USDC Cr. No. 84-3552
THOMAS v. REAGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WILLIAM THOMAS, pro se,
v. Civil Action No. 84-3552
) (Judge Louis Oberdorfer)
UNITED STATES, et al.,
FEDERAL DEFENDANTS' STATEMENT OF MATERIAL
FACTS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR MOTION FOR
JUDGMENT ON THE RECORD
The federal defendants hereby submit a statement of material
facts in support of their motion for judgment on the record in
this matter, and as an aid to the Court to help focus the
administrative record supporting the Lafayette Park regulation,
51 Fed. Reg. 7556 (March 5, 1986), which plaintiff has now
1. History of Lafayette Park
1. Lafayette Park, originally known as the President's
Park, is a rectangular area of approximately seven acres of land
situated directly north of the White House on Pennsylvania
Avenue. Administrative Record of Lafayette Park Rulemaking at
I.I.8 (hereinafter "Admin. Rec. at _____ "). It is bounded on
the east by Madison Place, on the north by H Street, and on the
west by Jackson Place. Proposed Lafayette Park Rulemaking, 50 FR
33571 (August 20, 1985) at 33571 (hereinafter "Prop. Rule, 50 FR
_________ ".); Admin. Rec. at II.B.1.
2. The property was one of the first parcels of land
donated by the original patentees to the District Commissioners
for the formation of the Federal City (later, Washington) in
1791. Admin. Rec. at I.I.16. The site of what is now Lafayette
Park (Park) was originally included in the area known as the
President's House and the President's Park, according to the
plans of Major Pierre L'Enfant. Admin. Rec. at I.I.8. The
entire area extended from 15th to 17th Streets, N.W., and from H
Street on the north and to the Potomac River on the south.
Admin. Rec. at I.I.20. In the early 1800's, President Thomas
Jefferson authorized the Park's separation from the President's
House, intending its use for local residents and visitors to
Washington. Admin. Rec. at I.I.8. The boundaries of the Park
have not been altered to the present day. Admin. Rec. at I.I.20.
3. In 1824, the grounds were improved and walks laid out in
the square on the occasion of the visit of the Marquis de
Lafayette, the French general and hero of the American
Revolution. Admin. Rec. at I.I.20.
4. The square was known as the "President's Park" until
1834, when the name "Lafayette Square" was adopted. Admin. Rec.
at I.I.20. Since 1933, when control of the National Capital
Parks was returned to the Interior Department, the term
"Lafayette Park" has been the preferred name and has been adhered
to by the National Park Service. Id.
2. Aesthetic Interests in Lafayette Park
5. Five memorial statues, specifically authorized by
legislation of Congress, honoring General Andrew Jackson and four
foreign heroes of the American Revolution, are in place in
Lafayette Park. Admin. Rec. at I.I.42-52. The equestrian statue
of General Andrew Jackson, the second one of its type to be cast
in the United States, stands in the center of the Park. Id. It
was dedicated by Senator Stephen A. Douglas in 1853. Id. The
heroic bronze statue of General Lafayette, which stands at the
southeast corner of the Park, was dedicated in 1891. Id. The
second Frenchman honored in the Park is the Comte de Rochambeau,
who led the French Expeditionary Force to America during the
Revolution. Id. President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the
Rochambeau statue, which stands at the southwest corner of the
Park, in 1902. Id. The statue of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko,
the Polish engineer who designed some of America's fortifications
during the Revolutionary War, was dedicated in 1910 and stands at
the northeast corner of the Park. Id. The fifth statue,
dedicated by President William Howard Taft in 1910, is that of
Baron von Steuben, the Prussian disciplinarian and Inspector
General of the Continental Army. Id. It stands at the northwest
corner of the Park. Id.
6. In addition, Lafayette Park functions as a formal garden
park of meticulous landscaping with flowers, trees, fountains,
walks and benches. Admin. Rec. at I.I.30-41. This aesthetic
aspect goes back over 130 years. Id. In 1851, President Millard
Fillmore endorsed the appointment of A. J. Downing, one of the
most celebrated landscape architects of the day, to prepare plans
for the landscaping of Lafayette Square and other park areas of
the Nation's Capital. Admin. Rec. at I.I.26. Downing is
credited with the landscape plan of Lafayette Park, which has
generally been adhered to over the years with only slight
revisions. Id. The central theme then consisted of wide gravel
paths leading to the statute of General Andrew Jackson as smaller
meandering walks went past beds of roses and other flowers. Id.
7. second major change to take place in the landscaping
of Lafayette Park was undertaken by the National Capital Parks in
1936 and 1937. Admin. Rec. at I.I.54-63. The overall changes
made during this period were the removal of the bronze urns to
their present-day locations, the redesigning and widening of the
walks, the relocation of trees and shrubbery, the closing of
small gravel paths and the relocation of flower beds. Id. The
overall effect enhanced the beauty of the original Downing plan
and made the Park more accessible to visitors and Washington
8. Money was appropriated by Congress during the Presidency
of John F. Kennedy for the purpose of installing decorative
fountains in the Park. Admin. Rec. at I.I.54-63. By 1969, a
water sprinkler system for maintenance of the park, as well as
attractive interior brick walkways, were added to Lafayette Park.
Id. Improvements to the Park continue up to the present day.
Prop. Rule, 50 FR at 33572; Admin. Rec. at TI.B.2. A new Park
lighting system; historically accurate to the lamps used in the
mid 1800's, was installed in 1985. Id.
9. The American Society of Landscape Architects
(hereinafter "ASLA") pointed out that "Lafayette Park has long
been a major component in the historic setting of the White
House, and is of critical importance in its context with the City
of Washington." Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.22. The ASLA further
stated that "The perk is a key experience to visitors to
Washington from around the world, as well as a daily experience
for many local residents." Id.
10. The National Capital Planning Commission (hereinafter
"NCPC") has stated that:
''Few, if any, sites in the Nation are more
important than Lafayette Park in contributing
to the setting and aesthetic quality of our
principal national symbols and memorials. As
a critical integral part of the setting of
the White House, the internationally
recognized symbol of the Executive Branch of
our government, Lafayette Park is literally
the 'front door' of that setting, serving as
the first introduction into the White House
precinct for visitors who enter the area from
the north. The protection and enhancement of
the aesthetic quality of such a vital part of
the setting of the White House deserves
special concern and attention. As the
setting for the five memorial statues
honoring General Andrew Jackson and four
foreign heroes of the American Revolution;
Lafayette Park has additional real and
symbolic importance, and the protection of
the aesthetic quality of the setting of these
memorials is also a matter of important
Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.26. The NCPC is the central planning
agency for the Federal Government in the National Capital Region
and has as its purpose the securing of comprehensive planning for
the physical development of the National Capital. Admin. Rec. at
11. The NCPC also pointed out that Lafayette Park has been
designated as a "Monumental and Decorative Park" and as such the
following policies should be applied to it:
Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.25.
12. Henry Berliner, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Avenue
Development Corporation pointed out that "it would seem
particularly unproductive and regrettable in attempting to
vista between the United States Capitol and The White House if
that vista were maintained from the Capitol to 15th Street, but
not beyond." Admin. Rec. III.A.1.78.
Monumental and Decorative Parks ... should
serve as settings to enhance public
buildings, monuments and memorials; as such,
their fundamental integrity should be
protected. Additionally, they should serve
as outdoor areas for displays and cultural
activities, as well as areas for passive and
controlled active recreational activities,
including lunch time picnics and gatherings.
3. Public Use of Lafayette Park
13. Lafayette Park attracts a significant number of
visitors each year. In 1984, Over thirty-thousand People visited
the-Park. Admin. Rec. at I.H.3. In the first six months of
1985, almost seventeen-thousand People visited the Park. Id.
14. Specifically separated from the President's House by
President Jefferson for use by local residents and visitors, the
park is extensively used for passive recreational activities such
as viewing the White House, reading, eating picnic lunches, and
playing checkers or chess. Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.26.
15. Members of the public frequently express their
appreciation for Lafayette Park and their desire to retain the
aesthetic quality of the Park. See generally, Admin. Rec. at
I.A.1-43, III.A.1-164; and III.A.2.1-138. For example, one man,
commenting on the proposed regulations, wrote: "Lafayette Park
along with A the White House and other beautiful buildings of
Washington, D.C. are a credit to the beauty, freedom and honor of
this great nation. . . please keep Lafayette Park in its natural
beauty for all people to enjoy." (Emphasis in original). Admin.
Rec. at III.A.11.30. Another wrote as follows:
Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.151-153.
16. A common view expressed by members of the public is
that Lafayette Park belongs to, and should be enjoyed by, all
citizens. For example, one individual, commenting on the
proposed regulations, wrote "We citizens of Washington feel we
have a right to enjoy our parks uncluttered by crude structures
and signs of any kind, whoever places them there." (Emphasis in
the original). Admin. Rec. at III.k.1.74. Another person wrote
"National Parks are my parks, too - and I enjoy the trees and
In 1975, the Park was a beautiful spot
to enjoy for walkers or passerbys in a car.
I would take friends and relatives from out
of town to a White House public tour and exit
through the Park - demonstrating that lovely
green space for public use existed even in
urban areas. Since I work out of my offices
at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., it is
often necessary to go to the Downtown D.C.
law firms or business offices of clients or
associates, and I would walk through the Park
as a pleasurable interlude to an otherwise
hectic day. At noon, I would jog for
exercise through the Park. In summary, the
Park improved my quality of life and was a
public treasure to be protected and enjoyed.
In 1985, the Park is a hostile assault
on the senses, dirty, and showing gross wear
and tear from members of the public too
irresponsible to share a common resource
without destroying it.
* * *
I implore the Park Service to act
quickly, but reasonably, to clean up this
grass and nature." (Emphasis in original). Admin. Rec. atAnother individual stated:
Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.88.
17. Many individuals have pointed out that Lafayette Park
and other public areas are important sites for visitors to
Washington. One man wrote "Washington, D.C. is in many ways our
nation's showcase for visitors from other countries." Admin.
Rec. at III.A.1.44. A travel professional wrote that "Travel,
especially to our beautiful monuments, constitute the largest
business in our area, larger even than government" Admin. Rec.
18. In an effort to retain the historic and aesthetic
quality of the Park, the National Park Service prohibits active
recreational activities, such as softball and hockey, and special
events in Lafayette Park. See, 36 C.F.R. § 50.19(c)(l).
19. Lafayette Park has also historically served as a site
for First Amendment Activities such as leafletting, making
speeches and carrying signs. Lafayette Park Final Rulemaking, 51
FR 7556 (hereinafter Final Rule, 51 FR "); See also,
Admin. Rec. at III.A.3.64 and 77. Demonstrations have included
Iranian protesters, suffragettes and anti-war advocates. Admin.
Rec. at I.B.28-29; III.A.3.77.
Public parks are meant to be enjoyed by
all the people without deference to the
individual excesses of a pathetic few.
Because tax dollars allow for the creation
and support of these precious places for the
relaxation and general enjoyment of the
public, it is in the Federal interest to
protect them on behalf of all taxpayers and
guests to our country.
4. Current Situation in Lafayette Park
20. Over the past 170 years, Lafayette Park has become
increasingly dominated by large, semi-permanent, bill-board type
signs and massive structures. Prop. Rule, 50 FR at 33572; Admin.
Rec. at II.B.2 and at I.J.30, 32, 36, 39, 41, 51, 53, 55, 95,
131, 136-137, 143, 167, 202, 207, 212, 214-220, 227, 243, 249,
21. It has not been uncommon to have signs as large as
twenty-five feet by twelve feet in the Park at any one time.
Admin. Rec. at I.D.79 and 88. In addition, it has not been
uncommon to have structures ten feet high, eight feet long and
four feet wide in the Park for long periods of time. Admin. Res.
at I.D.6. Further, while the number of signs and structures
increases and decreases as demonstrators come and go in the Park,
there has generally been a large number of such materials in the
Park at the same time. Admin. Rec. at I.D.63. In August of
1984, for example, there were one hundred and forty signs in
Lafayette Park on a continuing basis. Admin. Rec. at I.D.6.
Eighty of the signs present in the Park in August of 1984
belong to one demonstrator. Admin. Rec. at I.D.84.
22. Over the past two years, two to six demonstrators have
accounted for a vast majority of the signs and structures that
continuously occupy a large portion of Lafayette Park. For
example, on September 4, 1984, there were sixty-seven signs, one
doghouse, one bookcase, many piles and boxes of assorted
materials, numerous plastic garbage bags, a beer keg and a metal
cart in Lafayette Park. At the same time, there were four
demonstrators. Admin. Rec. at I.D.61. At approximately the same
time, there were nine unoccupied tents in another part of the
Park with two demonstrators present. Admin. Rec. at I.D.66.
23. In July of 1985, there were seventy-seven signs in
Lafayette Park, ranging in size from two feet by three feet to a
sign eight feet by twenty-four feet. Admin. Rec. at I.F.1-39.
There were three signs that measured twelve feet by fifteen feet
and thirteen signs that were at least eight feet wide. Id. One
of these signs indicated that thirty-three of the total number of
signs belonged to two persons who had been in the Park since
June of 1981. Admin. Rec. I.F.4. In addition to signs, there
were various structures in the Park, including, chairs, a grocery
cart, desks, parking cones and a ladder. Admin. Rec. at
24. During the past two years, individuals have brought a
large number and variety of structures into the Park. See
generally, Admin. Rec. at I.J.1-254. For example, several two
and three story structures have been built in Lafayette Park.
Admin. Rec. at I.J.2, 89, 100, 108, 112, 136-137, 143, 163, 207,
232, and 253. Desks, chairs, bookcases, carts, doors, podiums,
tents, and a porcelain toilet have all appeared in the Park.
Admin. Rec. at I.D.17 and 19; I.J.30, 36, 38, 40, 53, 55, 56, 58,
67, 69, 78, 85, 86, 88, 92, 103, 104, 121-122, 150, 159-161, 200,
and 235. One individual filled a broken grocery cart with trash,
stating that it was a symbolic structure. Admin. Rec. at I.D.72
and 117. The presence of these items have often created a dump-
like appearance in the Park. Admin. Rec. at I.J.56-60, 67, 72,
102-104, 114, 127, 132, 133, ?51, 177, 200, 235, and 247.
Demonstrators have requested permits for increasing numbers and
types of structures, for example, facilities for a live abortion
and birth. Admin. Rec. at I,C.69 and I.C.73; see generally,
Admin. Rec. at I.C.1-142.
25. On many occasions, these signs and structures are left
unattended in Lafayette Park. Admin. Rec. at I.D.12, 14, 16,
25-29 and 67.
26. The presence of these numerous large signs and varied
structures has created problems in Lafayette Park. Primarily,
they have diminished the aesthetic quality of the Park for many
people. Admin. Rec. at I.J.1 - 254. For example, one individual
wrote "All too frequently when I am showing visitors from out of
town around Washington, I cringe when I drive past the White
House because I am embarrassed by the disgusting display in
Lafayette Park." Admin. Rec/ at III.A.1.39. Another wrote "How
often have I taken many of my foreign friends, whom I have met
from years of travel abroad, by the White House, only to have
them look in disbelief at the many huge, grotesque painted
signs." Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.44. Another individual said
"Current regulations, or lack thereof, have led to deterioration
in both the physical/environmental integrity of the park, and in
Its aesthetic qualities . " Admin. Rec. at III.A1.50 In
addition, officers of the United States Park Police assigned to
Lafayette Park have received many complaints from visitors. See,
for example, Admin. Rec, at I.D.61, 65-66, 73, 79-80, 82 and 90.
27. The large signs and structures have often preempted the
use of large portions of Lafayette Park and obstructed the view
of the White House from the park. Admin. Rec. at I.5.30, 32, 36,
39, 41, 49, 51-60, 67, 74-77, 88, 90, 95, 103, 112, 114, 131-33,
137, 152, 159, 187, 200, 202, 207, 212, 214, 216-220, 239, 241,
242, 244, 249, and 254. One demonstrator has had up to eight
billboard-type signs, along with various smaller signs, lined up
on the south sidewalk of the Park for long periods of time.
Admin. Rec. at I.5.32, 41, 95, 212, 214, and 216-220. This
individual, along with one other demonstrator, has occupied
almost half of the length of the south sidewalk of the Park,
substantially interfering with the view of the White House from
Lafayette Park. Id.
Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park