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Case Name A.N.S.W.E.R. v. Norton FA-DC-0022
Docket / Court 1:05-cv-00071-PLF ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
On January 14, 2005, a group of anti-war demonstrators including the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition (ANSWER), the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, the National Council of Arab Americans, a pastor at a congregational church, and a civilian whose son died in the Iraq War ( ... read more >
On January 14, 2005, a group of anti-war demonstrators including the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition (ANSWER), the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, the National Council of Arab Americans, a pastor at a congregational church, and a civilian whose son died in the Iraq War (collectively, “the demonstrators”) sued the Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the National Park Service (NPS), and the Director of the Secret Service (collectively, “the government”) under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343(a)(3)–(4) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The protesters contended that NPS had issued the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) permits before accepting applications from the general public, and also contended that setting aside area that couldn’t be used by the public during the Inaugural Parade was unconstitutional. Represented by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, the demonstrators alleged that the government violated their Equal Protection rights as well as their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government for redress of. The demonstrators asked the court to declare the government’s actions unconstitutional and to enjoin the NPS from setting aside its regulations for the PIC in the future. This case was assigned to Judge Paul L. Friedman.

The government urged the court to deny the demonstrators’ request for injunctive relief. The government emphasized that the demonstrators already had access via permit to nine sites along the Parade route, including John Marshall Park, one of the largest parks along Pennsylvania Avenue. The government also argued that the PIC’s application for a permit to use Freedom Plaza was submitted before ANSWER’s application, and that the NPS followed proper procedures in issuing the PIC permit. On January 18, 2005, the court denied the demonstrators’ motion for preliminary injunction.

On July 28, 2005, ANSWER filed an amended complaint that dropped the other plaintiffs. The Amended complaint challenged three governmental actions as constitutional violations: (1) NPS exempting itself from the permitting regulations, (2) a prohibition on signs that was issued by the Secret Service, and (3) a policy granting the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) exclusive access along the parade route. Again, declaratory and injunctive relief for future parades was sought for these claims.

Almost two years later, on June 13, 2007, the court granted in part the government’s motion to dismiss. 493 F.Supp.2d 34. The Court found that no relief could be granted for ANSWER’s claims pertaining to the 2005 Inauguration parade that sought declaratory judgment, and therefore the court dismissed them. The other three claims, however, were allowed to continue.

The court ruled in ANSWER’s favor on March 20, 2008, granting the plaintiffs partial summary judgment on the first claim involving the NPS exempting itself from the permitting regulations. 537 F.Supp.2d 183. The court found that the NPS permitting regulations were not applied in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner and therefore declared the actions unconstitutional and enjoined the NPS from exempting themselves from the permitting process in the future.

ANSWER filed a supplemental pleading alleging that the NPS’ regulatory set-aside for the PIC violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause by favoring individuals affiliated with the administration and disfavoring others. The government moved to dismiss the supplemental pleading, but the court denied the motion on January 14, 2013 and affirmed that ANSWER has standing to pursue its full claim. 915 F.Supp.2d 93.

On January 28, 2016, the court granted the defendants’ summary judgement motions on the second and third claims. 153 F.Suppp.3d 395. The court found that the sign ban was content-neutral. Applying intermediate scrutiny, the court determined that the sign ban was narrowly tailored to serve the government’s substantial interest in ensuring safety and managing the flow of pedestrian traffic during an inaugural parade. Regarding the exclusive access claims, the government also upheld the constitutionality of setting aside space only usable by the Presidential Inauguration Committee. Here, the regulation was narrowly tailored to serve the government’s interest in planning and executing the Inaugural Parade.

On February 29, 2016, ANSWER appealed the court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the exclusive access claim. On October 14, 2016, while awaiting the appeals court decision, ANSWER and the Secretary of the Interior settled ANSWER’s claim for attorneys’ fees for litigating NPS’ permitting violations; the defendants agreed to pay $90,000. Then, on January 17, 2017, the D.C. Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision on the exclusive access claim, finding that the set-aside was subject to intermediate scrutiny, that it was narrowly tailored to a significant government interest, and that it left open ample channels for communication for demonstrators and the public. 845 F.3d 1199. The case is now closed.

Becca Rogers - 12/17/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Parks
General
Grievance Procedures
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Director
Director
Secretary
Secretary
Plaintiff Description Anti-war organization
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 01/14/2005
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
03/13/2017
1:05-cv-00071-PLF
FA-DC-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
01/14/2005
Complaint for Emergency Injunctive Relief to Preclude Denial of Access to the 2005 Inaugural Parade Route [ECF# 1]
FA-DC-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
01/18/2005
Order [ECF# 11]
FA-DC-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
07/28/2005
Amended Complaint [ECF# 17]
FA-DC-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
11/13/2007
Order [ECF# 56]
FA-DC-0022-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
03/20/2008
Opinion [ECF# 58]
FA-DC-0022-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
03/05/2012
Opinion and Order [ECF# 138] (2012 WL 8667570)
FA-DC-0022-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
D.D.C.
01/14/2013
Opinion [ECF# 166] (915 F.Supp.2d 93)
FA-DC-0022-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
01/28/2016
Order [ECF# 219]
FA-DC-0022-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
01/28/2016
Opinion [ECF# 220]
FA-DC-0022-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
10/14/2016
Joint Stipulation of Settlement of Attorneys' Fees on Count I of the Amended Complaint [ECF# 232]
FA-DC-0022-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
01/17/2017
Opinion (845 F.3d 1199)
FA-DC-0022-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
D.D.C.
06/13/2017
Opinion [ECF# 49]
FA-DC-0022-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
06/18/2019
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 87]
FA-DC-0022-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Friedman, Paul L. (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0002 | FA-DC-0022-0004 | FA-DC-0022-0005 | FA-DC-0022-0006 | FA-DC-0022-0007 | FA-DC-0022-0008 | FA-DC-0022-0009 | FA-DC-0022-0010 | FA-DC-0022-0011 | FA-DC-0022-9000
Pillard, Cornelia Thayer Livingston (D.D.C., D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Costello, Andrea Hope (Florida) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-9000
Messineo, Carl L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0001 | FA-DC-0022-0003 | FA-DC-0022-9000
Onisko, Merrilyn Anne (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0001 | FA-DC-0022-0003 | FA-DC-0022-9000
Singh, Radhika M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-9000
Sobel, Carol A. (California) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0001 | FA-DC-0022-0003 | FA-DC-0022-9000
Verheyden-Hilliard, Mara E (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0001 | FA-DC-0022-0003 | FA-DC-0022-0013 | FA-DC-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Braswell, Marina Utgoff (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0013 | FA-DC-0022-9000
Lyons, Jane M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-9000
Phillips, Channing D (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0013
Van Horn, Daniel F (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-DC-0022-0013

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