takes legal action for right to hold
Mumia encampment in Philadelphia
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ACTION CENTER, :
Plaintiff, : CIVIL ACTION NO. _____
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, :
JOHN STREET, sued in his official :
capacity as Mayor of the City of :
Philadelphia, and JOSEPH MARTZ, sued :
in his official capacity as Managing :
Director of the City of Philadelphia, :
OF LAW AND SUPPORTING AUTHORITY
International Action Center (IAC) has applied for a permit to hold a
48 hour vigil outside City Hall, at Dilworth Plaza, in opposition to
the impending execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Supported by International
Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Free Mumia Coalition,
the IAC plans to rally those persons who are outraged by the wrongful
conviction of Mr. Abu-Jamal and who want to express their views that
the state must stop its efforts to put Mr. Abu-Jamal to death, that
it is committing a human rights violation of the greatest magnitude.
Plaintiff's rally will also commemorate and protest the 16th anniversary
of the killing of women, men, and children in the MOVE bombing of May
13, 1985 by Philadelphia authorities.
The very entity whom the IAC challenges in this political protest, the
City of Philadelphia, has determined that it will not allow the IAC
to engage in round-the-clock vigiling. Further, it has truncated the
hours that it will allow the IAC to engage in expressive activity at
The City has failed to promulgate standards or narrowly tailored regulations
to govern the grant and denial of permits, and its determination restricting
the IAC's ability to engage in constitutionally protected activities
are arbitrary and based on the unbridled discretion of the City's decisionmakers.
The City is discriminatorily restricting the political activities of
plaintiff, towards whom the City has obvious political disagreement
and animosity, while having previously granted to a favored political
group, the Republican Party, permission to use the same public space
without similar restrictions.
It has done so in contravention of the First and Fourteenth Amendments
and in violation of the Permanent Injunction issued against defendants
in Pledge of Resistance v. We the People 200, Inc., CA 87-3975 (1988).
I. Plaintiffs Are Likely to Prevail on the Merits
A. The City of Philadelphia Is Violating the Pledge of Resistance Permanent
Injunction by Which it is Bound
IAC is seeking to assemble in an around-the-clock 48-hour vigil on the
public plaza immediately adjacent to Philadelphia's City Hall, a location
abutting the seat of city government, and notably, abutting the location
at which Mr. Abu-Jamal was wrongfully convicted. The IAC plans to engage
in quintessentially public speech and political protest to oppose the
putting to death of Mr. Abu-Jamal.
By operation of the Permanent Injunction entered in Pledge of Resistance,
v. We the People 200, Inc., defendants are permanently enjoined from
preventing, "individuals or groups from... assembling...on streets,
sidewalks, parks or other areas open to the public, so long as such
activities do not involve breaches of the peace, and do not actually
interfere with similar activity by others, or with public events then
The City of Philadelphia is placing greater restrictions on the IAC's
use of this public space, known as Dilworth Plaza, than it has placed
on other favored permittees who have been granted use of Dilworth Plaza.
It is doing so in the absence of any standards or regulations to reign
in its administrators' and officers' unfettered discretion and discriminatory
The Supreme Court has long recognized the critical importance of access
to public space for the purpose of engaging in freedom of expression:
"[T]he streets and parks...have immemorially been held in trust
for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for
the purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and
discussing public questions. Such use of the streets and public places
has, from ancient times, been a part of the privileges, immunities,
rights, and liberties of citizens." Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496,
B. The City of Philadelphia Employs a Licensing Scheme for Constitutionally
Protected Speech that is Facially Invalid and Lacks Adequate Procedural
and Substantive Safeguards as Required by the First Amendment
The City of Philadelphia requires that any entity who seeks to assemble
and occupy, march or proceed along any street must apply for and receive
a written permit, unless that entity is affiliated with the military,
fire, or police forces, or is part of funeral procession. §12-1109
[Permits Required for Parades, Processions and Assemblages]. There is
no similar requirement in Philadelphia's code for assemblages in public
spaces that are not on streets. Assemblies are governed by the Pledge
of Resistance Order.
Nowhere in either the code, nor in any Executive Order, does the city
promulgate permit procedures or regulations regarding or encompassing
entities who may wish to engage in vigiling, demonstrations, or other
First Amendment protected activities. The City has by Executive Order
effective May 1, 1993, required that entities wishing to hold "special
events," must apply for a "special events" permit 75
days prior to the first day of the event. By practice not codified,
the City requires that entities who wish to engage in constitutionally
protected activities such as demonstrations or assemblies be subject
to the "special events" application process and requirements.
As discussed below, the Special Events Policy cannot by intention or
practice constitutionally apply to First Amendment protected activities.
However, the government has required that plaintiff seek permission
for such activity by filling out a "special events" application.
By requiring this licensing scheme, by which the government grants or
denies permission to engage in protected speech, the City of Philadelphia
has effected prior restraints on speech.
[Requiring a permit] before authorizing public speaking, parades, or
assemblies in 'the archetype of a traditional public forum,' Frisby
v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474, 480 (1988), is a prior restraint on speech,
see Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, 394 U.S. 147, 150-151 (1969); Niemotko
v. Maryland, 340 U.S. 268, 271 (1951). Although there is a 'heavy presumption'
against the validity of a prior restraint, Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan,
372 U.S. 58, 70 (1963), the Court has recognized that government, in
order to regulate competing uses of public forums, may impose a permit
requirement on those wishing to hold a march, parade, or rally, see
Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569, 574 (1941). Such a scheme, however,
must meet certain constitutional requirements. It may not delegate overly
broad licensing discretion to a government official. See Freedman v.
Maryland, supra. Further, any permit scheme controlling the time, place,
and manner of speech must not be based on the content of the message,
must be narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest,
and must leave open amply alternatives for communication. See United
States v. Grace, 461 U.S. 171, 177 (1983).
Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123, 130 (1992).
While requiring plaintiff to apply for a permit, the City of Philadelphia
has failed to promulgate any time, place or manner regulations and has
thus delegated standardless discretion to its licensing authorities
who, further, have granted and denied permits and access to public property
on content based, non-neutral terms. Time, place and manner restrictions
are allowed only where there are narrowly tailored standards that accommodate
coordination among competing use of public forums and that are sufficiently
binding on government to prevent an arbitrary or discriminatory exercise
of discretion. See, Forsyth County, 505 U.S. 123.
The presence of written and codified rules and ordinances assures uniform
applicability and prevents the instinctive impulse of decisionmakers
to grant more favorable terms and conditions (and less restrictions)
to more favored political groups and entities.
I. The City's Licensing Scheme Allows for Unbridled Discretion and Provides
No Affirmative Regulations
The process by which the City of Philadelphia has vested authority in
itself to determine whether or not to grant such permits is constitutionally
untenable. There are no regulations governing restrictions on activities,
there are no rules, no standards promulgated. There are no reasonable
time, place or manner restrictions. Even to the extent that the City
is attempting to regulate expressive activity under its Special Events
Policy, that Executive Order provides, in part, "Section I. Rules
and Regulations. The committee may establish rules and regulations for
the use of public property. Such rules and regulations shall become
effective following the procedure set forth in the Philadelphia Home
Rule Charter, and shall be enforced as regulations of the City."
No such rules have been promulgated.
The Policy further states, "Time Restrictions. The Committee may
place reasonable time restrictions on the issuance of special events
permits, including without limitation a prior notice requirement, first-come,
first-served scheduling, limitations on frequency of use, and limitation
of permits to normal operating hours for City property." Putting
aside whether such restrictions, including frequency of use and normal
operating hour restrictions, would be constitutionally permitted when
applied to First Amendment protected activity, no such restrictions
or regulations have been promulgated.
The City's failure to provide standards, instead allowing the Committee
to exercise its discretion within these generalized categories, cannot
withstand constitutional review. The Supreme Court has long held unspecific
grants of authority to be unconstitutional. For example, in the context
of a standardless sound amplification ordinance, the Supreme Court held
that such a standardless law is:
"unconstitutional on its face, for it establishes a previous restraint
on the right of free speech in violation of the First Amendment which
is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment against State action. To use
a loud-speaker or amplifier one has to get a permit from the Chief of
Police. There are not standards prescribed for the exercise of his discretion.
The statute is not narrowly drawn to regulate the hours or places of
use of loud-speakers, or the volume of sound (the decibels) to which
they must be adjusted. The ordinance therefore has all the vices of
the ones which we struck down [previously]. Saia v. New York, 334 U.S.
558, 559-60 (1948)
Finally, the Special Events Policy details in a separate section, only
six enumerated circumstances where the Special Events Committee may
deny or revoke a special event permit, none of which were referenced
or cited for the denial of the permit to engage in expressive activity.
The City has failed to promulgate standards that guide both applicants
and the licensing decisionmakers. Applicants are entitled to know what
activities the government will allow or disallow so that they may plan
accordingly, and so that they may challenge regulations they believe
are unconstitutional restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly.
Decisionmakers require clear standards to bind their discretion and
eliminate prejudice (whether conscious or unconscious) in the granting
of permits. As the Court in Shuttlesworth noted, "a law subjecting
the exercise of First Amendment freedoms to the prior restraint of a
license" must contain "narrow, objective, and definite standards
to guide the licensing authority." Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham,
394 U.S. 147,150-151 (1969).
The Supreme Court has specified for more than a half-century the dangers
and unconstitutional nature of the failure to promulgate standards in
relation to access to public space:
"[T]his Court [has] condemned statutes and ordinances which required
that permits be obtained from local officials as a prerequisite to the
use of public places, on the grounds that a license requirement constituted
a prior restraint on freedom of speech, press and religion, and, in
the absence of narrowly drawn, reasonable and definite standards for
the officials to follow, must be invalid. [citation omitted] In the
instant case we are met with no ordinance or statute regulating or prohibiting
the use of the park; all that is here is an amorphous 'practice,' whereby
all authority to grant permits for the use of the park is in the Park
Commissioner and the City Council. No standards appear anywhere; no
narrowly drawn limitations; nor circumscribing of this absolute power;
no substantial interest of the community to be served. It is clear that
all that has been said about the invalidity of such limitless discretion
must be equally applicable here."
Niemotko v. Maryland, 340 U.S. 268, 271-72 (1951)
"[T]he absence of express standards makes it difficult to distinguish,
'as applied,' between a licensor's legitimate denial of a permit and
its illegitimate abuse of censorial power. Standards provide the guideposts
that check the licensor and allow courts quickly and easily to determine
whether the licensor is discriminating against disfavored speech. Without
these guideposts, post hoc rationalizations by the licensing official
and the use of shifting or illegitimate criteria are far too easy, making
it difficult for courts to determine in any particular case whether
the licensor is permitting favorable, and suppressing unfavorable, expression....In
sum, without standards to fetter the licensor's discretion, the difficulties
of proof and the case-by-case nature of 'as applied' challenges render
the licensor's action in large measure effectively unreviewable."
Lakewood v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. 486 U.S. 750, 758-59 (1988)
"Broad prophylactic rules in the area of free expression are suspect....Precision
of regulation must be the touchstone in an area so closely touching
our most precious freedoms." NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 83
S. Ct. 328 (1963). See, also, Gannett Satellite Information Network
v. Berger, 894 F.2d 61 (3rd Cir. 1990)(regulation facially invalid where
it fails to set forth standards by which authority is to exercise discretion
and provides no affirmative guidelines)
In the instant case, on April 2, 2001, defendant notified plaintiff
IAC verbally that it was going to deny a permit for the 48 hour vigil,
but would grant a 24 hour vigil including overnight use. Plaintiff attempted
to contest and discuss this decision with defendants who were unwilling
to provide any rationale for their decisions. Thereafter the IAC was
called to a meeting on April 26, 2001 in Philadelphia and informed that
it would not be allowed to hold an overnight vigil at all over the period
of May 11-13, 2001. At no point has the City ever provided such denial
in writing, nor has it ever pointed to any authority for its denial.
It simply called in the plaintiff's representatives and denied/revoked
their vigiling permit. It also restricted the other hours that the IAC
could engage in expressive activity on Dilworth Plaza.
The only rationalizations provided to date for the denial of vigiling
at Dilworth Plaza is that the City claims it has not previously granted
overnight use permits, and that the City has unspecified concerns about
pigeon excrement at city hall. No written explanations exist as a basis
for the denial.
ii. The City's Licensing Scheme Places No Restrictions on the Time Frame
for Granting or Denying Permits and No Obligations to Provide Written
The City's permit scheme provides no procedural safeguards with regard
to the granting of permits or notice of denial. In addition to the failure
to promulgate narrowly tailored rules for the granting or denial of
permits, the City has failed to place limitations on the time in which
determinations must be made and fails to require that explanation of
denials be made in writing.
"Our cases addressing prior restraints have identified two evils
that will not be tolerated in such schemes. First, a scheme that places
'unbridles discretion in the hands of a government official or agency
constitutes a prior restraint and may result in censorship.'... Second,
a prior restraint that fails to place limits on the time within which
the decisionmaker must issue the license is impermissible..... Where
the licensor has unlimited time within which to issue a license, the
risk of arbitrary suppression is as great as the provision of unbridled
discretion. A scheme that fails to set reasonable time limits on the
decisionmaker creates the risk of indefinitely suppressing permissible
speech." FW/PBS, Inc. v. Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 225-27 (1990) [citations
By not requiring a time frame within which to provide information, the
City hinders applicants from organizing and should they organize, it
puts them at risk for sudden cancellation.
C. The Special Events Permitting Process Through Which Defendants Required
Plaintiff to Apply for the Right to Engage in Expressive Activity Does
Not and Can Not Apply to First Amendment Protected Activity
Special Events permitting process to which defendants direct those wishing
to engage in expressive activity, explicitly states that its purpose
is not merely to coordinate events but to "recapture some of the
high costs of staging such events." See Special Events Policy Overview.
The Policy Overview requires that anyone wishing to engage in expressive
activity on public space apply for a permit at least 75 days in advance.
(See Policy Overview), and submit a $20.00 check. If the "sponsor"
of the special event wishes to obtain a permit for activity less than
75 days in advance, then the policy states that the applicant must pay
a $25.00 late fee.
It states that the "Special Events Review Committee will review
the application and determine whether to approve the event based on
pre-set criteria set forth in Mayor's Executive Order No.6-93."
As discussed above, the Mayor's Executive Order fails to set forth clear
standards or criteria for decisionmaking regarding time, place, or manner
The Policy further orders that, "If approved, the Committee will
present the sponsor with a list of requirements that must be met prior
to the event. This may include security and sanitation requirements,
EMS services, reimbursement for City costs and fees, property rental
fees, and insurance and bonding requirements. At least 10 days before
the event, the sponsor must post a bond or cashier's check in the amount
of the estimated cost of City services and other sums due the city for
Additionally, the City requires that permittees "reimburse the
City for all personnel costs expanded for the event over and above normal
City staffing levels [which include] Police, public health, sanitation,
and Department of Public Property personnel....For example, if the Police
Department normally has two officers in the area where an event will
be held, but must assign five officers to the area because of the event,
the sponsor must pay the cost of the additional three officers."
The only exception made for reimbursement of costs is if the applicant
is a tax exempt organization or community group with 35 or more City
residents that earns no profit and if it contributes 90% or more of
its gross revenues to a Public Interest Organization; or if "certain
sponsors" "prov[e] to the Special Events Committee's satisfaction
that they are truly unable to pay those fees." See Special Events
Defendants may not place such costs on those wishing to engage in constitutionally
protected speech. These restrictions cannot even begin to pass constitutional
muster. See Forsyth County, 505 U.S. 123 (1992).
In the instant case, the City also demanded that the IAC secure a one
million dollar insurance certificate, naming the City as an insured,
in order to be allowed to engage in expressive activity. The IAC did
so. See attached insurance certificate. Thereafter, even though the
IAC complied with this onerous burden, the City determined that it would
deny the IAC the right to engage in vigiling.
It is apparent from this Special Events Policy as a whole that it was
not, and could not have been intended to encompass First Amendment protected
activity. It was intended to encompass festivals, parades, the circus
coming to town, and the like. This is evident from its incompatibility
with the nature of spontaneous First Amendment protected activity (given
its 75 day restrictions), and with the costs it seeks to assess on applicants.
The stated purpose of recapturing of costs cannot be related to demonstrations.
The requirement that a group of persons secure insurance before they
may speak is flatly unconstitutional.
Setting aside, arguendo, the intended purpose of this Policy, it is
quite apparently inappropriate when applied to First Amendment activity
regardless of the intent of promulgators. If the promulgators indeed
did intend for this policy to encompass First Amendment protected speech,
it fails nevertheless and is unconstitutional on its face.
Because this Policy is so clearly incompatible with the requirements
of the First Amendment, plaintiff presumes that it cannot have been
intended to encompass First Amendment protected activity. However, even
if it were intended to encompass constitutionally protected activity,
it fails because of that clear incompatibility.
Nonetheless, by practice, the City is obligating those wishing to engage
in expressive activities, including plaintiff, to submit to the terms
and conditions imposed within this unconstitutional "special events"
structure which are then discretionarily enforced by the City's decisionmakers.
D. The Defendants Never Identified Any Restrictions Encompassed by the
Special Events Policy As a Basis for Denying Plaintiff's Request to
Vigil, and Further there is No Bar on Encampment for Vigiling in the
Special Events Policy
are no restrictions specific to the use of Dilworth Plaza delineated
in the Special Events Policy. There are no restrictions on vigiling
or encampments delineated in the Special Events Policy.
On the evening of May 4, 2001, the Defendants provided to plaintiff
for the first time what purports to be restrictions on the use of Dilworth
Plaza. These restrictions, which were described as "a draft of
the standard park rules for outdoor events" are titled "Dilworth
Plaza Rules" with the word "DRAFT" stamped across the
top. [see attachment] These new restrictions, have not been applied
to other favored permittees. These restrictions bar plaintiff from,
inter alia, erecting anything upon the premises, yet other permittees,
including the RNC and its corporate sponsor Wawa, have been allowed
to erect structures, including tents.
The restrictions and their discretionary application fall squarely into
those practices, ordinances and regulations that have been repeatedly
struck down as unconstitutional. See Saia 334 U.S. 558; Forsyth County,
505 U.S. 123; Niemotko v. Maryland 340 U.S. 268.
E. The City Has Unconstitutionally Applied its Discretion to Make Content
The City of Philadelphia has engaged, and continues to engage, in content
based determinations when granting access to public space. In this instance
it has imposed greater restrictions on the IAC with regard to Dilworth
Plaza than it has placed on other favored permittees, including the
Republican National Convention.
In October of 1999, the RNC was granted a permit for the full use of
Dilworth Plaza, and additionally virtually every public space in the
entire city for eleven days, with no restrictions save one: that it
not use any part of the venues for unlawful purposes or bring an article
onto the venue which may be dangerous (unless safeguarded), a nuisance,
or which would void insurance.
The RNC was allowed to erect structures, including tents, at Dilworth
Plaza and other locations elsewhere so long as it had prior consent
of the City, and the RNC was also allowed to park vehicles on venues
throughout the city with the City's prior consent. The RNC was allowed
to prepare and serve food at Dilworth Plaza yet the City has indicated
it will restrict the IAC's ability to provide food to the demonstration
The City also exempted the RNC from paying for costs as claimed to be
required by its Special Events Policy.
Plaintiffs IAC should be treated the same as the favored applicants,
the RNC. They do not seek the entirely of public space in Philadelphia,
but merely a fraction of what was granted to the RNC. For that fraction,
they are entitled to use of the plaza with no greater restrictions than
those that were imposed on the RNC, or any and all other favored permittees.
"[A] law or policy permitting communication in a certain manner
for some but not for others raises the specter of content and viewpoint
censorship. This danger is at its zenith when the determination of who
may speak and who may not is left to the unbridled discretion of a government
official....[W]e have often and uniformly held that such statutes or
policies impose censorship on the public or the press, and hence are
unconstitutional, because without standards governing the exercise of
discretion, a government official may decide who may speak and who may
not based upon the content of the speech or viewpoint of the speaker.
Therefore, even if the government may constitutionally impose content-neutral
prohibitions on a particular manner of speech, it may not condition
that speech on obtaining a license or permit from a government official
in that official's boundless discretion."
Lakewood v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. 486 U.S. 750, 763-64 (1988)
[A]ppropriate, limited, discretion, under properly drawn statutes or
ordinances, concerning the time, place, duration, or manner of use of
the streets for public assemblies may be vested in administrative officials,
provided that such limited discretion is 'exercised with "uniformity
of method of treatment upon the facts of each application, free from
improper or inappropriate considerations and from unfair discrimination"...[and
with] a "systematic, consistent and just order of treatment."'"
[citations omitted] Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536 (1965)
The Court need not reach the issue of whether any proffered restrictions
are reasonable in all contexts, or whether they would be unreasonable
if codified and applied in a uniform fashion. The restrictions placed
by defendants upon plaintiff are unreasonable because they are not specifically
promulgated, they are discretionarily applied, and they serve solely
to obstruct plaintiffs use and are not applied to favored political
groups or other favored permit applicants.
F. Defendants Should Be Estopped From Putting Forth Any New Rationale
Now, or Any Rationale Not Clearly Delineated at or Before the Time of
the Denial as the Basis for the Permit Denial
have indicated to plaintiff that the sole reasons for the revocation/denial
of the 48 hour vigil permit are that the Defendants had never granted
overnight use before, and that it had concerns about pigeon excrement
at Dilworth Plaza. It was unwilling to provide any further explanation,
or to engage in discussion regarding these matters, and summarily told
plaintiff's representatives that the decision was made. Both of these
excuses are unsound and unsupportable. Defendants have indeed granted
overnight use of Dilworth Plaza to others, including the RNC and including
initially to the IAC for a 24-hour period. The RNC was granted unrestricted
use 24 hours a day for a period of ten days, including periods of time
when City Hall was in session.
The concerns about pigeon excrement defy understanding or logic. The
IAC offered to discuss any such concerns with the defendant and sought
to understand what the concerns were in the hope that they could be
ameliorated, but defendant refused to provide explanation or have such
discussions, indicating the pretextual nature of this excuse. The City's
expressed concern that the presence of pigeon excrement will pose an
unspecified health hazard, is belied by the fact that these concerns
were unapparent when the City allowed the RNC and its corporate sponsor
Wawa to erect at Dilworth Plaza 6,700 foot hoagie as well as dispense
20,000 "junior hoagies" which, according to Wawa, would stretch
five times the height of the Sears tower if laid end to end. This massive
amount of food was served to thousands of people at Dilworth Plaza along
with chips, pretzels, cake, water and soda, surely gaining the attention
of the attendant pigeon population..
Because of the City's chosen failure to provide any written explanation
for its decision making denial, nor to point to any regulation or code
that prohibits the use as requested by permit, it should be estopped
from now creating rationale it was unwilling or unable to previously
provide. Any post hoc rationalizations are fundamentally suspect. No
post hoc rationalization could possibly have been the basis of a decision
already committed. The only relevant factors are those that form the
basis of the decision at the time of the decision. Defendants cannot
be allowed, due to their own intentional lack of standards and procedures,
to determine ex post facto rationale.
III. Plaintiff Will Suffered Irreparable Harm
The violation of plaintiff's First Amendment rights meets the standard
required for preliminary relief. The Supreme Court has stated that,
"The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods
of time, unquestionably constitute irreparable injury." Elrod v.
Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373-374 (1976). See also In Re school Asbestos
Litigation, 842 F.2d 671 (3d Cir. 1988).
Plaintiff and its supporters have invested substantial time and expense
in organizing for this vigil. It has made plans and stated an intention,
as have many expected participants, to vigil and demonstrate at Dilworth
Plaza. The defendants now threaten the participants with arrest and
deprivation of their liberty by denying their right to assemble. The
IAC intends for this to be a peaceful, expressive and law abiding vigil.
They are adversely affected when the government falsely asserts that
they and their supporters may not participate in vigiling as planned,
and with the implicit threat of police action.
IV. Harm to Defendants or the Public Generally
There is no question that there is no harm posed to defendants or to
the public generally from plaintiff's request for permits to engage
in First Amendment protected activities at Dilworth Plaza. The public
would be well served by the relief requested herein. This conduct by
the Philadelphia authorities, in the instant case, and through its discretionary
permitting practice for protected activities in general, creates a chill
on, and obstructs, organizing efforts by all persons who wish to engage
in freedom of expression and who are not favored by defendants.
The Supreme Court recognizes the significance and value of robust demonstrations.
"[A] function of free speech under our system of government is
to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it
induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions
as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative
and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and
have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an
idea." Terminello v. City of Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4 (1949).
For the foregoing reasons, and any others that may appear to be just
to this Honorable Court, plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction
should be granted.
________________________ Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Esq.
Partnership for Civil Justice, Inc.
1901 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006
Stefan Presser, Esq.
PA Attorney No. 43067
American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania
125 South Ninth St., Suite 701
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 592-1513, ext. 116
International Action Center
39 West 14th St., Rm. 206
New York, NY 10011
fax: 212 633-2889
phone: 212 633-6646