Coalition Appeals City’s Incomplete “Conditional Alternative Permit” For RNC March

Affiliate: ACLU of Minnesota
March 6, 2008 12:00 am

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St. Paul, MN – Cooperating attorneys for the ACLU of Minnesota and the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild today filed an appeal to the St. Paul City Council on behalf of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, challenging the conditions imposed by the City of St. Paul on the “Conditional Alternative Permit” that was granted to the Coalition earlier this week. The appeal challenges the failure of the City to grant the Coalition the permit that was requested due to the imposition of conditions on the permit which are not authorized by city ordinance. “The permit that we received is substantially different from the one that was requested, so we are asking the City Council to protect our constitutional rights,” said Coalition member Marie Braun. The “Conditional Alternative Permit” issued to the Coalition completely omitted any reference to important details such as a march route within sight and sound of the convention. “Tens of thousands of people will be coming from the Midwest and around the country to protest the illegal and immoral war against Iraq. We need these important details as soon as possible so we can work out the logistics of moving 50,000 people through the streets of St. Paul in a safe manner,” Braun added.

In addition to failing to grant the permit requested, the permit imposes additional conditions in the form of police guidelines that conflict with the City’s ordinance and violate the First Amendment. The appeal questions the validity of making the Coalition’s permit subject to the guidelines. Among other things, the guidelines extend the timeline for establishing the particulars of the permit until May 31st. That date is far beyond the 21 day permit deadline in the ordinance and thereby imposes severe time constrainsts on the ability of the Coalition to initiate a legal challenge in the event that the final route or conditions are unconstitutional. After an appeal is filed, the City Council must act on it at the next scheduled meeting – in this case on March 12th at 3:30 PM.

Cooperating attorneys representing the Coalition include Robert J. Hennessey, Lindquist & Vennum PLLP; Bruce Nestor, De Leon & Nestor; David B. Potter, Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP; Howard Bass, Bass Law Firm; and Jordan Kushner, Kushner Law Office. Professor Raleigh Levine from William Mitchell College of Law has been consulting on the case.

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