Court ruling on Occupy Wall Street eviction imminent; Update: Cities coordinating on evictions? Update: OWS loses; Update: Court’s order added
posted at 4:15 pm on November 15, 2011 by Allahpundit
It could come at any moment so let’s get a thread up now. I’m excited for two reasons. One: If the court rules for OWS and they’re allowed back into the park to sleep, it’ll be fun to watch all the sympathetic spin this morning claiming that the movement won by being evicted instantly metamorphose into spin claiming that the movement won by being reinstated. Two: Finding out that the First Amendment now grants you the right to camp in parks — privately-owned parks, no less — opens up all sorts of thrilling possibilities. Just think, New Yorkers: By day’s end, you too might have the right to crap in the public place of your choice. I can’t wait to test out my new right at the first opportunity. I’ve always thought Bryant Park would be a nice place to cop a squat in.
Speaking of which, via Breitbart TV, here’s a vignette filmed last week in
D.C. Seattle that I like to call “This is what democracy smells like.” Updates are coming, so stand by.
Update: Local businesses were predictably “delighted” by the eviction this morning, according to the Guardian. Even the Times felt obliged to report on pedestrians near the park giving the NYPD thumbs-up signals as they passed:
One young father, pushing his toddler son in a stroller, gave police officers guarding Zuccotti Park a thumbs up. Another man, rushing by in a cream suit, flashed them a mega-watt grin. The sight of the park, freshly cleared and washed, stopped a blonde woman walking by in her tracks. “Ooooooh, good,” she cooed.
The clearing of Zuccotti Park struck a deep blow to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which had used the site as its physical and spiritual heart. But as the newly ousted protesters gathered in Foley Square to decide what to do next, many residents, workers and business owners near the park felt deep relief. ” Super ecstatic,” said a young office worker. “Definitely relieved,” said a young woman working behind the counter at Panini & Co., a cafe overlooking the park…
Another man, who worked nearby and said he could not give his name because it was against his company’s rules, said it was time for the park to be cleared.
“It started out as a cool grassroots movement, he said, ” and then it turned into a big homeless camp.”
The city’s court filing claimed there were makeshift weapons inside the camp along with “people who have a known history of violent interaction with the police.”
Update: A fascinating catch by capitolilette:
Embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, speaking in an interview with the BBC (excerpted on The Takeaway radio program–audio of Quan starts at the 5:30 mark), casually mentioned that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. “I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation.”…
Many witnesses to the wave of government crackdowns on numerous #occupy encampments have been wondering aloud if the rapid succession was more than a coincidence; Jean Quan’s casual remark seems to clearly imply that it was.
Might it also be more than a coincidence that this succession of police raids started after President Obama left the US for an extended tour of the Pacific Rim?
Gooooood question. If today’s news cycle has taught us nothing else, it’s that Team Hopenchange is very sensitive about timing. And it makes all the sense in the world for cities to coordinate their evictions given the pressure they’re under. Joint action spreads the political heat among them so that no single administration has to take too much.
Update: A commenter tells me the clip above comes from Seattle, not D.C. Duly noted and corrected.
Update: AP bulletin at 4:48 ET: The court rules for NYC against OWS. No more sleepovers. I don’t think the judge had a choice: What’s left of First Amendment “time, place, and manner” restrictions if protesters can live in a public park even when it becomes dangerous and a disease risk?
Stand by for reaction and the inevitable appeal. Does the crowd disperse, decamp for a public park, or opt for a little of the ol’ ultraviolence?
Update: Here’s the court’s order. The magic words: Time, place, and manner.
The parties dispute whether the First Amendment applies to the actions of the owner in enacting the rules. For purposes of this application, the Court assumes that the First Amendment applies to the owner of Zuccotti Park, thus obviating petitioners’ request for a hearing as to whether Zuccotti Park is traditional public forum, or a limited public forum. Assuming arguendo, that the owner’s maintenance of the space must not violate the First Amendment, the owner has the right to adopt reasonable rules that permit iUo maintain a clean, safe, publicly accessible space consonant with the responsibility it assumed to provide public access according to law.
The Court is mindful of movants’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and peaceable assembly. However, “[e]ven protected speech is not equally permissible in all places and at all times.” (Snyder v Phelps, 131 S Ct 1207, 1218 , quoting Cornelius v NAACP Legal Defense
& Ed. Fund, Inc., 473 US 788, 799 .) Here, movants have not demonstrated that the rules adopted by the owners of the property, concededly after the demonstrations began, are not reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions permitted under the First Amendment.
To the extent that City law prohibits the erection of structures, the use of gas or other combustible materials, and the accumulation of garbage and human waste in public places, enforcement of the law and the owner’s rules appears reasonable to permit the owner to maintain its space in a hygienic, safe, and lawful condition, and to prevent it from being liable by the City or others for violations of law, or in tort It also permits public access by those who live and work in the area who are the intended beneficiaries of this zoning bonus.
The court could have ruled that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Zuccotti Park because it’s privately owned, but it skipped that step and ruled more broadly that the new rules banning tents are permissible time, place, and manner restrictions in principle. In theory, that means even if OWS tries to move to a fully public park, the city could stop them from setting up a tent city. On to the appeal!