The DOJ is filing an SOI to support a lawsuit for canceling a Veteran’s Day parade.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it has filed a Statement of Interest (SOI) in a pending case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania regarding the Philadelphia City “Event Moratorium,” which would require permits for meetings of 150 or more people in prohibits the public. The lawsuit alleges that the moratorium “violated the rights of freedom of expression and assembly guaranteed by the first amendment”. Under the license ribbon, Philadelphia’s Veterans Day Parade was canceled, although protests against any group were allowed.
The SOI was filed in support of plaintiff, the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Society (Vietnam Veterans), who stated that it and other groups “are adversely affected by the city’s blanket prohibition on issuing permits for public gatherings.” On July 14, 2020, the City of Philadelphia introduced the Pandemic Policies, which were revised on September 21 and are expected to remain in effect through February 2021.
Photo by Paul Weaver on Unsplash
“The first amendment to the US Constitution makes any attempt by the government illegal to restrict the right of the people to speak and assemble peacefully,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Our founders established this right to anchor a very simple ideal in our law: tyranny has no place in this free land. In a small town west of Philadelphia, in Gettysburg in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln noted that this United States of America was “designed in freedom” and urged us all to devote ourselves to a “new birth of freedom.” We must and must accept President Lincoln’s challenge. The Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Society honors those brave patriots, living and dead, who fought, suffered and died for our freedom and for the freedom of all humanity. The US Department of Justice stands by their side, and we will continue to fight for their freedom and the freedom of all people. “
“This is about more language, not less,” added US attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “The city’s double standards, dealing with protests one way or another, is illogical, favors specific speakers and topics, is not for public health purposes, and is unconstitutional. The solution is not to limit protests. Rather, the solution is to remove the moratorium on events and allow all speakers to express themselves according to their constitutional rights. “
The SOI concludes that the double standard may be “a discrimination from a point of view that triggers tight scrutiny under the first amendment”. If other protests are approved, the parade could have taken place. It carries the same risks as protesting against the contagion and spread of the coronavirus.
“We anticipate another rapid rise in this infection in Philadelphia, which means we are entering a difficult, dangerous phase of this epidemic,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia health commissioner, and held on to the decision to limit the number of meetings. “Possibly the worst time in this entire epidemic. We hope to have a vaccine soon, but much of that surge will come before the vaccine arrives. “
The Justice Department announced a declaration of interest filed in a lawsuit against Philadelphia’s moratorium that canceled the Veterans Day Parade
In Philly “rapidly rising” COVID-19 cases, officials are considering more and new restrictions