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Justices side with Secret Service over anti-Bush protest

By Bill Mears, CNN
updated 4:59 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014

(CNN) -- The Supreme Court sided with the Secret Service on Tuesday in a free-speech fight testing the rights of protesters against the discretion of those making often split-second decisions to shield the President.

The incident involved then-President George W. Bush's last-minute decision to dine at an Oregon restaurant in 2004. The high court unanimously said the security staff was within its discretion to move anti-Bush protesters away from the immediate scene.

At issue was legal immunity for the agents, and whether their actions violated "clearly established" law in performance of official duties.

"The security perimeter established by the agents to meet an unanticipated situation violated no clearly established First Amendment Command," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The government argued the federal agents' actions were related to security, while the demonstrators' lawyer called it unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

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