Ban on sidewalk chalk protest upheld

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has upheld a judge’s decision that denied protesters the right to hold a sidewalk chalk demonstration outside the White House.

The demonstrators in November 2008 wanted to protest President Barack Obama’s support for abortion rights and the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision. Patrick Mahoney, a protest leader, sued the District of Columbia after police allowed the protest but denied him the right to use sidewalk chalk.

A federal judge rejected the lawsuit, and an appeals court affirmed that decision Tuesday.

The court said the D.C. statute on defacement of public property is content-neutral and that city officials have a logical interest in controlling the appearance of the street in front of the White House.

One comment

  1. Chalk on a sidewalk is called “defacement”? Before you know it, walking on a sidewalk will be illegal because of “defacement”!

    So marking up a sidewalk is illegal, but allowing protesters to block sidewalks and interfere with a public thoroughfare is not?

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