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Kings Mall v. Wenk (Defending right to petition government for redress of grievances)

The issue in this case is the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. The case involves individuals who protest specific governmental policies in their attempts to change them. Starting in May 2005, the defendants engaged in protest activities on numerous occasions at Kings Mall. The defendants, who are veterans of the Armed Services, were protesting the government’s involvement in Iraq, and chose to protest at Kings Mall because a military recruitment center is located there. In September 2006, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a permanent injunction barring the defendants from the Mall. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were trespassing. On Nov. 3, 2006, the New York State Supreme Court granted the motion in part. The defendants appealed to the Appellate Division, Third Department.

The NYCLU filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the defendants. The brief argued that, despite the fact that the Supreme Court found that the defendants were engaging in constitutionally-protected protesting activities, the court was wrong to limit the defendants’ expressive activity. The Supreme Court’s injunction could limit speech more than “necessary to serve a significant government interest.” The brief was filed on Jan. 31, 2007. On July 5, 2007, the Appellate Division, Third Department ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. A motion to appeal the decision was denied on Aug. 28, 2007. 

State Supreme Court, Ulster County, Index No. 501776, Appellate Division, Third Department, Docket No. 501776 (amicus)

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