...and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
March 21, 2012 6:48 AM Subscribe
Arrested for speaking out! When does an "open-palm pat on the shoulder" become assault? When it's the Vice President's shoulder, that's when.
The Supreme Court of the United States (previously
) will today hear arguments in the matter of Reichle v. Howards
The brief facts are these: at a public event in 2006, Steven Howards tells then-Vice President Cheney
that his policies are "disgusting", and touches the Vice President's shoulder with his open palm. Ten minutes later, the Vice President's Secret Services detail then arrests Howards for assault.
Charges are dropped, but Howards sues the arresting agent and other members of the security detail for violating his civil rights under the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. On hearing the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, The Trial Court found that there were factual disputes which precluded the application of the qualified immunity defense, and that the defendants were not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.
The defendants appealed the Trial Court's motion, and the appellate court
reversed the lower Court's decision in part (with respect to the Fourth Amendment claims, and to the claims against certain defendants) and affirmed it in part (with respect to the first amendment claims against Defendant Virgil Reichl Jr., the arresting agent of the security detail.) This decision was itself appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which will hear arguments on it today.