2475Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts
- Aug 16, 2007http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070817/ap_on_re_us/bush_protesters_lawsuit;_ylt=AvRBdDYLq_JqZ21JXc7ZVvFH2ocA
Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts
Thu Aug 16, 9:31 PM ET
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A couple arrested at a rally after
refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President
Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal
government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties
Union announced Thursday.
Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were
handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at
the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge
dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an
order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S.
District Court in Charleston.
"This settlement is a real victory not only for our
clients but for the First Amendment," said Andrew
Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of West
Virginia. "As a result of the Ranks' courageous stand,
public officials will think twice before they eject
peaceful protesters from public events for exercising
their right to dissent."
White House spokesman Blair Jones said the settlement
was not an admission of wrongdoing.
"The parties understand that this settlement is a
compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses
and risks of litigation and is not an admission of
fault, liability, or wrongful conduct," Jones said.
The front of the Ranks' homemade T-shirts bore the
international symbol for "no" superimposed over the
word "Bush." The back of Nicole Rank's T-shirt said
"Love America, Hate Bush." On the back of Jeffery
Rank's T-shirt was the message "Regime Change Starts
The ACLU said in a statement that a presidential
advance manual makes it clear that the government
tries to exclude dissenters from the president's
appearances. "As a last resort," the manual says,
"security should remove the demonstrators from the event."
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