Wednesday, June 11, 2014

U.S. Judge: Idaho's Restriction on Occupy Boise Tent City Unconstitutional

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Occupty Boise, November 2011

Occupy Boise won still another, and significant, victory in U.S. Court Wednesday with a federal judge ruling against the State of Idaho, and the Idaho Legislature in particular, in its attempt to limit protests in and around the State Capitol.

An order from U.S. Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the State of Idaho's enforcement policies of limiting around-the-clock tent city protests, such as Occupy Boise's encampment in 2011 and 2012, was unconstitutional. The ruling also chided the State for its "history of targeting Occupy" and the State's "past policy of suppressing protected speech." Simply put, Winmill's ruling said the state's attempt to ban a tent-city protest targeted "political speech for suppression" and "violates the group's First Amendment rights."

"This has been a long and costly battle over liberties that the State should treasure, not suppress," said ACLU Legal Director Ritchie Eppink. "Let's hope this permanent injunction gets our elected officials to stop and think, and to start welcoming dissent, rather than trying to squelch it."

In effect, Wednesday' ruling says that the State's rules on restricting tent-cities-as-protest no longer exist.

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