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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Oregon Case

Pete Springer/OPB/Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that grew out of a 2004 protest in Southern Oregon. A group of protesters loudly voicing their opposition to then-President George W. Bush claim their free speech rights were violated when they were moved away from a restaurant patio where the president was eating dinner, while pro-Bush demonstrators were allowed to stay closer to the president.

Though it will likely be months before they issue a ruling, the justices appeared to be leaning towards the government on this case. Deputy Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn argued that the protesters should not be able to sue the Secret Service agents who made the decision to have police move them away from the president, because the agents cannot be held liable for these kinds of quick decisions they have to make as part of their jobs.

Portland lawyer Steven Wilker argued on behalf of the protesters. He says they were moved because of the views they were expressing and not for legitimate security reasons. 

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OPB | Broadcast: March 27, 2014