March 2 2007, 6:48 PM
You might remember the case of the so-called "Denver Three," a group of three Coloradans who were ejected from a public event with President Bush two years ago. The three had questioned whether they were removed from the event because of their personal politics, and they've been pursuing the case in court ever since. Nearly two years later, they finally got their answer. As [The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/ci_5341085] reports:
A former White House official who ordered three activists expelled from a 2005 Denver public forum with President Bush says it was White House policy to exclude potentially-disruptive guests from Bush's appearances nationwide. The former official, Steve Atkiss, revealed the policy today in an interview after two volunteer bouncers identified him and a current White House staffer, Jamie O'Keefe, as the officials who ordered the so-called "Denver Three" activists sent away. Atkiss is now a U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief of staff. In their sworn depositions today, Michael Casper and Jay Bob Klinkerman, who served as bouncers at Bush's 2005 event in Denver, for the first time named the White House officials who they say ordered the Denver Three to be excluded. An American Civil Liberties Union legal team is using a lawsuit to challenge the expulsion of these activists, arguing in federal court that it violated their constitutional free-speech rights. The Denver Three were ticketed to attend the event and said they were not disruptive.In short, the White House directed that the "Denver Three" be ejected from the event with President Bush because they didn't like the group's politics. This was not a campaign event, which is an important point to remember. This was a PUBLIC event, and removing the "Denver Three" for their political beliefs appears to be a clear violation of the First Amendment.