Silenced: White House Policy Illegally Silences Americans Critical of Bush

Document Date: June 27, 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit against Gregory Jenkins, a former high-level White House staffer who enacted a policy that unlawfully excluded individuals perceived to be critical of the administration from public events where President Bush was present. The policy is laid out in an October 2002 “Presidential Advance Manual” obtained by the ACLU.

The ACLU filed today’s lawsuit, Rank v. Jenkins, after obtaining a heavily redacted version of the Presidential Advance Manual from the Justice Department. This manual is the Bush administration’s guide for planning presidential events around the country, and it repeatedly instructs organizers about “the best method for preventing demonstrators,” “deterring potential protestors from attending events,” “designat[ing] a protest area . . . preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route,” and the like.

The lawsuit names as plaintiffs Jeff and Nicole Rank, who were arrested at a Fourth of July presidential appearance at the West Virginia State Capitol because they were wearing T-shirts critical of the president, and Alex Young and Leslie Weise, Denver residents who were thrown out of a town hall meeting with President Bush because they had an anti-war bumper sticker on their car.


To see excerpts from the Presidential Advance Manual,
mouse over the highlighted text.


Nicole and Jeff Rank wearing the T-shirts that caused their arrest and removal from the West Virginia Capitol grounds in 2004.

> ACLU Calls Government Settlement in Anti-Bush T-Shirt Case a Victory for Free Speech (8/16/2007)
> Interview with ACLU Attorney Jonathan Miller
> White House Policy Illegally Silences Americans Critical of Bush, ACLU Charges (6/28/2007)
> ACLU Sues White House Staffers for Ejecting Denver Residents from Bush Event (3/15/2007)
> Secret Service and White House Charged with Violating Free Speech Rights in ACLU Lawsuit (9/14/2004)

> Joint Stipulation of Dismissal with Predjudice
> Rank v. Jenkins – Complaint

> Office of Presidential Advance – Presidential Advance Manual