably injured absent a preliminary injunction.
?
D. Balancing of Interests

The injury to a plaintiff deprived of his or her First Amendment rights almost always outweighs potential harm to the government if the injunction is granted. See Awad v. Ziriax, 670 F.3d 1111, 1131 (10th Cir. 2012); ACLU v. Johnson, 194 F.3d 1149, 1163 (10th Cir. 1999). And again, the Second Judicial District offers no response to Plaintiffs’ argument that the balance of interests tips in their favor. Accordingly, the Court finds that the balance indeed tips in Plaintiffs’ favor, although the Court will issue the narrowest injunction possible so that the Second Judicial District is not unduly restrained in its ability to maintain safety and proper judicial functioning. (See Part III.F, infra.)?

E. Public Interest

Finally, as with irreparable injury and balancing of interests, it is almost always in the public interest to prevent a First Amendment violation. See Awad, 670 F.3d at 1132; Johnson, 194 F.3d at 1163. The Second Judicial District does not argue otherwise. The Court therefore finds that a narrowly drawn injunction would be in the public interest.

?F. Scope of Injunctive Relief

The Court will enter a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiffs. However, the Court will not grant an injunction as broad as Plaintiffs’ counsel requested at the preliminary injunction hearing. Plaintiffs’ counsel requested an injunction stating that their message and form of advocacy is protected speech, supposedly to protect against any other government agency that might try to silence them. But the Court cannot say (on this record at least) that Plaintiffs’ message and form of advocacy is always protected speech under all circumstances. In addition, an injunction must run against a party—this Court cannot enter an injunction against the world at large. See, e.g., Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(2) (describing persons bound by an injunction). If Plaintiffs believe that a particular government agency is likely to attempt to silence them, they need to join that agency as a party and satisfy the preliminary injunction as against that agency. 8

Further, although Plaintiffs apparently seek to strike down the entire Plaza Order as unconstitutional, the Court will limit its injunction only to certain portions of the Plaza Order. As counsel for the Second Judicial District pointed out at the preliminary injunction hearing, the Plaza Order applies both inside and outside the Courthouse, but Plaintiffs have only challenged its restrictions outside the Courthouse. Accordingly, the Court will not disturb the Plaza Order as it operates inside the Courthouse.

In addition, the Court notes the Landscaping and Gravel Area in the East Restricted Area. Although no party discussed the scope of a potential injunction in these specific areas, the Court assumes for present purposes that Denver did not intend its public forum stipulation to authorize Plaintiffs to tramp through the Landscaping or the Gravel Area, both of which are ultimately designed for the Courthouse’s security. The Court therefore will not enjoin the operation of the Plaza Order as it applies to the Landscaping and Gravel Area.

The Court also notes that Plaintiffs have specifically alleged their intent to distribute and discuss the two pamphlets attached to their original complaint, “Fresh Air for Justice” (ECF No. 1-3) and “Your Jury Rights: True or False?” (ECF No. 1-4). At the preliminary injunction hearing, counsel for Plaintiffs reemphasized that these two pamphlets form the basis of what they wish to discuss. The Court will therefore limit its injunction to distribution of those specific pamphlets and oral advocacy of the message contained in those pamphlets.

Finally, only Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order is truly at issue here. Plaintiffs have not challenged the Second Judicial District’s authority to prevent obstruction of the entryways (Paragraph 2), to prohibit the erection of structures (Paragraph 3), or to restrict sound amplification equipment (Paragraph 4). Thus, the Court will limit the injunction to Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order. 9

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8 Plaintiffs’ counsel expressed some concern that the Denver District Attorney’s office had been involved in the arrest of Brandt and Iannicelli and that the DA’s office might continue to pursue similar prosecutions. But Plaintiffs have not joined the DA’s office as a party, and in any event, in light of Denver’s stipulation with Plaintiffs, it is questionable whether the Denver Police Department would execute any arrest warrant based on Plaintiffs’ activities.

9 A party awarded a preliminary injunction normally must “give[] security in an amount that the court considers proper to pay the costs and damages sustained by any party found to have been wrongfully enjoined or restrained.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(c). The Tenth Circuit has held that “a trial court may, in the exercise of discretion, determine a bond is unnecessary to secure a preliminary injunction if there is an absence of proof showing a likelihood of harm.” Coquina Oil Corp. v. Transwestern Pipeline Co., 825 F.2d 1461, 1462 (10th Cir. 1987) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Second Judicial District has not put forth any evidence of a likelihood of harm, nor has it argued that Plaintiffs should be required to post a bond. Having considered the issue sua sponte, the Court determines that a bond is unnecessary in light of the lack of likely harm to the Second Judicial District, and in light of the nature of the case. Cf. 11A Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice & Procedure § 2954 n.29 (3d ed., Apr. 2015 update) (citing public rights cases where the bond was excused or significantly reduced).
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IV. CONCLUSION

For the reasons set forth above, the Court ORDERS as follows:

1. Plaintiffs’ and Denver’s Stipulation (ECF No. 23) is ACCEPTED and shall be treated as if an order from this Court; ?

2. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 2) is GRANTED; and ?

3. The City and County of Denver, its police chief, Robert C. White, in his official capacity, and the Second Judicial District (including their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and other persons who are in active concert or participation with any of them) (collectively, “Defendants”) are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED as follows (all capitalized terms bear the respective meanings assigned above): ?

a. Save for any Plaintiff physically located on the Landscaping or Gravel Area, Defendants shall not enforce Paragraph 1 of the Plaza Order against any Plaintiff (including any FIJA member) physically located in the Restricted Area to the extent he or she is otherwise lawfully seeking to distribute and/or orally advocate the message contained in the pamphlets titled “Fresh Air for Justice” and/or “Your Jury Rights: True or False?”

b. To the extent consistent with the foregoing prohibition, Defendants remain free to enforce Paragraphs 2–4 of the Plaza Order.

Dated this 25th day of August, 2015.

BY THE COURT:

William J. Martínez?
United States District Judge

Pro-immigrant activists with Occupy Denver file suit against DIA and DPD, challenge airport free speech “permit”


DENVER, COLORADO- Civil liberties champion David Lane has filed a complaint in US district court challenging Denver’s office of the city attorney for instituting a permit process at DIA to prevent public protest. Holding signs has become impermissible at the airport, without the issuance of a permit seven days in advnace, although police are not bothering themselves about signs welcoming homecomers or seeking to connect business visitors with their limo service. That selective enforcement is unconstitutional of course, and the lawfirm powerhouse of Kilmer Lane & Newman is filing suit on behalf of two Occupy Denver plaintiffs. last Sunday, January 29, both were threatened with arrest by DIA police. While two earlier attempts to assemble had capitulated to DPD intimidation, the Occupy Denver activists stood their ground. Why did you file your lawsuit? “We know our rights. We want the POLICE to know our rights.”

1. Full text of complaint:

Case 1:17-cv-00332 Document 1
Filed 02/06/17 USDC Colorado Page 1 of 14

Civil Action No.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO

NAZLI MCDONNELL,
ERIC VERLO,

Plaintiffs, vs.

CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER,?
DENVER POLICE COMMANDER ANTONIO LOPEZ, in his individual and official capacity,
DENVER POLICE SERGEANT VIRGINIA QUINONES, in her individual and official capacity,

Defendants.

______________________________________________________________________________

COMPLAINT

______________________________________________________________________________

Plaintiffs, by and through their attorneys David A. Lane and Andy McNulty of KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP, allege as follows:

INTRODUCTION

1. Plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Nazli McDonnell challenge a regulation of alarming breadth that bans all First Amendment expression at Denver International Airport without a permit.

2. Plaintiffs are concerned citizens who believe that President Donald Trump has overstepped his executive authority by signing the January 27, 2017, Executive Order (hereinafter “Muslim Ban”), which permanently bans Syrian refugees from emigrating to the United States, temporarily bans nationals of seven countries (including permanent legal residents and visa-holders), and suspends all applications to the United States refugee program (even as to vetted entrants currently in transit).

3. Plaintiffs wish to express their disgust with President Trump’s (likely unconstitutional) Muslim Ban. They wish to do so in the same place that hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country have done: standing directly outside of the secure Customs and Border Protection (hereinafter “CBP”) screening area within an airport where immigrants to America enter into the main terminal after clearing customs. Plaintiffs, unlike many citizens across this great nation who have exercised their opposition to the Muslim Ban in airports by chanting, singing, dancing, and praying, simply wish to stand in silent protest, holding signs that express their solidarity with immigrants and the Muslim community.

4. Plaintiffs are banned from doing so by DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50 (hereinafter “Regulation 50”).

5. Regulation 50 states: “No person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO or his or her designee.” DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.03. In order to obtain a permit, an individual must “complete a permit application and submit it during regular business hours, at least seven (7) days prior to the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought[.]” DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.04-1.

6. Plaintiffs ask that this Court enjoin the enforcement of Regulation 50 and prohibit Defendants from arresting them for their First Amendment-protected activity of standing in peaceful protest within Jeppesen Terminal. Regulation 50 is overbroad in violation of the First Amendment and vague in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

7. This is a civil rights action for declaratory and injunctive relief as well as fees and costs arising under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988 and 28 U.S.C. Section 2201 et seq. due to Defendants’ current and imminent violations of Plaintiffs’ rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

PARTIES

8. Plaintiff Eric Verlo is a citizen of the United States of America. Mr. Verlo wishes to show his resistance to President Trump’s Muslim Ban, so that others will be inspired to join in the resistance.

9. Plaintiff Nazli McDonnell is a citizen of the United States of America. Ms. McDonnell wishes to show her resistance to President Trump’s Muslim Ban, so that others will be inspired to join in the resistance.

10. Defendant City and County of Denver is a municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado. Thus, it is an entity subject to the provisions of § 1983.

11. Defendant Antonio Lopez is a Commander with the Denver Police Department. Commander Lopez is responsible for security at Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal.

12. Defendant Virginia Quinones is a Sergeant with the Denver Police Department. Sergeant Quinones is responsible for security at Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

13. Plaintiffs bring this claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, incorporated as against States and their municipal divisions through the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

14. This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 over Plaintiffs’ claims that “arise[] under the Constitution of the United States.”

FACTS

15. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order, which permanently banned Syrian refugees from emigrating to the United States, temporarily banned nationals of seven countries (including permanent legal residents and visa-holders), and suspended all applications to the United States refugee program (even as to vetted entrants currently in transit). President Trump’s Executive Order has been subsequently referred to as a “Muslim Ban,” because it both mirrors President Trump’s racist, anti-Islam statements made on December 7, 2015, that he was planning to ban all Muslims from entering the United States until our representatives can “figure out what’s going on” and the ban targets countries whose population is predominantly Muslim and seemingly bears little rational relation to each country’s security threat to the United States.

16. Immediately upon the enactment of President Trump’s Muslim Ban there was an outpouring of outrage from a large proportion of the American population and across the spectrum of political affiliation. This outrage led to resistance in the form of protests.

17. On January 28, 2017, and January 29, 2017, protests erupted in nearly every major city in the United States. The protests organically formed in our nation’s airports. Protesters chose to express their disgust with President Trump’s Muslim Ban in airports (and specifically outside of the secure CBP screening area) because individuals affected by the ban who were in transit to the United States were being held and questioned by CBP agents there. Many of these travelers, including lawful United States residents, were forced to sign documents revoking their lawful status within the United States and deported. Still others were simply deported with no explanation. Others still were held for hours as teams of lawyers rushed to prepare habeas petitions for their release.

18. News reports about the protests make clear that they have been peaceful and non- disruptive despite the gathering of, in some cases, thousands of people.

19. Airport staff have told protesters, and would-be protesters, at numerous airports across the nation, including Kansas City International Airport, that there are no restrictions on their speech and that all protesters who wish to participate in actions against the Muslim Ban are allowed. Protests have continued in other cities to this day.

20. On January 28, 2017, there was one such protest at Denver International Airport, within the Jeppesen Terminal. At approximately 5:00 p.m. hundreds gathered in the Jeppesen Terminal’s atrium, near arrivals, to protest and many others gathered to bear witness.

21. Prior to the protest, leaders had applied for a permit. It was denied. The reason for its denial was that the permit was not requested with seven days advance notice of the protest occurring. Regulation 50 requires seven days advance notice.

22. The January 28, 2017, protest began with speeches, chants, songs, and prayers. It was a peaceful gathering of solidarity for immigrants and Muslims. Every person at the January 28, 2017, protest was contained in an area of the Jeppesen Terminal atrium that is designed as a gathering space for people to sit, relax, and converse. No one was standing in the walkways or passageways of the terminal.

23. Soon after the January 28, 2017, protest began, members of the Denver Police Department arrived on-scene. Commander Antonio Lopez engaged the leader of the protest, Amal Kassir, along with State Representative Joe Salazar and representatives from the ACLU of Colorado, and informed them that the protest was unlawful. Commander Lopez told Ms. Kassir that anything that “could be construed as Free Speech” was prohibited at the Denver International Airport, including within the Jeppesen Terminal, without a permit. See Exhibit 1, January 28, 2017 Video.

24. Commander Lopez also stated that all “First Amendment expression” was prohibited at the Denver International Airport, including within the Jeppesen Terminal, without a permit on Regulation 50. Commander Lopez handed Regulation 50 to multiple protesters, including Ms. Kassir. See Exhibit 2, January 28, 2017 Video 2.

25. Regulation 50 states (in pertinent part): “No person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO or his or her designee.” DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.03. In order to obtain a permit, an individual must “complete a permit application and submit it during regular business hours, at least seven (7) days prior to the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought[.]” DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.04-1.

26. Commander Lopez, along with members of Denver International Security, told Ms. Kassir that every portion of Denver International Airport property, which has an approximately fifty square mile footprint, is off-limits for First Amendment expression. They suggested that Ms. Kassir move her protest to Tower Road, which is approximately six miles from the Jeppesen Terminal and, like most of the land surrounding Denver International Airport, adjacent to open prairie land with no inhabitants.

27. Commander Lopez threatened Ms. Kassir and numerous other demonstrators with arrest if they didn’t immediately cease any “First Amendment expression.” According to Commander Lopez’s directives, the individuals gathered in the Jeppesen Terminal could not stand holding signs, sing, speak to others about matters of public concern, hold the United States Constitution above their shoulders, or stand silently with their arms interlocked.

28. Ultimately, to avoid arrest, Ms. Kassir and the demonstrators moved outside of the Jeppesen Terminal to the large area on its south side, adjacent to the escalators leading to the commuter rail and under the Westin Hotel. The protest continued peacefully for a little while longer, then disbursed without issue.

29. The next day, January 29, 2017, Plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Nazli McDonnell traveled to Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal to express their opposition to President Trump’s Muslim Ban.

30. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell brought with them signs expressing support for immigrants and expressing concern that history was repeating itself with disastrous potential consequences.

31. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell positioned themselves adjacent to the secure CBP screening area within the Jeppesen Terminal at approximately 1:15 p.m.

32. Adjacent the secure CBP screening area at the Jeppesen Terminal is the only place where Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell can reach their intended audience. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell wish to communicate with those who could be swayed by their message and, particularly, with immigrants. International travelers are often immigrants and/or lawful United States residents, including green card and other visa holders, other than citizens. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell wish to express their solidarity with immigrants directly to these individuals. Further, United States citizens who arrive from international locations are also individuals with whom Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell wish to communicate. International travelers have experienced other cultures and are likely to be sympathetic to Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonell’s message.

33. The secure CBP screening area is also the location where the Muslim Ban has been enforced by DHS, both at Denver International Airport and across the nation. Neither Plaintiff attempted to enter any restricted areas of Denver International Airport.

34. While silently displaying their signs, Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell were in the open plaza near the secure CBP screening area within the Jeppesen Terminal and positioned significantly behind the railing, which demarcates where those waiting for loved ones are permitted to stand. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell did not impede the right of way of any passengers hustling to catch flights at the last moment. They simply stood with placards showing their distaste for the Executive Order and the man who executed it.

35. Mr. Verlo and Mr. McDonnell also observed another man in the terminal, named Gene Wells, who was expressing views similar to theirs.

36. Mr. Wells was wearing a sign taped to the back of his shirt.

37. Mr. Wells left the Jeppesen Terminal, but subsequently returned to protest. When he did, he was stopped by Denver Police Department officers who told him that he could not walk around the terminal with the slogan he had affixed to his back. Mr. Wells eventually rejoined Mr. Verlo and Mr. McDonnell at the international arrivals doors, but not without trepidation. He feared he might be arrested.

38. While Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell were displaying their signs, Defendant Sergeant Virginia Quinones approached Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell and threatened them with arrest if they did not leave Jeppesen Terminal. See Exhibit 3, January 29, 2017, Video.

39. Sergeant Quinones handed Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell Regulation 50 and cited it as the reason they would be arrested if they did not leave Jeppesen Terminal. Id. Sergeant Quinones told Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell that they would need a permit in order to stand silently, holding signs in opposition of the Muslim Ban and be in compliance with Regulation 50.

40. Had Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell applied for a permit the second President Trump signed the Executive Order implementing the Muslim Ban, they still would have been unable to engage in protest within the Jeppesen Terminal under the terms and conditions of Regulation 50 on January 29, 2017.

41. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell did not immediately leave the Jeppesen Terminal after being threatened with arrest. However, they were startled by Sergeant Quiones’ threat and feared arrest for the duration of the time they were there.

42. Throughout the time Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell were expressing their views within the Jeppesen Terminal they received numerous shows of support from passersby. Multiple self- proclaimed Muslims expressed heart-felt statements of appreciation to Mr. Verlo, Ms. McDonnell, and others holding signs.

43. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell ultimately left Jeppesen Terminal.

44. Mr. Verlo and Ms. McDonnell wish to return to Jeppesen Terminal to express solidarity with Muslims and opposition to the Muslim Ban, but are reticent to do so for fear of being arrested.

45. Upon information and belief, no individual has been arrested, or threatened with arrest, for wearing a “Make America Great Again” campaign hat without a permit within the Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport.

46. Upon information and belief, no individual has been arrested, or threatened with arrest, for holding a sign welcoming home a member of our military without a permit within the Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport.

47. Upon information and belief, no individual has been arrested, or threatened with arrest, for holding a sign and soliciting passengers for a limousine without a permit within the Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport.

48. Upon information and belief, no individual has been arrested, or threatened with arrest, for discussing current affairs with another person without a permit within the Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport.

49. At all times relevant to this Complaint, Defendants acted under color of law.

CLAIM I: FIRST AMENDMENT
(§ 1983 violation – all Defendants)

50. Plaintiffs repeat, re-allege, and incorporate by reference the allegations in the foregoing paragraphs of this Complaint as fully set forth herein.

51. Regulation 50 violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, on its face and as applied, because it impermissibly curtails Plaintiffs’ free-speech rights.

52. Plaintiffs wish to speak on a matter of public concern. 11

53. Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal is a public forum.

54. Regulation 50 directly infringes upon and chills reasonable persons from engaging in activity that is protected by the First Amendment.

55. Regulation 50 acts as an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech because it (1) requires a permit before allowing individuals to engage in speech, (2) allows for arbitrary and/or discriminatory permit denials, and (3) requires advance notice that is unconstitutionally excessive.

56. Regulation 50 is overbroad.?

57. Regulation 50 is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.?

58. Regulation 50 does not further a substantial government interest.?

59. Regulation 50’s restriction on expressive conduct is greater than necessary to further any
government interest.?

60. Defendants’ actions and/or omissions enforcing Regulation 50 caused, directly or
proximately, Plaintiffs to suffer damages.

CLAIM II: FIRST AMENDMENT RETALIATION
(§ 1983 violation – all Defendants)

1. All statements of fact set forth previously are hereby incorporated into this claim as though set forth fully herein. ?

2. Plaintiffs engaged in First Amendment protected speech on a matter of public concern ?while displaying signs opposing President Trump’s Muslim Ban on January 29, 2017.

3. Defendants jointly and on their own accord responded to Plaintiffs’ First Amendment protected speech with retaliation, including but not limited to threatening Plaintiffs with arrest.

4. Defendants retaliatory actions were substantially motivated by Plaintiffs’ exercise of their First Amendment rights.

5. By unlawfully threatening Plaintiffs with arrest, Defendants sought to punish Plaintiffs for exercising their First Amendment rights and to silence their future speech. Defendants’ retaliatory actions would chill a person of ordinary firmness from engaging in such First Amendment protected activity.

6. Defendants’ actions and/or omissions enforcing Regulation 50 caused, directly and proximately, Plaintiffs to suffer damages.

CLAIM III: FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT DUE PROCESS
(§ 1983 violation – all Defendants)

7. All statements of fact set forth previously are hereby incorporated into this claim as though set forth fully herein.

8. The prohibitions of Regulation 50 are vague and not clearly defined. ?

9. Regulation 50 offers no clear and measurable standard by which Plaintiffs and others can ?act lawfully.

10. Regulation 50 does not provide explicit standards for application by law enforcement officers.

11. Regulation 50 fails to provide people of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to understand what conduct it prohibits, and authorizes or encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, or both.

12. Defendants’ actions and/or omissions enforcing Regulation 50 caused, directly and proximately, Plaintiffs to suffer damages.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendants, and grant:

(a) Appropriate declaratory and other injunctive and/or equitable relief; 13

(b)  Enter a declaration that Regulation 50 is unconstitutional on its face and enjoin its enforcement; ?

(c)  Compensatory and consequential damages, including damages for emotional distress, loss of reputation, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and other pain and suffering on all claims allowed by law in an amount to be determined at trial; ?

(d)  All economic losses on all claims allowed by law; ?

(e)  Punitive damages on all claims allowed by law and in an amount to be determined ?at trial; ?

(f)  Attorney’s fees and the costs associated with this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § ?1988; ?

(g)  Pre and post-judgment interest at the lawful rate; and ?

(h)  Any further relief that this court deems just and proper, and any other relief as ?allowed by law. ?

Dated this 6th day of February 2017.

KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP
s/ Andy McNulty

___________________________________
David A. Lane
?Andy McNulty?
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLC
1543 Champa Street, Suite 400 Denver, Colorado 80202?
Attorneys for Plaintiff

2. Full text of Feb 6 motion for preliminary injunction:

Case 1:17-cv-00332 Document 2
Filed 02/06/17 USDC Colorado Page 1 of 23

Civil Action No.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO

NAZLI MCDONNELL,
ERIC VERLO,

Plaintiffs, vs.

CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER,
DENVER POLICE COMMANDER ANTONIO LOPEZ, in his individual and official capacity,
DENVER POLICE SERGEANT VIRGINIA QUINONES, in her individual and official capacity,

Defendants.

______________________________________________________________________________

MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

______________________________________________________________________________

Plaintiffs, by and through their attorneys David A. Lane and Andy McNulty of KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP, hereby submit the following Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and in support thereof, states as follows:

1. Introduction

Over the last four days, many Americans have expressed public disapproval of President Donald Trump’s January 27, 2017, Executive Order, which permanently bans Syrian refugees from emigrating to the United States, temporarily bans nationals of seven countries (including permanent legal residents and visa-holders), and suspends all applications to the United States refugee program (even as to vetted entrants currently in transit). Plaintiffs are concerned and alarmed United States citizens who wish to join the growing chorus of voices expressing opposition to the Executive Order. To do so, they wish to stand in silent protest at the Jeppesen Terminal within Denver International Airport.

Plaintiffs did just this on January 29, 2017, standing in silent protest of the Executive Order outside of the secure Customs and Border Protection (hereinafter “CBP”) screening area within Jeppesen Terminal. Almost immediately, Plaintiffs were threatened with arrest by Denver Police Department Sergeant Virginia Quinones for standing silently and holding signs opposing the Executive Order, despite that fact that the Jeppesen Terminal has previously been used for expressive activity (and that protesters at more than ten major airports nationwide have protested peacefully without major disruption or legal restriction). While silently displaying their signs, Plaintiffs were in the plaza within the Jeppesen Terminal and positioned significantly behind the railing, which demarcates where those waiting for loved ones are permitted to stand, in the open plaza outside of the secure CBP screening area at the Jeppesen Terminal. Plaintiffs did not impede the right of way of any passengers hustling to catch flights at the last moment. They simply stood with placards showing their distaste for the Executive Order and the man who executed it.

Even though Plaintiffs were simply engaged in peaceful First Amendment protected expression, they were threatened with arrest. Sergeant Quinones informed Plaintiffs that, in order to stand silently with political signs, they would need a permit. Without a permit, Sergeant Quinones stated, all “First Amendment expression” at the Denver International Airport was banned.

This was not the first time since the enactment of the Executive Order that the Denver Police Department threatened individuals with arrest for engaging in First Amendment protected activity in Jeppesen Terminal. On January 28, 2016, a protest was held in the plaza of Jeppesen Terminal. During the protest, Denver Police Commander Antonio Lopez instructed multiple individuals, including State Representative Joseph Salazar and representatives from the ACLU of Colorado, that all “First Amendment expression” was banned at Denver International Airport without a permit. See Exhibit 1, January 28, 2017, Video 1; Exhibit 2, January 28, 2017, Video 2. The protesters had, in fact, applied for a permit earlier that day. However, it had not been granted because they had not done so seven days in advance of the protest in compliance with Denver International Airport regulations. Although no arrests were ultimately made, protesters were threatened numerous times by Commander Lopez, and other officers, with arrest.

The Denver International Airport regulation that both Sergeant Quinones and Commander Lopez relied upon in instructing Plaintiffs, and others, that Denver International Airport bans all “First Amendment expression” without a permit is DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50 (hereinafter “Regulation 50”). Regulation 50 states that “no person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO or his or her designee.” DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.03. In order to obtain a permit, an individual must “complete a permit application and submit it during regular business hours, at least seven (7) days prior to the commencement of the activity for which the permit is sought[.]” DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.04-1.

Plaintiffs wish to return to Denver International Airport to protest the Executive Order, but are reasonably frightened of arrest and, absent action by this Court, must choose between lawfully exercising their First Amendment right and being subject to arrest and/or prosecution.

Plaintiffs ask that this Court enter an injunction prohibiting their arrest for standing in peaceful protest within Jeppesen Terminal and invalidating Regulation 50 as violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

2. Factual Background

All statements of fact set forth in the simultaneously filed Complaint are hereby incorporated into this Brief as though set forth fully herein.

3. Argument

3.1 The standard for issuance of a preliminary injunction.

When seeking a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must establish that (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm; (3) the balance of equities tips in his favor; and (4) that an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); see also ACLU v. Johnson, 194 F.3d 1149, 1155 (10th Cir. 1999).

The Tenth Circuit has modified the preliminary injunction test when the moving party demonstrates that the second, third, and fourth factors “tip strongly” in its favor. See Oklahoma ex rel. Okla. Tax Comm’n v. Int’l Registration Plan, Inc., 455 F.3d 1107, 1113 (10th Cir. 2006); see also 820 F.3d 1113, n.5 (10th Cir. 2016). “In such situations, the moving party may meet the requirement for showing success on the merits by showing that questions going to the merits are so serious, substantial, difficult, and doubtful as to make the issue ripe for litigation and deserving of more deliberate investigation.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover, this “fair chance of prevailing” test is appropriate in this case because Plaintiffs are challenging a policy, not a statue or ordinance. See Planned Parenthood Minn, N.D., & S.D. v. Rounds, 530 F.3d 724, 732 (9th Cir. 2008) (“[C]ourts should… apply the familiar ‘fair chance of prevailing’ test where a preliminary injunction is sought to enjoin something other than government action based on presumptively reasoned democratic processes.”).

Under either standard, Plaintiffs are able to demonstrate that the issuance of a preliminary injunction is appropriate in this matter.

3.3 Regulation 50 implicates Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. 1

When the government regulates the exercise of First Amendment rights, the burden is on the proponent of the restriction to establish its constitutionality. Phelps-Roper v. Koster, 713 F.3d 942, 949 (8th Cir. 2013). Moreover, when assessing the preliminary injunction factors in First Amendment cases, “the likelihood of success will often be the determinative factor.” Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, 723 F.3d 1114, 1145 (10th Cir. 2013). This is because “the loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably, constitutes irreparable injury,” Heideman v. Salt Lake City, 348 F.3d 1182, 1190 (10th Cir. 2003), and it is invariably in the public interest to protect an individual’s First Amendment rights. See Homans v. City of Albuquerque, 264 F.3d 1240, 1244 (10th Cir. 2001) (noting that “the public interest is better served” by protecting First Amendment rights).

[NOTE 1. It is important to note that facial challenges to government policies and statutes, when based on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds, are not disfavored. See United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460, 473 (2010); City of Chicago v. Morales, 527 U.S. 41 (1999).]

3.4 Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits.

Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits because Regulation 50 violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

3.4(a) Plaintiffs engaged, and wish to engage, in speech on a matter of public concern.

Plaintiffs’ speech is at the core of the First Amendment’s protection because it deals with a matter of public concern. “Speech deals with matters of public concern when it can be fairly considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community, or when it is a subject of legitimate news interest; that is, a subject of general interest and of value and concern to the public.” Snyder v. Phelps, 562 U.S. 443, 453 (2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “Speech on matters of public concern is at the heart of the First Amendment’s protection.” Id. at 451-52 (alterations and quotation marks omitted). “The First Amendment reflects ‘a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.’” Id. at 452 (quoting New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964)). Plaintiffs wish to engage in expression about President Donald Trump’s January 27, 2017, Executive Order, a topic that has generated nearly unprecedented debate and dissent. See Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, Here’s Your List of All the Protests Happening Against the Muslim Ban, THINK PROGRESS (Jan. 28, 2017), https://thinkprogress.org/muslim-ban-protests-344f6e66022e#.ft1oznfv4 (compiling list of direct actions planned in response to President Trump’s January 27, 2017, Executive Order). Thus, Plaintiffs’ speech “‘occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.’” Snyder, 562 U.S. at 452 (quoting Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 145 (1983)).

3.4(b) Regulation 50 acts as a prior restraint.

The restriction at issue in this matter is a prior restraint. “The term prior restraint is used ‘to describe administrative and judicial orders forbidding certain communications when issued in advance of the time that such communications are to occur.’” Alexander v. United States, 509 U.S. 544, 550 (1993) (quoting M. Nimmer, Nimmer on Freedom of Speech § 4.03, p. 4–14 (1984)). Regulation 50 is in an administrative order that forbids future communication and bases the ability to communicate in the future on the discretion of an administrative official. See DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.03 (“no person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO or his or her designee.” (emphasis added)). It is a prior restraint.

The burden of proving a prior restraint is permissible is particularly steep. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that “[a]ny system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.” Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58, 70 (1963). For the reasons outlined infra, Defendants cannot meet this especially significant burden.

3.4(c) Jeppesen Terminal, outside of the passenger security zones, is a traditional public forum.

The Supreme Court has not definitively decided whether airport terminals, including Jeppesen Terminal, are public forums. In Lee v. International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc., 505 U.S. 830 (1992) (hereinafter “Lee I”), issued the same day as International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672 (1992) (hereinafter “Lee II”), the Supreme Court struck down a total ban on distribution of literature in airports. In Lee I, the Court issued a one sentence per curiam opinion, which affirmed the Second Circuit for the reasons expressed by Justice O’Connor, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Souter in Lee II. See Lee I, 505 U.S. at 831. Justice Kennedy and Justice Souter’s opinions in Lee II found that “airport corridors and shopping areas outside of the passenger security zones… are public forums, and speech in those places is entitled to protection against all government regulation inconsistent with public forum principles.” Lee II, 505 U.S. at 693 (Kennedy, J., concurring in the judgment); but see Lee II, 505 U.S. at 683 (“”[W]e think that neither by tradition nor purpose can the terminals be described as satisfying the standards we have previously set out for identifying a public forum.”).

Therefore, Plaintiffs ask this Court to find the area of Jeppesen Terminal outside of the passenger security zones to be a public forum. The historical use of the Jeppesen Terminal’s plazas and other areas outside of the passenger security zones (including the area outside of the secure CBP screening area) for political speech (particularly, the history of welcoming of American military personnel home from service, discussion between passengers of matters of public concern, and display of clothing advocating for political views and ideals) indicates that it is a public forum. See First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City v. Salt Lake City Corp., 308 F.3d 1114, 1130 (10th Cir. 2002) (“Where courts have considered the traditional use of publicly accessible property for speech, they have refused to attribute legal significance to an historical absence of speech activities where that non-speech history was created by the very restrictions at issue in the case.”). Further, that the Jeppesen Terminal is free and open to the public (outside of the passenger security zones), illustrates that it is a public forum. See, e.g., Ark. Educ. Television Comm’n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666, 676 (1998); Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Def. & Educ. Fund, 473 U.S. 788, 800, 805, 809 (1985). Finally, Jeppesen Terminal retains characteristics similar to parks: it has large plazas lined with benches, it is surrounded by businesses which are open to the public, and it has dedicated walkways, similar to sidewalks, indicating that it is a public forum. See e.g., Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474, 480-481 (1988); United States v. Grace, 461 U.S. 171, 177 (1983). Further, the Supreme Court has not strictly limited the public forum category to streets, sidewalks, and parks. See, e.g., Se. Promotions, Ltd. v. Conrad, 420 U.S. 546 (1975) (finding leased municipal theater is a public forum); Heffron v. Int’l Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc., 452 U.S. 640 (1981) (finding state fair is a public forum); Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229 (1963) (finding grounds of state capitol are a traditional public forum). Even if the City claims that it has never intended for Jeppesen Terminal to be a public forum, this is not dispositive. See Lee, 505 U.S. at 830 (government policy prohibiting distribution of literature at airport on property struck down); Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 805 (government’s decision to limit access is not itself dispositive). Plaintiffs’ ask that this Court find Jeppesen Terminal, outside of the passenger security zones, a traditional public forum.

Since Jeppesen Terminal is a traditional public forum, any restriction on Plaintiffs’ speech must be content-neutral and narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest. Regulation 50 fails at both.

3.4(d) Regulation 50 is content-based.

Regulation 50 is a content-based restriction of expression. Although the Supreme Court has long held that content-based restrictions elicit strict scrutiny, see, e.g., Carey v. Brown, 447 U.S. 455 (1980), lower courts diverged on the meaning of “content-based” until Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015). 2 Reed clarified that a restriction is content based simply if it draws distinctions “based on the message a speaker conveys.” 135 S. Ct. at 2227. Reed is clear that even “subtle” distinctions that define regulated expression “by its function or purpose . . . are distinctions based on the message a speaker conveys, and therefore, are subject to strict scrutiny.” Id. This accords with Texas v. Johnson, which held that “the emotive impact of speech on its audience is not a secondary effect unrelated to the content of the expression itself.” 491 U.S. 491 U.S. 297, 412 (1989) (internal quotations omitted).

[NOTE 2. Reed involved a municipal “sign code” that regulated signs differently based on the kind of message they conveyed (such as “ideological,” “political,” or “temporary directional”). 135 S. Ct. at 2224-25. The Court rejected the city’s argument that a law had to discriminate against certain viewpoints in order to be a content-based restriction. Id. at 2229.]

Regulation 50 is content-based on its face. It distinguishes between content and requires that an official determine the content of the speaker’s message when enforcing its proscriptions. Reed, 135 S. Ct. at 2227; see DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REGULATION 50.03 (“No person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute[.]” (emphasis added)). The distinctions drawn by Regulation 50 make it a facially content-based restriction on expression that must elicit “the most exacting scrutiny.” Johnson, 491 U.S. at 412; Reed, 135 S. Ct. at 2227.

3.4(e) Regulation 50 is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.

As a facially content-based restriction of expression at traditional public fora, Regulation 50 is presumptively unconstitutional unless Defendant “prove[s] that the restriction furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.” Reed, 135 St. Ct. at 2231; accord Johnson, 491 U.S. at 412.

“A statute is narrowly tailored if it targets and eliminates no more than the exact source of the ‘evil’ it seeks to remedy.” Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474, 485 (1988) (citation omitted). Regulation 50 reaches more speech than that which would impair the security of the airport or ensure that passengers are not unduly encumbered. In fact, it completely bans all “First Amendment expression.” “A complete ban can be narrowly tailored, but only if each activity within the proscription’s scope is an appropriately targeted evil.” Id.. Regulation 50 is not such a ban. For instance, Plaintiffs’ expression does nothing to jeopardize security at Denver International Airport or to inhibit the free flow of passengers through the airport.

Further, any argument that Plaintiffs can engage in expressive activity in another location lacks merit, as the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment is violated when one specific location or audience, when important to the speaker, is foreclosed. See McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S. Ct. 2518, 2536 (2014); Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network, 519 U.S. 357, 377 (1997) (invalidating a “floating” buffer zone around people entering an abortion clinic partly on the ground that it prevented protestors “from communicating a message from a normal conversational distance or handing leaflets to people entering or leaving the clinics who are walking on the public sidewalks”); Schneider v. New Jersey, 308 U.S. 147, 163 (1939) (invalidating anti-handbilling ordinances even though “their operation is limited to streets and alleys and leaves persons free to distribute printed matter in other public places”). Regulation 50 lacks the narrow tailoring necessary to survive First Amendment strict scrutiny analysis.

3.4(f) Regulation 50 violates the First Amendment even if this Court determines Jeppesen Terminal is a nonpublic forum.

Regulation 50 bans all “First Amendment expression” absent a permit; it is unconstitutional even when analyzed under the lower standard of scrutiny applied by courts to First Amendment political speech in a nonpublic forum. In Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc., 482 U.S. 569 (1987), the Supreme Court considered whether a resolution restricting free speech in the airport was constitutional. The resolution at issue stated that the airport “is not open for First Amendment activities by any individual and/or entity.” Id. at 574. Although the Court did not explicitly find that the airport was a nonpublic forum, it did hold that the resolution restricting speech in the airport was facially unreasonable, even if the airport was a nonpublic forum. Id. at 573. The Court noted that enforcing the resolution would prohibit “talking and reading, or the wearing of campaign buttons or symbolic clothing.” Id. at 574. The Court also noted, “[m]uch nondisruptive speech–such as the wearing of a T-shirt or button that contains a political message–may not be ‘airport related’ but is still protected speech even in a nonpublic forum.” Id. at 575 (citing Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971) (holding that wearing of jacket with offensive language in a courthouse was a form of nondisruptive expression that was protected by the First Amendment)). Thus, although specific conduct was not at issue in the Jews for Jesus decision, the Court nonetheless implicitly held that non-disruptive speech is protected by the First Amendment in nonpublic fora and that restrictions that encumber non-disruptive expression are unreasonable.

In Lee II, Justice O’Connor set forth the test for determining reasonableness in the context of nonpublic fora. 505 U.S. at 687 (O’Connor, J., concurring). 3 She stated, ”[t]he reasonableness of the Government’s restriction [on speech in a nonpublic forum] must be assessed in light of the purpose of the forum and all the surrounding circumstances.” Id. (O’Connor, J., concurring) (quoting Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 809). However, Justice O’Connor noted that while “[o]rdinarily . . . we have . . . been confronted with cases where the fora at issue were discrete, single-purpose facilities,” airports present a different analysis because they are multipurpose facilities. Id. at 688 (O’Connor, J., concurring) (citations omitted). She determined airports to be multipurpose facilities because

the Port Authority [has] chosen not to limit access to the airports under its control, [and] has created a huge complex open to travelers and nontravelers alike. The airports house restaurants, cafeterias, snack bars, coffee shops, cocktail lounges, post offices, banks, telegraph offices, clothing shops, drug stores, food stores, nurseries, barber shops, currency exchanges, art exhibits, commercial advertising displays, bookstores, newsstands, dental offices and private clubs.

Id. This led to the finding that “[t]he reasonableness inquiry, therefore, is not whether the restrictions on speech are consistent with preserving the property for air travel, but whether they are reasonably related to maintaining the multipurpose environment that the Port Authority has deliberately created.” Id. at 689. A complete ban on First Amendment activity at the Jeppesen Terminal, absent a permit that must be obtained by providing seven days advance notice, is not a reasonable restriction. Regulation 50 does not comport with Justice O’Connor’s conclusion that airports are more than simply places where air travel occurs.

[NOTE 3. It is important to note that Lee involved a plurality opinion, joined by Justice O’Connor. Therefore, Justice O’Connor’s concurrence is the “narrowest grounds” that justify the Court’s result and her concurrence holds substantial precedential weight.]

Moreover, Justice O’Connor distinguished between solicitations (which the Supreme Court found could be reasonably restricted) and distributing leaflets (which the Supreme Court found could not be reasonably restricted) in the airport:

[L]eafleting does not entail the same kinds of problems presented by face-to-face solicitation. Specifically, “one need not ponder the contents of a leaflet or pamphlet in order mechanically to take it out of someone’s hand . . . . The distribution of literature does not require that the recipient stop in order to receive the message the speaker wishes to convey; instead the recipient is free to read the message at a later time.”

Id. at 690 (quoting United States v. Kokinda, 497 U.S. 720, 734 (1990)).

Thus, the Court held in Lee II that prohibiting solicitation in a nonpublic forum is not unreasonable, but that prohibiting the distribution of leaflets and other literature at a nonpublic forum is unreasonable. See also Lee, 505 U.S. at 830 (decided the same day as Lee II and striking down a prohibition on the distribution of leaflets and other literature at La Guardia, John F. Kennedy, and Newark International airports) (per curiam). Circuit courts have also recognized the inherent right to distribute paper and other information in nonpublic fora. Following Lee I and Lee II, two circuit courts have held that airports, as nonpublic fora, could not preclude newspaper publishers from placing newsracks in airport terminals. See Jacobsen v. City of Rapid City, South Dakota, 128 F.3d 660 (8th Cir. 1997); Multimedia Publishing Co. of South Carolina, Inc. v. Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Dist., 991 F.2d 154 (4th Cir. 1993). To the extent that the airports were concerned about safety or the impediment of traffic flow, the courts held that the airport may impose reasonable restrictions, but they could not enforce an outright ban on the newspaper racks. See Jacobsen, 128 F.3d at 660; Multimedia Publishing Co. of South Carolina, Inc., 991 F.2d at 154.

Denver, through Regulation 50, has banned all “First Amendment expression” including leafleting and protests. In fact, Plaintiffs expression is arguably less intrusive and disruptive to air travel than the form of expression, namely leafletting, that the Court held could not be reasonably restricted in the areas of an airport that precede the security screening area. It is clear from Lee I, Lee II, and Jews for Jesus that Denver cannot ban all “First Amendment expression” at the Jeppesen Terminal.

3.4(f)(1) Independently, the viewpoint-based prohibition of Plaintiffs’ speech, based on Regulation 50, violates the First Amendment.

Even if Jeppesen Terminal is a nonpublic forum, “this does not mean the government has unbridled control over speech, . . . for it is axiomatic that ‘the First Amendment forbids the government to regulate speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the expense of others.” Summum v. Callaghan, 130 F.3d 906, 916 (10th Cir. 1997) (quoting Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 394, (1993)). “Restrictions on speech in nonpublic fora must be viewpoint neutral[.]” Warren v. Fairfax Cty., 196 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Cornelius, 473 at 809). Defendants’ restriction of Plaintiffs’ speech, under the guise of Regulation 50, discriminates on the basis of viewpoint. Individuals walk through Denver International Airport with political messages and slogans on their shirts and luggage and discuss politics on a daily basis. Counsel for Plaintiffs has worn political shirts while traveling through Denver International Airport and discussed modern politics with fellow passengers on many occasions. However, no other individual, to Plaintiffs or Plaintiffs’ counsel’s knowledge, has been threatened with arrest for engaging in this political speech. Nor has any individual been arrested for displaying pro-President Trump messages, for example a red hat that reads “Make America Great Again.” Only Plaintiffs’ expressive activity against the President’s Executive Order, and others advocating similarly, has been threatened with arrest. Regulation 50 is being enforced as a clearly view-point based restriction. Defendants’ application of Regulation 50 to Plaintiffs speech is view-point based and violates the First Amendment.

3.4(g) The seven day advance notice requirement for obtaining a permit is not a reasonable restriction.

Notice periods restrict spontaneous free expression and assembly rights safeguarded in the First Amendment. Plaintiffs, like many others throughout history, wish to engage in First Amendment expression in quick response to topical events. While even in such time-sensitive situations, a municipality may require some short period of advance notice so as to allow it time to take measures to provide for necessary traffic control and other aspects of public safety, the period can be no longer than necessary to meet the City’s urgent and essential needs of this type. See American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. City of Dearborn, 418 F.3d 600, 605 (6th Cir. 2005) (“Any notice period is a substantial inhibition on speech.”).

Advance notice requirements that have been upheld by courts have most generally been less than a week. See, e.g., A Quaker Action Group v. Morton, 516 F.2d 717, 735 (D.C. Cir. 1975) (two-day advance notice requirement is reasonable for use of National Park areas in District of Columbia for public gatherings); Powe v. Miles, 407 F.2d 73, 84 (2d Cir. 1968) (two-day advance notice requirement for parade is reasonable); Progressive Labor Party v. Lloyd, 487 F. Supp. 1054, 1059 (D. Mass. 1980) (three-day advance filing requirement for parade permit approved in context of broader challenge); Jackson v. Dobbs, 329 F. Supp. 287, 292 (N.D. Ga. 1970) (marchers must obtain permit by 4 p.m. on day before the march), aff’d, 442 F.2d 928 (5th Cir. 1971). Lengthy advance filing requirements for parade permits, such as the seven day advance notice requirement imposed by Regulation 50, have been struck down as violating the First Amendment. See American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 418 F.3d at 605-07 (holding that provision requiring thirty days’ notice is overbroad and is not saved by an unwritten policy of waiving the provision); NAACP, W. Region v. City of Richmond, 743 F.2d 1346, 1357 (9th Cir. 1984) (“[A]ll available precedent suggests that a 20-day advance notice requirement is overbroad.”). Even an advance filing requirement of five days has been held too long to comport with the First Amendment. See Douglas v. Brownell, 88 F.3d 1511, 1523-24 (8th Cir. 1996) (city’s asserted goals of protecting pedestrian and vehicular traffic and minimizing inconvenience to the public does not justify five-day advance filing requirement for any parade, defined as ten or more persons).

It is clear that, in the case at bar, a permit requirement of seven days advance notice is not a reasonable restriction of Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. Plaintiffs wish to engage in timely, direct action against, what they perceive as, a tyrannical and unconstitutional exercise of the executive power. If Plaintiffs were to have applied for a permit at the exact moment President Trump signed the Executive Order, they would still have been prevented from engaging in First Amendment activity on January 29, 2017. In direct action, like in most things, timing is everything. As evidenced by myriad protests that occurred across the nation’s airports, which were accompanied by no violence or destruction of property and did not otherwise jeopardize security, accommodation of protest at the Jeppesen Terminal is reasonable. Such a lengthy approval period, with no exceptions for spontaneous, peaceful protests, violates the First Amendment. See Church of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan v. City of Gary, 334 F.3d 676, 682 (7th Cir. 2003) (noting that “the length of the required period of advance notice is critical to its reasonableness; and given … that political demonstrations are often engendered by topical events, a very long period of advance notice with no exception for spontaneous demonstrations unreasonably limits free speech” (emphasis added)).

3.4(h) Regulation 50 is overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.

“[A] law may be invalidated as overbroad if ‘a substantial number of its applications are unconstitutional, judged in relation to the [ordinance]’s plainly legitimate sweep.’” United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460, 473 (2010) (quoting Wash. State Grange v. Wash. State Republican Party, 552 U.S. 442, 449 n.6 (2008)). An overbroad statute may be challenged on its face even though a more narrowly drawn statute would be valid as applied to the party in the case before it. City Council of L.A. v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 798 (1984) (“[B]roadly written statutes may have such a deterrent effect on free expression that they should be subject to challenge even by a party whose own conduct may be unprotected.”). The Supreme Court “has repeatedly held that a government purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.” NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Flowers, 377 U.S. 288, 307 (1964); see also Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 109, 114-15 (1972) (“The crucial question, then, is whether the ordinance sweeps within its prohibitions what may not be punished under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”). Courts have “provided this expansive remedy out of concern that the threat of enforcement of an overbroad law may deter or ‘chill’ constitutionally protected speech—especially when the overbroad statute imposes criminal sanctions.” Virginia v. Hicks, 539 U.S. 113, 119 (2003).

Determining whether a law is substantially overbroad requires a two-step analysis. First, a court must “construe the challenged [law]; it is impossible to determine whether a [law] reaches too far without first knowing what the [law] covers.” United States v. Williams, 553 U.S. 285, 293 (2008). Second, based on the first step, a court must determine whether the law “criminalizes a substantial amount of protected expressive activity.” Id. at 297.

Regulation 50 provides that “no person or organization shall leaflet, conduct surveys, display signs, gather signatures, solicit funds, or engage in other speech related activity at Denver International Airport for religious, charitable, or political purposes, or in connection with a labor dispute, except pursuant to, and in compliance with, a permit for such activity issued by the CEO or his or her designee.” Those tasked with enforcing Regulation 50, have stated that it bans all “First Amendment expression.” See Exhibit 1, January 28, 2017, Video 1; Exhibit 2, January 28, 2017, Video 2.

A complete prohibition on First Amendment expression and related activity proscripts a substantial amount of protected expressive activity. See Jews for Jesus, 482 U.S. at 569; Lee, 505 U.S. at 830. It prohibits face-to-face conversations and wearing clothing intended to convey a message, along with leafleting and other traditional First Amendment activity, all of which protected expression. Regulation 50’s overbreadth is stark and violates the guarantees of the First Amendment.

3.4(i) Regulation 50 is unconstitutionally vague.

“A fundamental principle in our legal system is that laws which regulate persons or entities must give fair notice of conduct that is forbidden or required.” F.C.C. v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 132 S. Ct. 2307, 2317 (2012). “A law’s failure to provide fair notice of what constitutes a violation is a special concern where laws ‘abut[ ] upon sensitive areas of basic First Amendment freedoms’ because it ‘inhibit[s] the exercise’ of freedom of expression and ‘inevitably lead[s] citizens to steer far wider of the unlawful zone … than if the boundaries of the forbidden areas were clearly marked.’” Stahl v. City of St. Louis, 687 F.3d 1038, 1041 (8th Cir. 2012) (quoting Grayned, 408 U.S. at 109). For this reason, a stringent vagueness test applies to a law that interferes with the right of free speech. Vill. of Hoffman Estates v. Flipside, Hoffman Estates, Inc., 455 U.S. 489, 499 (1982). “Where a statute’s literal scope, unaided by a narrowing state court interpretation, is capable of reaching expression sheltered by the First Amendment, the doctrine demands a greater degree of specificity than in other contexts.” Smith v. Goguen, 415 U.S. 566, 573 (1974).

Regulation 50 is vague, and therefore unconstitutional, for two separate reasons. First, Regulation 50 fails “to provide the kind of notice that will enable ordinary people to understand what conduct it prohibits.” City of Chicago v. Morales, 527 U.S. 41, 56 (1999). A law is unconstitutionally vague where it “does not provide people with fair notice of when their actions are likely to become unlawful.” Stahl, 687 F.3d at 1041. Because violators of Regulation 50 are subject to criminal sanction, the strictest vagueness test applies. See Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 872 (1997) (recognizing criminal sanctions might “cause speakers to remain silent rather than communicate even arguably unlawful words, ideas, and images” which, together with the “‘risk of discriminatory enforcement’ of vague regulations, poses greater First Amendment concerns than those implicated by [a] civil regulation[.]”). Whether expressive activity will be deemed “First Amendment expression” in the Jeppesen Terminal is not predictable. Plaintiffs have reasonably refrained from protected speech for fear that someone might consider their expression to be in violation of the regulation. However, officials have failed to enforce the regulation against many others who are seemingly in violation, including those discussing politics with other passengers, wearing clothing meant to make some social or political statement, limo drivers soliciting passengers, and those welcoming home military veterans. Although there might be times when a speaker knows, or should know, that certain speech will violate the statute, in many situations such an effect is difficult or impossible to predict. See Stahl, 687 F.3d at 1041 (finding vagueness because even “[t]hough there are certainly times when a speaker knows or should know that certain speech or activities likely will cause a traffic problem, in many situations such an effect is difficult or impossible to predict.”). Regulation 50 fails to give fair notice and therefore violates the mandates of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Regulation 50 is also unconstitutionally broad because it “authorize[s] and even encourage[s] arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.” Morales, 527 U.S. at 56. Regulation 50’s terms allow law enforcement officials wide discretion to decide whether any given speech is prohibited and arrest the speaker. “Such a statute does not provide for government by clearly defined laws, but rather for government by the moment-to-moment opinions of a policeman on his beat.” Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 579 (1965); see Norton v. Discipline Comm. of E. Tenn. State Univ., 399 U.S. 906, 909 (1970) (“Officials of public universities . . . are no more free than policemen or prosecutors to punish speech because it is rude or disrespectful, or because it causes in them vague apprehensions, or because for any other reason they do not like its content.”).

Officers have been observed enforcing Regulation 50 against those protesting President Trump’s Executive Order, but not against those wearing other political shirts or buttons. Officers have not enforced the regulation against other political expression, including those standing in support of military veterans returning home from combat. Seemingly, the only ones who have been subject to this regulation are those who are specifically speaking against President Trump’s Executive Order. “The most meaningful aspect of the vagueness doctrine is . . . the requirement that a legislature establish minimal guidelines to govern law enforcement.” Smith, 415 U.S. at 574. Because the terms allow a police officer leeway to determine that expressive conduct is lawful, or not, they are vague. Regulation 50 permits “a standardless sweep [that] allows policemen, prosecutors, and juries to pursue their personal predilections.” Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352, 358 (1983) (internal citations omitted). It is unconstitutional.

3.5 Absent an injunction, Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm.

“The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976); see also Verlo v. Martinez, 820 F.3d 1113, 1127 (10th Cir. 2016); Awad v. Ziriax, 670 F.3d 1111, 1131 (10th Cir. 2012) (“[W]hen an alleged constitutional right is involved, most courts hold that no further showing of irreparable injury is necessary.”); Verlo v. Martinez, 820 F.3d 1113, 1127 (10th Cir. 2016).

Moreover, Plaintiffs’ expression is a time-sensitive response to a nearly unprecedented action by our federal government. But see C. Norwood, A Twitter Tribute to Holocaust Victims, THE ATLANTIC (January 27, 2017), https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/jewish-refugees-in-the-us/514742/ (describing the rebuff of refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939, many of whom would be murdered during the Holocaust); Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944). Delaying Plaintiffs’ protest, and discouraging Plaintiffs and others from demonstrating, detracts from its importance and provides a false appearance that Denver is not like other cities of all sizes across the country that have mustered sizeable protests at their airports. Denver has held itself out as a “sanctuary city.” Jon Murray, Mayor Hancock says he welcomes “sanctuary city” title if it means Denver supports immigrants and refugees, The DENVER POST (January 30, 2017), http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/30/mayor-hancock-welcomes-sanctuary-city-title-denver-supports-immigrants-refugees/. For Colorado’s citizens to seemingly show lackluster support in this time of trial would not only irreparable harm Plaintiffs, and others, but it would go against the public interest.

3.6 The balance of the equities weighs in favor of granting a preliminary injunction.

“The balance of equities… generally favors the constitutionally-protected freedom of expression.” Phelps-Roper v. Nixon, 545 F.3d 685, 690 (8th Cir. 2008) overruled on other grounds by Phelps-Roper v. City of Manchester, Mo., 697 F.3d 678 (8th Cir. 2012). Courts have consistently held that when First Amendment freedoms are threatened, the balance of the equities weighs in the Plaintiffs’ favor. See Verlo, 820 F.3d at 1127; Awad, 670 F.3d at 1132. There is no harm to Defendant, who has no significant interest in the enforcement of Regulation 50 since it is likely unconstitutional.

3.7 A preliminary injunction is in the public interest.

“[I]t is always in the public interest to prevent the violation of a party’s constitutional rights.” Awad, 670 F.3d at 1133 (internal quotation marks omitted); accord Verlo, 820 F.3d at 1127; Pac. Frontier v. Pleasant Grove City, 414 F.3d 1221, 1237 (10th Cir. 2005) (“Vindicating First Amendment freedoms is clearly in the public interest.”); Cate v. Oldham, 707 F.2d 1176, 1190 (10th Cir. 1983) (noting “[t]he strong public interest in protecting First Amendment values”).

4. Conclusion

For the reasons stated, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court grant their Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, enjoin enforcement of Regulation 50, and prohibit Defendants from arresting Plaintiffs and all others similarly situated when they engage in First Amendment protected activity within Jeppesen Terminal.

Dated this 6th day of February, 2017

KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP
s/ Andy McNulty
__________________________

David Lane
Andy McNulty
1543 Champa Street, Suite 400 Denver, CO 80202
Counsel for Plaintiffs

You are not to blame. US stands with victims allied to neoliberal objectives.

“Why don’t we stand with Istanbul like we did Paris in the aftermath of their terrorist attack?” Because Western social media campaigns are orchestrated. Though built on outporings of sympathy, they are coordinated with NATO efforts to propagandize against perceived foes. The public’s failure to muster support for Turkish tragedies, like African or Asian or Balkan or other less-Western hosts, drawns criticism of racism. But it’s not YOUR racism, that’s blaming the victim. Your heartstrings are pulled by whatever photos the corportate media is pitching. Photos of Syrian children for the moment.

Have you heard that Snopes pretends to be the last word on not just rumors?

TRUE OR FALSE? SNOPES began as a website to debunk urban myths, but since being bought by a major internet conglomerate, Snopes acts as final word on which conspiracy theories have merit and which are too disruptive of the dominant narrative. As the internet grew, Snopes gathered geek cred to join National Geographic Magazine and the History Channel as de facto authoritive brands trusted to provide nonpartisan accounts of current and past events, except of course all three simply confirm the authorized story. Another would-be gatekeeper, on who says what’s what, is Wikipedea. Because the online encyclopaedia is crowd-sourced, its authority is regularly questioned, and Wikipedia entries on controversial issues are demonstraby slanted by editorial teams advancing agendas that mirror the fully funded propaganda campaigns dominating conventional media. While Snopes was great at arresting rumors about vanishing hitchhikers or microwaved babies, more and more we see Snopes consulted about news scoops and whistleblower revelations, and it’s no surprise that Snopes summarily dismisses incidiary exposees that threaten established power. Don’t take my word for it, let’s ask Snopes!

Yellen, Lagarde, Merkel, & May, already give us a taste of women-led injustice.

When Hillary Clinton ascends to the US presidency, she’ll join a girls club of world leaders who’ve already shown that the feminine gender doesn’t lack for sociopaths. It may be hard to know whether IMF head Christine Lagarde or FED chair Janet Yellen are mere figureheads or cold-blooded usurers in their own right. The UK’s Theresa May hasn’t had a chance yet to flex her Thatcherism, but few dispute that Angela Merkel’s power is not as authentic as it is heartless. Those Americans campaigning for Hillary Clinton based on the assumption that women leaders could not possibly fail to restore humanity to a capitalist war-ravaged world, are ignoring the maternal instinct already disappointing on the world stage.
 
When the fracking industrialists came to Colorado Springs, they hired a white-haired grandmother to be their liaison to the city council. Predictably her fracking sold like hotcakes, if you’ll pardon the sexist analogy. Hillary is the frackers’ point-person to the unexploited regions of the world regardless of whether they beckon from war zones to be.

A real democracy would elect Trump

A friend of mine used to say “You know who has their finger on the pulse of America? Walmart.” Materialism on the cheap, zero social responsibility. It’s true of American television, fast food, urban planning, everything USA. We sell immediate gratification, that’s it. Success in America under declining capitalism has become courting only the lowest common denominator. I can wish it was otherwise, you can lecture it to death, but Cracker culture: insipid, racist, xenophobic culture is American culture. Love yourself, hate everybody who isn’t you. For many successive Me-Generations, narcissism is WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT. The American mass doesn’t want an Obama hued panel of multiculture-splainers saying America must be anything but stupid indulgent. An intelligencia’s repulsion at Donald Trump and his common denominator campaign goes without saying, but it can’t fault his sales pitch. Trump is tuned to win. Feel rueful about the lumpen masses, but you’re being undemocratic.

Hillary may be the presumptive head of the US empire but Trump is its asshole

Billionaire reality TV villain Donald Trump is bringing his presidential candidacy roadshow to Denver JULY 1ST. Like the rhetoric of the Westboro Baptist Church, Trump’s utterances don’t warrant rebuttal. But unlike the lone Fred Phelps family espousing their gutteral homophobia, The Donald has followers. Some see Trump as an underdog challenging the empire’s vetted candidate. Some may be provocateurs staining his campaign with violence. What is certain however is that popular enthusiasm for Trump echoes his hate speech and dumbfuckery. If zenophobic bigotry congeals into a white power movement, that’s the specter of fascism that begs a swift preemptive beatdown. Trump can tramp his celebration of brute ignorance wherever he wants, it’s a free country, but local communities need not welcome his fan base aping the white thug’s antisocial behavior.
 
Friday July 1. Western Conservative Summit, Colorado Conventional Center, Denver. Be there!

Prince the Artist Formerly

PrinceEverybody has something to say about Prince, RIP, the artist formerly known by a pseudo-hieroglyph. Of his own design, it was pseudo-silent and un-typeable so he became “Formerly Known as Prince.” Before that he was the single-named Madonna-esque “Prince”.

The media’s gushing last chance push of the Prince back catalog reminds me how completely the “independent” maverick was integrated in the pop crap industry.

I’m addressing Prince’s pioneer branding because up until today his musical legacy was illusory. An earlier hit gave Prince a comeback when “1999” became relevant to the turn of the millennium. The musician’s second act was to impersonate a Hendrix tribute icon. Tormented, gifted, undead.

WHAT PRINCE REALLY TAUGHT US was that you can forbid the media to speak your name and they will obey.

What a crock! You try it! I have a friend who goes by just “Lotus”. He has a hell of a time getting local journalists to report his name as only that. They usually write “Lotus, he doesn’t use his last name, etc.” Often they don’t quote him because one name is too weird. By royal purple edict apparently, Prince was even let to declare his hieroglyph was unpronouncible.

The real lesson was about everyone’s complicity in the manufacture of marketing campaigns.

You’d think that the music business or our corporate celebrity culture might be reported like news. It appears to be. It certainly makes up most of mainstream news. Its happenings are not irrelevant to a consumer economy. But no.

Instead, publicists dictate how their brands are sold, just as lawyers insure trademarks aren’t violated, and the media divisions of the same entertainment corporations comply. If the news tellers don’t play along, products like Prince wear no clothes.

BREAKING: Denver jury nullification advocate Mark Iannicelli arrested again


DENVER, COLORADO- Activists distributing jury nullification literature in front of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse were once again arrested this morning. Sheriffs deputies arrested Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt, the pair originally charged last year with jury tampering, based this time on an accusation of harassing people entering the courthouse. Brandt was detained and eventually let go, but Iannicelli was taken into custody after a complainant fingered him for harassment. Once Iannicelli’s lawyer was reached, a timely call to the office of the city attorney freed Iannicelli within the hour.

Mark Iannicelli emerged from the Van Cise Simonet Dentention Facility just before noon with a citation charging him with Disturbing the Peace and “Violation of Court Orders” whatever they think that means. The court order, a federal injunction to be precise, orders the city and county of Denver NOT TO ARREST Iannicelli, Brandt, or anyone, for distributing JN literature in the Lindsey Flanigan plaza.

Last August, Iannicelli and Brandt were charged with seven counts of jury tampering for exactly this activity. In January the charges were dismissed but DA Mitch Morrissey is appealing. Meanwhile the federal injunction will be proceding to trial next month.

Iannicelli and fellow activists with Occupy Denver have been handing out JN fliers every weekday since his arrest last year. The stint begins before 7:30am, while the public is kept waiting at the locked courthouse doors. Then defendents, jurors, lawyers and whatnot arrive in waves until 9:30am. Between those times, activists stand near the front doors quietly passing out fliers and engaging in conversation with whoever inquires.

Mark is the friendliest of all the “lonely pamphleteers” and his being accused of being anything other than friendly will be easily disproved by the security cameras and security personel keeping a close watch on the disputed activity outside.

Mark’s arrest is the twentieth since OD’s jury nullification campaign began, not counting two citations for having an OD leader caught off leash.

Even as Denver loses in court battles the city doubles down. It’s a bitch for civil liberties but the ultimate outcome will be all the more funny.

Is Palin writing for SNL or vice versa? Who are this election’s screenwriters?

Remember when Sarah Palin gave her infamous 2008 Katie Couric interview? Palin’s disordered responses were so Miss Teen Carolina that Saturday Night Live writers didn’t have to wring out a parody. Instead Tina Fey brought down the house by repeating Palin’s folksy schtick verbatim. Essentially SNL added a laugh track. Every week the entire country tuned in to SNL in anticipation of Fey’s mimicry act. Eight years later Palin has come out of the wood paneling to endorse fellow freak Donald Trump. Immediately everyone is salivating for the SNL instant replay. Hmm.

It seems Sarah Palin has reprised her role as fount of Ugly Americanisms and I have to wonder. Maybe SNL’s humorists hadn’t caught a break after all. Maybe they had been hard at work in preproduction. Working on Sarah Palin as season pilot. Gag writers didn’t have to write a Palin parody because they drafted the original jokes.

We like to think of our comedians as authors of their own brilliant wit, yet we know their TV talk shows employ gaggles of writers. It’s true from Comedy Central to the Tonight Show. Why do we give a village idiot like Sarah Palin credit for her seamlessly funny imbecility?

Or Donald Trump for that matter? Trump has yet to miss a single sour note or plumb an inoffensive punchline with his every gutterance.

If we recognize the American two party system and its lesser of bogeymen false choice as an unchanging melodrama, we must consider the show has its screenwriters. Palin and Trump and Hillary and Bernie are reciting lines already tested on focus groups, seasoned to our taste, to manufacture consent for political continuity.

And how about casting directors? Somebody is deciding who gets the screentime. Why is anyone asking Sarah Palin’s opinion about Trump or anything for that matter. What qualifies Palin to opine at all? She’s been neither public figure, candidate, governor, nor mayor of Alaska’s meth capitol, since she came and went two elections cycles ago.

Political kingmaking is frequently attenuated by media gatekeepers but clearly the casting decisions they make are based on viewership ratings.

If there’s a show with cast and crew, there’s a showrunner. Elsewhere in TV-land the spotlights is regularly turned on them. I’m not talking about campaign managers or party heads, they are the stage managers or Don Pardos at best. Showrunners are the real auteurs, if that word doesn’t lend excessive dignity to their oeuvre, which is crap.

Team Obama 2008 won advertizing’s most prestegious award for that brand’s successful campaign. The Cleo is an industry award, generally outside the public’s viewshed. Of course the awards should have been Emmys.

If you want to see the real wits behind the scenes, it’s time to unmask the twits. Exile them to Reality TV where they belong. Let us accept or reject the showrunners if you’re going to pretend this is a democracy.

The New Slave Ships Have Arrived

The year was 1960, and there was only one men’s prison in Colorado at that time, located at Canon City. There was a women’s prison that sat next to the men’s prison. There were three small satellites off the main prison: the ranch, dairy farm and garden. And there was the young men’s reformatory at Buena Vista, for a total of three prisons. In 1960 the population figures for Colorado was nearly two million people, in 2010 it was a little over five million; In a span of fifty years Colorado gained three million people. In 1960, it took 3 prisons to confine the convicts of two million people living in Colorado. By 2006 there were 30 prisons in Colorado, while adding only three million people to the population. Hold on here a minute; something doesn’t add up: 2 million people needed 3 prisons, now 5 million people need 30 prisons?!

It would be safe to assume that this growth in population were of people about to commit a crime, judging from the growth of new prisons compared to the population growth.

That’s quite a growth from 3 prisons to 30 prisons in 26 years; but then we didn’t have the “Prison Industrial Complex” in those years; Corporation private prisons. Their motto should read “If there are no prisoners; there is no profit”

If you and your family were out on a Sunday drive in 1960 and happen to drive by “Old Max” on Hi-way 50, you would have noticed a sign in front of the prison that advertised “Visitors Welcome” the sign went on to tell you that you could enter the prison for fifty cents on a guided tour at certain hours. This fifty cents was to go into a prisoner burial fund, for indigent convicts who died while imprisoned. They would then be buried in a pauper grave yard and sentence was complete due to death.

A few years later these tours were discontinued for fear that the prisoners might take the tourist hostage, also the Prison Administration had decided that it was better not to let the taxpayer see the condition of the prison they were paying for.

My wife and I decided to take the tour.

I had the feeling of a rat in the trap when the large steel door slammed shut behind us. After taking only a few steps, we left behind a warm sunny day and stepped into a dark gray world. The doom and gloom seemed to lurk at every corner, the guards in their towers, stared down at the tour, rifles at ready. We had the feeling that this tour, was a bad idea.

There was a guard about 70 years old who served as our tour guide, he wore a guard’s uniform and walked backwards as he pointed out the finer attractions of the prison; like the hole or the gas chamber. We were not allowed to go into these building as the old guard explained; we could be taken hostage.
However we were taken to the curio shop where the convicts were allowed to sell their hobby work, and it was here that the old guard gave us some stories on the history of Roy Best an ex-warden who was discovered with state cattle on his personal ranch and convicts were used as ranch hands. The old guard told how Warden Best would tell all newly arrived convicts: “While serving your sentence, you are allowed to make a dollar any way you can, Just make sure it’s not my dollar.” He also told a story of what happen when two convicts were caught in a homosexual act; they would be taken to the curio shop and handcuffed to a steel rail, they both would be made to wear a woman’s dress, for all the tours to see. It didn’t matter who was pitcher and who was catcher, they both had to wear a dress.

There were two yellow lines painted on the concrete about six feet apart, we were warned as tourists of all the harm and mayhem that could befall us if we stepped outside of the yellow lines and it was here that some of the tourist began thinking about what a mistake this was and could they get their fifty cents back. And of course the convicts were well aware of the rule of crossing the yellow line while a tour was in the prison or of talking to any of the tourists; it meant a certain trip to the hole. As the tour progressed through the prison, I noticed that many of the tourist heads kept bobbing down, making sure their feet didn’t touch the yellow line.

As we neared the end of the tour we came to where three convicts were waiting for the tour to pass before crossing the yellow line; There was an older lady with white hair near the front of the tour, when she saw those three convicts, (who were all dressed in white pants and shirts) she whispered to the old guard.

“Who are those men?”

The guard turned to look and then began to name the convicts.

The old woman stopped him and said ” No! I mean are they convicts or are they civilian employees?”

“They are convicts,” the guard replied, “they are allowed to wear white because they all work in the hospital.”

The gray haired lady then exclaimed with the most bewildering look on her face “my goodness! They look like anybody else”.

It’s been over fifty years since that white haired lady spoke those words, but her words are burned into my memory as if she had only spoken them yesterday.
What the white haired lady never realized is those convicts were sons, with mothers and fathers.

As all convicts are; they are the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters, mother and fathers of us all.

Like that old white haired lady’s words “They looked like anybody else,” society looks at prisoners and sees them all the same, maybe that’s because they are all dressed the same or their mailing address is the same. They eat the same food and spend the long boring days together. It’s true that while you are a prisoner, the rules of a prison or jail apply to all, a sort of “One size fits all.” Yet the crime that sent these men and women to prison are as different as day and night.

Willie “The Actor” Sutton, a bank robber from back in the 40s use to dress up as a policeman when robbing a bank. Willie would never put any bullets in his gun; he wanted to make sure that no one was injured while robbing the banks, you might say Willie was a little different kind of criminal, but when he was in prison, he dressed like all the other convicts.

Back in the 50s the prison at Canon City had a rule: all prisoners shoes must have a “V” shaped notch cut into the heel. This was intended to make it easier for the guards to track escaped convicts. In theory the rule seemed pretty “air tight.” The drawback was that the convicts all knew about the notch, and would simply fill the notch or remove the heel. It took a few year for the guards to figure out why they weren’t finding any tracks of escaped convicts with a “V” notch in the heel.

The old white haired lady was right about one thing; they do look like everyone else. But the underlying problem that sent them to prison are very different.

From the New York Times: U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations.

“The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences. The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.”

In reading the above and the complete 1700 word article you will not find the word ‘Corrections” used once.

Webster’s Dictionary: Correction; 1 a correction or being corrected, 2 a change that corrects a mistake; change from wrong to right or from abnormal to normal.

As you are reading this story you may have noticed that I do not use today’s language to describe prisons, convicts, guards and wardens, as “Correctional Facility”, “Correctional Officer”, “Superintendent” or “Inmate”. To call them “Correctional Facility’s or Correctional Officer” is the height of hypocrisy. The truth is the guards can’t correct the problems in their own lives let alone solve the many complex problems of the men and women they guard.

The word correction was introduced by the prison industrial complex to fool the public into thinking they were solving the problems of the people they were warehousing and collecting all of those tax dollars for.

Again! hold on here a minute; If they are correcting all the problems of these errant people? Then why are we building so many new prisons and filling them with men, women and children?

You might be asking yourself “How did America, end up with so many criminals? The truth is “We didn’t.” The American Prison Corporations quite simply found it very profitable to imprison citizens.

The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) simple minded solution to the problem is to build more prisons and pass new laws which will produce more criminals for their prisons.

Looking to the CCA and their lobbyist is equivalent to hiring the fox to guard the hen house.

This all leads to a greater bottom line profit for the CCA but does little to solve the crime rate, the recidivism rate or help those prisoners who truly need help. And it certainly does not slow the growth of new prisons. “The breeding grounds of crime”.

Confronting Confinement, a June 2006 U.S. prison study by the bipartisan Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, reports than on any given day more than 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, and that over the course of a year, 13.5 million spend time in prison or jail. African Americans are imprisoned at a rate roughly seven times higher than Whites, and Hispanics at a rate three times higher than Whites. Within three years of their release, 67% of former prisoners are rearrested and 52% are re-incarcerated, a recidivism rate that calls into question the effectiveness of America’s corrections system, which costs taxpayers $60 billion a year. Violence, overcrowding, poor medical and mental health care, and numerous other failings plague America’s 5,000 prisons and jails. The study indicates that even small improvements in medical care could significantly reduce recidivism. “What happens inside jails and prisons does not stay inside jails and prisons,” the commission concludes, since 95% of inmates are eventually released back into society, ill-equipped to lead productive lives. Given the dramatic rise in incarceration over the past decade, public safety is threatened unless the corrections system does in fact “correct” rather than simply punish. For a copy of the complete report and the commission’s recommendations for reform, see

From: U.S. Prisons Overcrowded and Violent, Recidivism High — Infoplease.com

In the words of George Carlin; we add syllables to soften the meaning of words; From the Colorado Central Magazine; (The polite modern terms are inmate, not prisoner or convict as in historical years, and corrections officer instead of guard.)

The Huffington Post published an excellent piece yesterday by reporter Chris Kirkham describing how the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to buy up state prisons, all under the guise of helping state governments deal with their budget shortfalls.

Called the Corrections Investment Initiative (sounds so positive, right?), it’s a sickening display of exploitive behavior — perhaps best underscored by the fact that the CCA stipulates in its “investment” overture that, as part of the deal, the states need to keep the prisons packed. Their language for it:

“An assurance by the agency partner [the state] that the agency has sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90 percent occupancy rate over the term of the contract.”

In reading the above article I did not notice anything pertaining to correcting the prisoner’s problems that sent them to prison. I did read the words “Helping state governments deal with their budget shortfalls” Whenever someone comes to me and tells me they can save me money… But I have to spend money in order to save money, it’s right here I become suspicious of their motive, “Thank You, but, No Thanks'”

“The Corrections Corporation of America” and that white haired lady have something in common with one big difference; the white haired lady saw us all the same looking like anybody else but she had no motive for profit when she looked at us, she can be forgiven for her mistake.

“The Corrections Corporation of America” sees the prisoners also all the same; as a free labor force to manufacture goods in their prison industrial program. For the CCA it’s a win-win proposition, the taxpayer pays for housing their captive work force and then they again made a profit off the manufactured goods. It appears “The Corrections Corporation of America” has found a new way to reconstitute slavery. The only thing missing are the slave ships from Africa; we are already here so there is no need of the ships. However they will need to lobby the congress for new laws to insure the prisons are full of able bodied workers. And of course the lobbyists don’t work cheap; they have a large overhead in the moneys they must contribute to our elected legislator campaign fund.

The money travels from the taxpayer’s pocket to the government coffers, from the government coffers to “The Corrections Corporation of America” and then from their checking account back to the Colorado Legislator reelection fund, a vicious cycle that never ends. They are all so busy stuffing their pockets with the taxpayer’s money they have little left to correct the problems of the prisoners that got them the money in the first place.

In conclusion, with solutions; The unsuspecting, hardworking taxpayers have been taken for a ride for too long. It’s time we told the Prison Industrial Complex; “The Jig is Up.” It’s time for a revolution.

There is an old saying among the convicts; All the convicts in prison combined, never stole more money than one banker or corporation stole with one swipe of their pen. “While the poor man was out stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family, the banker was stealing the poor man’s house”.

One of the very best and clear examples I can give, happened right here in Colorado. For years and years the prisons have been filled with “Pot” smokers, the public was told; These are criminals, depraved drug addicts that will rob, steal and rape your daughter.

When the opposite was more true; ‘Pot” smokers are very relaxed, looking only for some Twinkies to munch on while watching cartoons.

And now that Colorado has de-criminalized marijuana, we are left with a bunch of taxpaying ‘Pot “smokers living normal lives, working and contributing to society. I’m sure that it’s not much consolation to all the men and women who suffered for years in prison, classified as a criminal, not to mention the families that were destroyed. Men and women who were filled with hate in this prison system, then released to commit a real crime.

Back in 1960, I was not taken as a hostage while touring the prison, but in 2015 we are all being held as hostage by the CCA (Private Prison Corp.) for our tax dollars.

You can help change that by contacting one of the local or national groups to end mass incarceration.

————–
About the author: David Anderson is an ex-convict, who had escaped from “Old Max” twice. He was serving three life sentences for crimes of which he was innocent. It took seven years for these convictions to be reversed. He walked out of the prison on April 29th 1983.

The Denver Islamophobes “Americans Against Terrorism” plan another rally calling for war, not peace, with Iran.

DENVER, COLORADO- In view of the anticipated US peace agreement with Iran, a Denver warmongering group Americans Against Terrorism (AAT) is planning a June 28 rally at the state capitol to reject any treaty which permits Iran to develop nuclear power. Their poster depicts a mushroom cloud over a Denver-flat metropolis, demonstrating that AAT knows exactly what it means to use terror and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Unsurprisingly, AAT didn’t have anything to say against the Charleston Church Shooting or other acts of domestic terrorism. (Or against racism.) AAT’s agenda has been to advance Israel’s interests, right now that’s drumming for war against Iran. Last year AAT rallied to support Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”, which left 2,300 Palestinians dead and another 10,800 injured. Most of the casualties were women and children. Recently, AAT joined the equally pro-Israel Stand-With-Us to counter a successful BDS ad campaign running on Denver RTD buses. That’s who is rallying for “peace” this Sunday. Fortunately real antiwar activists plan a counter-protest.

“Going postal” takes aeronautic twist: Campaign reform whoop-whoop de doo

Common American highschoolers have eclipsed what used to be the purvue of disgruntled post office workers: GOING POSTAL. Norwegian post-adolescent Anders Breivik could even be said to have “killed it”. So leave it to a mail carrier to set the new trend in making a mess of things to make a point. Retired mailman Doug Hughes thought outside the semi-automatic box to conceive an unconventional package delivery system for his letters to Congress. Hughes piloted a gyrocopter unto the White House grounds as his take on Mister Smith Goes to Washington and we wish him all the best. Hughes has a website The Democracy Club and because he didn’t kill anyone, or because his issue is merely campaign finance reform, the site was not taken down and the media is not calling his material a manifesto. Whoop-whoop whoop-whoop-de-doo. The White House nevertheless sidestepped the topic. When asked what President Obama thought of Hughes’ stunt to call for campaign finance reform, the president was said to remark: “what’s a gyrocopter?”

April 15: NYC took a bridge, Chicago & Seattle took the streets, Portland took Town Hall, and Denver took the cake

Photo by Laura Avant
DENVER, COLORADO- Yes, Denver’s FIGHT FOR FIFTEEN march kept to the sidewalks. When ISO members (organizing the local “15 NOW” group) pushed the boundaries, SEIU marshals criticized them not just for agitating, but for pushing their socialist agenda. Occupy Denver activists held a prominent banner which referenced reigning minimum wage champion Socialist Alternative. Most of the attendees were union members whose representatives have obviously failed to credit the SA party or Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant for the nation’s first $15 minimum wage victory. We fielded questions all evening from marchers eager to know if an SA chapter was brewing in Colorado.

TO BE FAIR, Denver’s march did take an adventurous turn, by Denver standards, but the rally began as might be expected from an event dominated by the SEIU and other corporate unions and their immobile nonprofit cohorts. Denver’s 4-15 rally started in the middle of CU-Denver’s Auraria campus, invisible from any street and unseeable to even partipants arriving, until they turned the corner to find it, behind the Tivoli Center.

Then organizers had a lineup of speakers which stretched well past expectations, trimming the crowd by over a third as supporters opted to slip away due to the unexpected cold front. Next participants were admonished to stick to the sidewalk, even on campus grounds, and applaud the police who’d agreed to permit the march. We were heading to a neighboring McDonalds, at least we were taking the scenic route.

Throughout the rally and march, a brass band played, and members of the local band Flobots led chants and songs. This lent a fun energy but it did preclude ordinary marchers speaking out or centering the vocal messaging on anything more than the generic themes of financial discontent. Even as crowds lingered in front of McDonalds, the band played on, when poignant denunciations might have provided a suitable climax.

Fortunately, a “Silver Brigade” had been deployed to patronize the fast food monster beforehand, to prevent managers from being able to lock the doors when the marchers arrived. McDs managers did lock the doors and they discussed a number of interesting defensive tactics under the noses of our operatives, but the managers were ultimately unable to refuse senior citizens demanding they be allowed to exit. This exit was timed to allow the Fight-for-Fifteen procession to march straight up to the counter, demanding a living wage, etc. Their objections heard, the marchers left and eventually crossed the street and dissolved into shortcuts through the Auraria campus.

(Note: My account of our inside job may appear indiscrete, but I include it purposefully. One, because even with advance knowledge it’s a difficult tactic to prevent, and two, because organizers of successive protests of establishments such as McDs need to include this tactic if they don’t want to remain locked out.)

Photo by Laura Avant
The highlight for me was infusing the event theme with the S-word. Desperate as they were today to fight for a living wage, vowing “we’ll be back” or else to “shut it down”, these union adherants will shortly become the usual Democrats, waving the Hillary banners, as if there was no alternative.

Whose fault is it that America’s minimum wage has been allowed to lapse below the poverty level? Is the responsibility not in part that of the unions’? The SEIU is driving the official “Fight for Fifteen” campaign, but only after socialists have led the way, as they did whenever the labor movement made its gains.

President Obama’s “off-script” SOTU rejoinder began with a scripted pause

SORRY FOLKS. If you think President Obama went “Off Script” at tonight’s State of the Union Address, ask yourself why he punctuated “I have no more campaigns to run” with a HANDS-CLASPED PAUSE. In the context of his prepared remarks, that sentence was a lead-in, not a paragraph unto itself. Watch it againt and you’ll see that Obama’s pause was a trap to goad opponents to applaud so that he could “ad-lib” his crowd-pleasing “I know because I won both of them.” Prescripted mishaps are common devices to garner sympathy for embattled performers. Given that White House speechwriters anticipated a hostile reception, you’d think they would otherwise avoid lines that fed the antipathy, especially a throw-away line of exposition. Both setup and punchline added no substance to Obama’s remarks, except to grandstand.

Film critics toe corporate line to re-kill messenger Gary Webb, after Hollywood

Gary Webb
AT BEST “KILL THE MESSENGER” portrays suspiciously deceased journalist Gary Webb as a heroic sleuth who refused to compromise his principles. At best, the film re-reports the enormous crime which Webb exposed in his series DARK ALLIANCE, that the CIA’s support of the Nicaraguan CONTRAs in the 1980s involved facilitating the smuggling of drugs into the US, in such large quantities as to precipitate the crack cocaine epidemic, delivered to our major inner cities by the CIA. UNFORTUNATELY the film muddies the crack connection, as Webb’s detractors did back then. Two deliberate plot omissions suggest this is probably not a coincidence.

Conveniently the screenplay ends before the years when Gary Webb was able to elaborate on those links. By then he’d lost his audience. Unfortunately the film that might have given his life’s work a main stage reprise chose not to go that far. Does it matter anymore? These days the CIA and its covert cohorts are understood to have authored a litany of unimaginable evils. So it’s not too early to demonize the CIA. Evidently someone thinks the American public is not ready to be shown the racist stratagems of corportate class war.

Exposing the genesis of the crack attack on African American ghettos is clearly a missed opportunity for a film in 2014. Given Ferguson. Given the rising awareness of our government’s coordinated and premeditated containment and criminalization of dark-skinned populations. Let’s remember that while the US was fighting Nicaraguan rebels, it was also at war with the Black Liberation Army. Funding and arming drug warlords was the same strategy Brazil used to administrate the favelas, via proxy gangs. One might say that LA’s Bloods and Crips played domestic Contras set loose to destabilize community building efforts by militant Black Power.

UNPARDONABLE however are the film’s departures from the truth, which paint a curious fiction as if to indemnify the national press from its complicity with the intelligence community. Two lies will stand out to anyone who was there. (Did the filmmakers think their audience would be only millennials?)

First, the San Jose Mercury News was hardly a “local news outlet” unfamiliar with handling national stories and unknown to the average reader. The Mercury News was an award winning paper which competed with metropolitan mastheads. I can’t imagine its employees aren’t indignant by the film’s yokel characterization. The Los Angeles Times’ vindictive campaign to defame Gary Webb was hardly driven by professional embarassment over a missed scoop.

Second, the Contra-CIA drug smuggling link was suspected well before Gary Webb brought it to the mainstream. I remember during the Iran-Contra Hearings a decade earlier, the alternative media often lamented that the official investigation had been narrowed to exclude mention of the cocaine connection.

These amendments might be excused for simplifying the plot except that they minimize the breadth of the corporate identity of Webb’s censors. How very 90s of this narrative to pretend that Capitalist media outlets compete for news scoops like highschoolers at a science olympics. Newspapers and networks have always only ever peddled the themes their owners dictate. Media consolidation has only meant the manufacturing of public consent has become more uniform, perfectly illustrated by the collusion of the tag-team that hit Gary Webb.

AND AFTER HOLLYWOOD FAILED GARY WEBB, the film critics were waiting with daggers.

David Denby begins his New Yorker review by associating KTM with other crusading journalist thrillers, “some depicting real events, some not”, then pointing to director Michael Cuesta’s “paranoid” TV work, finally contriving that the film botches “many contraditory assertions.” Um, sorry, neither. But I do worry that giving all thumbs down will succeed in scaring away viewers. Denby finishes by making it all about actor Jeremy Renner, un-ironically aping the campaign waged on Gary Webb, overtly described in the film, shifting the focus from the story to all about the messenger.

The Washington Post dispatched one-time Webb adversary Jeff Leen to reprise the hatchet job begun when Gary Webb broke the story. Labeling Webb as “no journalism hero”, Leen’s rebuttal hangs on the technicality that no CIA “employees” were implicated, ignoring what everyone knows post-Blackwater, post-Wikileaks, that the US has long outsourced its crimes, from torture to food service. Dimwit.

Hillary launches presidential bid in a duck barrel. Hard choices? Not peace.

Photoshopping the cover was evidently not a hard choiceIt would appear eternal candidate Hillary Clinton has launched her presidential bid into a barrel of ducks. She’s titled her campaign bio HARD CHOICES. Let’s see… Doing the right thing? Not really a hard choice. Favoring human rights? Not a hard choice. Peace? Social Justice? Humanity? Morality? These are not hard choices. For a warmongering sociopath, ok, impossible. Jailing bankers or war criminals? That should be no choice at all. For an informed public, rejecting another oligarch figurehead, even in the guise of electing a woman president, should not be a hard choice.

Colo. Springs peaceniks, Unitarians and NAACP fall for latest Africom campaign

They fell for Darfur and Kony (and Obama!) and now the Colorado Springs social justice community confirms that the city’s national repution for dim-bulbedness doesn’t reflect just its conservatives. Even the dissenting voice in this belly of the US military-judeo-christian-racist beast, is pro-imperial, toe-the-line, neoliberal dumbass. They’re against war and injustice, they even understand illegal war, but cloak it in terms of “intervention” and they stand beside their warmonger neighbors cheerleading for US aggression in Sudan, Libya, Syria, and wherever Pax Americana dictates we bomb in Africa. Where the local armed-forces community might be slow on the uptake regarding a Democratic president’s pandering to transnational corporate needs, the Springs peacekeeping Left will lead the way. On Monday, the usual shepherds of non-confrontational conformity held a vigil for the Lost Girls of Sudan -pardon- Nigeria, echoing the White House call to #bringbackourgirls. Unlike authentic antiwar vigils, this action got press, quelle surprise, from the media war machine! Congratulations AFRICOM-dupes! Nevermind non-American girls lost to US collateral malfeasance, no official hashtag for them, ergo no Springs peacenik campaign that would give a conscience indigestion.
 
Would we care more if the 267 kidnapped schoolgirls were not black? (!) If they were white they wouldn’t be from a country we’re trying to destabilize.

Want to save Nigerian girls? Buy them! But first ask who is abducting whom?

Western interest are desperate to create public consent for airstrike interventions in Africa, having failed with their KONY 2012 campaign, the Rwanda remembrance handwringing, ad infinitum. Now Nigerian insurgents have thwarted a military “rescue” of two hundred schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram by announcing that the girls will be put up for sale. The western media is spinning a horror story of sexual bondage while trying to ignore the obvious solution: purchase the girls. It’s even cheaper than euthanizing them with drone strikes. The US kills dark-skinned children by the thousands without a care. I have yet to hear anyone consider the circumstance of these Nigerian schoolgirls before they were abducted? Can we know the Chibok girls weren’t repossessed by dissident factions of their own communities? The White House hashtag campaign #bringbackourgirls seems dreadfully Freudian. The kidnapped girls were liberated from our clutches and we want them back. BOKO HARAM is an Islamic movement which opposes Western indoctrination. While it’s labeled “terrorist” outside of Africa, certainly its methods are no worse than those of the Western-imposed dictators ravaging Africa for corporate extraction interests. Western schools in Africa are entry points for providing the labor pools for Capitalism. Are African children better off in our recruiting mechanisms or out of them?

Ludlow 100 year anniversary feted by social class that committed massacre

Cover of WestwordDENVER, COLO.- I might be sensationalizing a technicality, but in effect it’s what happened: the remembering of Ludlow has been commandeered by the class who perpetrated it. The preliminary series of events commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre (April 20, 1914) concluded tonight at Denver’s History Colorado Museum with a panel discussion featuring only establishment voices. “Is Ludlow relevant?” was the question posed to five participants among them three professors, a soldier, and a union rep. That’s like asking “is global warming real?” The question is loaded with the suggestion that the opposite is equally plausible. I would have preferred to hear HOW is Ludlow relevant. Though the union rep skillfully skirted the issue, no one pushed back at another flawed presumption, that the coal strike was an armed conflict. Yes the massacre provoked the ten day “Coal Field War” during which striking miners retaliated against the mine company employees, but the death toll was still but a fraction of the number of miners killed in the mine accidents which precipitated the Ludlow strike. It took an audience member to address that omission. Alas nobody mentioned the aftermath that found many miners under arrest, others scattered, and no mine owner, operator, guard, strikebreaker, Baldwin-Felts thug, or National Guard save one, was punished for the atrocity. Yes many immigrant miners were veterans of Bulkan wars, but some Colorado soldiers were veterans of the US campaign in the Philippines, where villages were dispatched with flame and machinegun fire. Not mentioned. Instead a Colorado National Guard representative was let to say that burning the tents at Ludlow was not a tactical error -and since the “non-combatant” deaths were unintended, Ludlow was not technically a massacre.

Pueblo museum excises Mine Workers Union from Ludlow Massacre exhibit!


PUEBLO, COLORADO- 2014 marks one hundred years since the Ludlow Massacre of 1914. A variety of commemorations are planned before the formal anniversary on April 20. I attended one such event on Wednesday, a lecture by a CSU professor to footnote the “Children of Ludlow” exhibit at El Pueblo History Museum. I’m always excitied when attention is paid to Ludlow, a subject regularly left out of American schoolbooks, but I was disappointed to find key elements of labor history excised from the museum’s narrative. Literally. The United Mine Workers of America, the organization central to the strike, which supplied the tent city, and which even today maintains the memorial site, was mentioned only once, IN FINE PRINT! The Ludlow miners voted to strike because the mining companies refused to recognize the UMWA. Unmentioned. The horrors of the atrocity were not tempered, in their explicitness perhaps we think them enough, but there was also the apologist suggestion that some culpability belonged to the miners. I questioned one curator who admitted they were at pains to keep the story “balanced” and that the squeakiest wheel thus far has been the National Guard. Apparently the Guard is offended that its role will be misconstrued. What balance do they want, I wondered. Had they lost children in the “battlezone” too?

Children are at the heart of commemorating Ludlow and at the heart of this preversion of the massacre’s memory. Were they recklessly endangered by their parents and union organizers? Were they dragged into a battlezone? The museum seems to suggest as much, highlighting the beligerence of the miners, mischaracterizing the soldiers, and leaving the union actions largely unexplained.

First I’d like to declare how I tire of the objective irrelevance which results when academics seek the approval of government technocrats. I am also disturbed by educators who pretend blindness to subtle inferences which shape a political takeaway. To them, “remembering” Ludlow seems sufficient in itself. I can hardly see the point to remembering Ludlow unless we have discerned its lessons. Until we are remembering the LESSONS OF LUDLOW, our educators’ self-proclaimed raison d’etre will be self-fulfilling: “history will repeat itself.” This Pueblo exhibit suggests no lesson other than the exploitation of tragedy, and leaves me fearful about the Ludlow commemorations to follow. The anti-union, pro-military climate which prevails these hundred years since the massacre will make for a travesty of a remembrance unless someone with a worker’s perspective speaks up.

NOT BROUGHT TO YOU BY…
Let’s start with this exhibit, which alas has already escaped critique since September. Its full title, as evidenced in the photo above: “Black Hills Energy presents: Children of Ludlow, Life in a Battlezone, 1913-1914.”

I’ll bet curators thought it a measure of truth and reconciliation that the Ludlow presentation was sponsored by a local extraction industry business. Black Hills Energy trades not in coal but natural gas. In fact they’re among the frackers tearing up Southeastern Colorado. I think the irony more likely suggests how the UMWA’s starring role was left on the cutting room floor. There are generic mentions of “the union”, as at right, keeping a ledger of which families were assigned tents, but only in the fine print is the UMWA named as owning the ledger.

BATTLEZONES
More troubling is the skewed framing of the museum’s narrative. It begins with the subtitle, “life in a battlezone.” That’s taking a rather curious liberty don’t you think? The event we accept now as “Ludlow” became a battlezone on April 20, and the regional Coal Field War which followed was a battlezone to which both revenge-seekers and militia thronged, but the tent colonies in which 12,000 lived, 9,000 of whom were the children of the title role, were camps full of families. That they were straffed regularly by the guards makes them shooting galleries not battlegrounds.

Calling Ludlow a battlezone is like calling Sand Creek a “collision” or calling the Middle East a “conflict”. All of these mask the role of the aggressor.

I will credit the curators for offering a candid detail of horrific import. In a description of the day before the massacre, when the Greeks among the immigrants were celebrating Greek Easter, mention is made of the mounted National Guards offered this taunt: “You enjoy your roast today; we will have ours tomorrow.” No one should deny today that the events of April 20, which culminated in the torching of the tents and asphyxiation of women and children, was a premeditated act.

THE CHILDREN
Should the miners have put their children in harm’s way by defying the mining companies? How could they not? As immigrants they didn’t have nearby relatives to foster their children away from the random bullets. Also left unsaid by the display: many of the children had already been working in the mines and counted among those on strike. This was before child labor reforms.

Curiously, the exhibit did include a famous photograph of the notorious activist Mother Jones leading a childrens’ march through Trinidad. The caption explained that Jones wasn’t above using real children to advance the cause of Colorado’s coal miners.” Emphasis mine. While technically true in a modern context, it’s probably disingenuous to imply someone is using the children when a key issue of the demonstration is CHILD LABOR.

No really. Mother Jones was leading a march of children, many of them workers of the mines, for the reform of labor practices which abused children. This and subsequent campaigns eventually led to child labor laws. Is saying “Mother Jones wasn’t above using children” in any way an accurate characterization?

Compounding the inference that the Children of Ludlow were jeopardized for the cause, was the implication that the miners were combatants who contributed to the battlezone. As the displays progressed in chronological order, the first weapon on display was a rifle used by the miners. Immediately behind it was an enlarged photograph vividly depicting miners posed with two identical specimens.

Moving along the exhibit chronologically, anticipating the rising violence, the museum goers is apparently supposed to register that the strikers were firing too, if not first. Recent historical accounts have deliberated about who fired first. I think the motive is suspiciously revisionist in view of today’s dogma of nonviolence absolutism: if your protest devolves into violence, you deserve every bit of the beating you get.

Whenever it was that the miners began firing, the single militia and three guard casualties were not recorded until after the massacre took place, belying the narrative that the miners invited the massacre. Witnesses conflict about when the three union leaders were executed. I’ll give the museum credit for defying the National Guard in summarizing that among the casualties, three of the miners were “executed”.

PARITY OF WEAPONS
Students of the Ludlow accounts know that many of the miners were better riflemen than the soldiers. Many were immigrants who’d served in Bulkan wars and outmatched Colorado’s green guardsmen. That is not to suggest that the miners and their harrassers were equally armed, yet…

The only other weapon on display is a rifle of vintage used by the national guard. It shares a case with a uniform and sabre, lending it official authority. Also, the rifle is not presented as having been used at Ludlow, so it doesn’t project an aura of culpability. Missing is the machine gun depicted in the photograph of the machine gun nest which fired down upon the camp. It’s depicted with a caption about the Guard being a welcome presence. Missing too is the armored car dubbed the “Death Special”. Obviously the armor protected its operators from being hit by striking-miner bullets as it drove through the canvas encampment, straffing the tents with its mounted machine gun.

HUMANIZING THE PERP
Right after the photo of armed miners was the display at right, with a very contrived bit of spin catering to today’s military families. Although the photo shows soldiers actively aiming their gun at the camp, the caption assures us that the “Ludlow families feel relief with the arrival of National Guard”. This supposition is based on the fact that when the soldiers first arrived they were serenaded with the “Battle Cry of Freedom” and greeted with American flags. Most of the miners being immigrants, they were eager to show their patriotism, but the conclusion drawn here is a terrible mendacity. The miners and union organizers knew full well the purpose of the National Guard. They knew the strikebreaking role it played in famous strikes of the past. The miners feted the soldiers hoping to sway them from their eventual task. Protesters of all eras hold out this hope every time they face riot police.

A following paragraph suggested that by the time the massacre was committed, most of the soldiers had been mustered out and replaced with militia members and company guards. This is slight of hand. After the official inquiry, which was prompted by the public outcry, twenty National Guard soldiers were court martialed. All were acquitted. Is the Guard wanting us to believe they were acquitted because they weren’t there?

This attempt to put a friendly face on the National Guard, coupled with an abdication of effort to give the union its due, seems engineered to appeal to the average Pueblan of today, many probably related to an active-duty soldier and long since indoctrinated against evil unions. When I asked the lecturer about the omission of the UMWA, she prefaced her answer for the audience, explaining that unions of old were not like those despised today. I told her I thought failing to describe the hows and whys of the strike was a real teaching opportunity missed.

HISTORY COLORADO
It’s probably important to point out that the Ludlow presentation at the History Museum was developed with the assistance of History Colorado, which finally shuttered a contested display: a Sand Creek Massacre exhibit with a similar flavor of whitewash. Like labeling Ludlow a battlezone, History Colorado tried to typify Sand Creek as a “collision.”

Also typical of History Colorado is the propensity to address their exhibits to children. Programming for school bus visits invariably dumbs down what can be presented and I hardly think the compromise is worth it. If children ran the world, maybe Disney versions of history would suffice.

I’d like to have seen it highlighted that the Ludlow miners were mainly immigrants who were looked down upon by the residents of Colorado. If the museum audience were the “Children of Ludlow” in the extended sense, as a few descendants probably were, more of us were the children of the soldiers of Ludlow, or the citizens who cheered them on, or joined the militia or built the armored car at Rockefeller’s Pueblo factory. If we’re going to remember Ludlow, we ought to remember our role in it so we don’t do that again. It’s easy to pretend we were the martyrs. In all probability that’s who we will be if the lessons of Ludlow are discarded.

Occupy Denver: not as badass as they pretend to be

DPD interrupt Occupy Denver protest at the Tattered Cover Bookstore
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy activists were making their usual cacophony on Friday night when Denver police cruisers began converging into a familiar disproportionate show of force. Experienced skirmishers though Occupiers are, we couldn’t help whispering to each other as we watched more DPD officers accumulate on foot from vehicles yet unseen. The unintended effect of course was that our chanting diminished as the tension rose and Denver onlookers were treated to a literal illustration of the chilling effect of police intimidation. To make matters more embarassing, Occupy was shouting that we would not be silenced! By the time police were trooping upon us there was no sound but DPD boot steps and our “cameras on, everybody, cameras on.”

Our Friday night boycott of the Tattered Cover Bookstore is part of an OD operation to pressure downtown businesses to withdraw their support for the city’s urban camping ban, an ordinance which in effect criminalizes the homeless. The Tattered Cover claims to have asserted neutrality on the city’s decision to forbid sleeping and sheltering in public, but OD stands with Howard Zinn when he claimed “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.” Silence is consent. Injustice prevails when good people say nothing, yada yada. So it’s the Tattered Cover’s turn to step up to what is everyone’s responsibility. OD invited the Tattered Cover to sign a letter rescinding their support for the inhumane ordinance, but the Tattered Cover’s owner held to her obstinence. She was confident that her customers would have sympathy for her business’s precarious balancing act with the community’s unchristian conservatives. If the Tattered Cover wants to put business over doing the right thing, OD concluded that a boycott could provide the commensurate incentive.

A boycott strategy has worked twice before on this campaign. Actually, boycotts and pickets seldom fail. The global have-nots owe everything to street protest. Grown prosperous, middle America has been shorn of this wisdom. Most Americans do not know what protest is about, thus Friday nights in downtown Denver are also a teaching moment for Occupy. Pardon the inconvenience people of Denver, you’re welcome.

To be fair, for the uninitiated, protests are a messy, noisy thing.

As this Friday evening progressed, occupiers suspected the police were going to make an issue of the serenading, it was self-evidently less melodious than the previous weeks. Earlier we noticed officers dispatched in pairs into multiple directions seeking interviewees from among our audience. But we did not expect a DPD delegation to descend upon us at troop strengh. We began shouting down the DPD as their commander shouted “Can everybody hear me?” What authority had officers to interrupt our constitutional right to assemble? It is amply documented that when activists attempt to interrupt the meetings of others, with Occupy’s “mic check” for example, we are escorted from the room with rough haste.

In Occupy’s defense Friday night, we didn’t submit ourselves to being lectured about “what you are free to do etc, etc.” We knew our rights. We also suspected a noise complaint before the hour of 10pm was of dubious legitimacy. We did however accept an abridgement of our free speech, for the sake of, let’s call it, detente. Because it was dark and we were outnumbered.

A few Occupiers were not happy about being made to relinquish megaphones and drums on the trumped-up premise of signed noise complaints. The officers had obviously solicited the complaints; they had not been dispatched in response to any. Some Occupy wild cannons threatened to upset our disarmament truce. Our hushed reproaches become the next inadvertent impediment to regaining a chant momentum.

In debriefing it was agreed that the more impertinent among us are precious resources Occupy should not make a habit of quashing. When demonstrator numbers are enough to effect unarrests, we’ll have occasion to reject civil liberty infringing ultimatums and encourage the pushing of limits beyond the habitual collective consensus comfort level. This security culture indiscretion about protest strategy is tendered here as an encoded call to action.

BUT SERIOUSLY, what do you make of the Denver Police Department’s exagerated show of numbers at the Friday night action? It was the usual DPD MO in the heydays of Occupy, and it’s what they are throwing now at the Anonymous “Every 5th” resurgence, but what about OD’s campaign -to repeal the Urban Camping Ban- could have provoked a law enforcement surge aimed at its decisive truncation?

WHO KNEW a picket of such limited scope could draw such ire. We aren’t threatening Capitalism or banks or energy infrastructure, or DPD’s favorite, FTP.

However hypocritical and exceptionalist the Tattered Cover is behaving, I don’t believe they requested DPD’s move. But I don’t doubt the Downtown Business Partnership is fearful that the famed independent bookstore might cave to protester demands at which point the DBP’s mandate will lose its liberal cover. They know the inevitability of boycott victories, they’re business people.