USDC Cr. No. 84-3552
THOMAS v. REAGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WILLIAM THOMAS, et al
Plaintiff Pro Se
versus CA 84-3552
Judge Louis Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES, et al
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
OF PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
Plaintiffs incorporate by reference Plaintiffs' Memorandum of
Law in Support of Motion for Consolidation of the Hearing with
Trial on the Merits, and for Summary Judgment, filed this date,
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Federal Defendants' Motion for Judgment
on the Administrative Record, Plaintiffs' Trial Brief, with
Exhibits, and Declarations of William Thomas, Ellen Thomas, Robert
Dorrough, and Charles Hyder, filed this date, and state:
On August 7, 1986, the Court (Judge Oberdorfer) affirmed
the Magistrate's Order of July 9, 1986 denying plaintiffs'
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Default Judgment. 
Defendants' opposition to the Motion For Temporary Restraining
Order was founded solely on the theory that:
"(T)he Court should not reach the (merits of the
regulation) but should instead deny the TRO on the grounds that
plaintiff cannot show any threat of immediate or irreparable harm."
(Defendants' Opposition to Motion for TRO, filed June 20, 1986 at
[1 Plaintiffs had considered the Motion For Default Judgment to be
MOOT (see Plaintiffs' Reply To Federal Defendants' Response To
Plaintiffs' Notice Of Appeal To Judge Oberdorfer, filed July 30,
1986 at 4). It is somewhat disconcerting that this Court has
apparently denied a MOOT issue. However, plaintiffs request no
clarification on this point.
Plaintiffs also believe that the Court should not yet reach
the question of the merits of the regulations in considering this
temporary restraining order, but should grant plaintiffs temporary
relief from an alleged pattern of conduct which, if proven, and
unchecked, would threaten the very fabric of constitutional
"If your government suppresses the kind of protest in
which you are involved it threatens the liberty of us all."
(USA v. Thomas, CR 83-186, Judge Oberdorfer December 21,
Simply because "(p)laintiff(s have) apparently complied with
the regulation" (Defendants' Opposition to TRO, at 2) cannot be
seen as a reasonable indication (a) that plaintiffs have not been
injured, or (b) that some "legitimate" (ibid), but unspecified,
balance has been struck. (See Second Declaration of William Thomas
filed this date.)
Plaintiffs believe that the proposed Order (e.g. submitted
with Amended Complaint October 16, 1985) accentuates the simplicity
of the Complaint, and highlights the validity of the cause of
action. (For the Court's convenience, that Order is once again
attached hereto as 1.)
"The Secretary...cannot by his regulations alter or
amend a law. All he can do is to regulate the mode of
carrying into effect what Congress has enacted." (Morrill v.
Jones, 106 US 467 (1882).)
Prior to the promulgation of 36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12) on April
4, 1986, plaintiffs had large signs and a speaker's platform in
Lafayette Park which conformed to and were protected by the law,
and enabled plaintiffs to communicate with the public.
"Present regulations allow demonstration activity, including
the use of signs and placards, in Lafayette Park....
"(W)e are presently under tight legal constraints in this
"(W)e have put the individuals now demonstrating in
Lafayette Park on notice that they must comply with regulations and
permit conditions, prohibiting such activities as storage of
property, injury to trees and grass, and construction of signs, or
face arrest. To date we have received compliance and the Park is
noticeably more attractive." (Robert Stanton, NPS Deputy Regional
Director, October 5, 1984, Administrative Record at Vol. I, p.
35-36; written by defendant Bangert; see also Tr. Ex. 162.)
Subsequent to the promulgation of 36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12) (Tr.
Ex. 176), possession of those signs at that location became
illegal. Plaintiffs claim defendants engaged in an impermissible
scheme intended to wrongfully color those signs as a "substantial
government interest" without probable cause, that this alleged
scheme extended to promoting a false, defamatory representation of
plaintiffs' activities through the media, which had the effect of
misrepresenting the nature and validity of their constructive
expressive activities in the public eye, and resulted in
plaintiffs' alienation in the public mind.
The Court is asked to also bear in mind that, assuming
defendants have, over the years, denuded plaintiffs' activities of
rightful legal protection, the only reasonable correllary is that
defendants have also caused, engineered, or allowed plaintiffs'
arrest, assault, and other abuses at the hands of their agents, and
not for any probable cause, but simply because plaintiffs failed to
comply with defendants' desire to rid the Park of plaintiffs'
Now plaintiffs and their class (individuals and groups under
25) have, in an absolute sense, been deprived of the use of large
signs and of speaker's platforms -- a conventional form of
expression -- in Lafayette Park -- a traditional public forum. It
is true that defendants have attempted to justify the April 4, 1986
regulations with a twelve volume "administrative record"; however,
as plaintiffs have pointed out, that "record" chronicles, for the
most part, the activities of an individual named William Hale.
Plaintiffs assert no rights with respect to the majority of Mr.
Hale's specific activities, allege the Park Service had fully
adequate regulatory power to address those situations, and wonder
why they didn't. (See Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike the
Administrative Record, filed March 2l, l986; see also Tr. Ex. 70,
III. PLAINTIFFS' ALLEGED LACK OF CLARITY
It should be noted that plaintiffs' ongoing struggle is not
represented as the beginning of the controversy articulated in
WOMEN STRIKE FOR PEACE v. MORTON (Restatement of Claim para. 8).
Unless the Court intervenes, it seems to plaintiffs that the
controversy will have been finally decided through the abdignation
of judicial responsibility to defend harmless, socially-beneficial
individual expression against administrative censorship under the
guise of "content neutral" regulation.
Allegedly the beginning would have been the selective
enforcement of the "camping regs" to interfere with plaintiffs'
activities. The middle, allegedly accomplished through concerted
deceit, was the deprivation of plaintiffs' right to place signs
and, to all practical extents, to maintain a constant reproachful
"presence" on the White House sidewalk.
"(S)ince the Park Service enacted certain restrictions
concerning signs and personal property on the White House
sidewalk, many (sic) persons who regularly protested there moved
across the street and undertook semi-permanent protesting in the
park." (Memorandum of Law in Support of Federal Defendants'
Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record, filed March 20,
1986, at 3.)
Now, under color of regulation, defendants have terminated the
effective exercise of plaintiffs' vocation at a site which they
themselves suggested (see X Document page 29, Judge Bryant; see
also Fed.Reg. June 17, 1983, 36 CFR 50.19(e)(9)(10)), and where
similar behavior has long enjoyed the protection of the law. Today
defendants have banished the effective communication of plaintiffs'
message from a site long recognized as privileged. It appears to
be self-evident that if the court continues to allow the allegedly
wrongful regulatory scheme to take swipes at plaintiffs' effective
nonviolent communication and expression today, then the precedent
will have been set to banish all dissenting opinions from the eyes
and ears of society tomorrow.
"Unless this Court draws the line here there will be no line,
and no lawyer will think twice when the next regulation bans all
signs from the Memorial Core Parks ... and then from all Federal
lands everywhere." (Amended Complaint, filed October 16, 1985,
Hopefully, for the sake of justice, freedom of belief and
expression,the Court will recognize that the issue here is not
whether the Interior Department may regulate camping (36 CFR
50.27(a)), or whether the Secret Service or White House have a
substantial interest in presidential security and aesthetics (36
CFR 50.19)e)(9)(10)), or even whether NPS has a substantial
interest in aesthetics alone (36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12)).
Plaintiffs' claim is that defendants have utilized the guise
of "substantial interests," deceiving the public, the Courts of
this District and the Supreme Court in the process, as a pretext
under which to color plaintiffs' protected, effective, and
harmless communication activity as "criminal," and "placing
administrative policy above the law" by engineering the selective
application of regulations against plaintiffs, thereby subjecting
them to social ostracization, emotional distress, and treatment
reserved for criminal behavior as punishment for plaintiffs'
insistence on conveying their message -- which is in opposition to
this administration's policies -- then we are not talking about the
same issue. Unless the Court recognizes this fact, plaintiffs
cannot imagine how this process might bring about a "civilized"
resolution to this controversy.
Perhaps plaintiffs and society have not been irreparably
injured through loss of the equal protection of the law, and the
Constitutional protection long accorded to expressive conduct in a
traditional, time honored public forum (e.g. QUAKER ACTION GROUP
series of cases, USA v. ABNEY, et al., USDC, cites omitted), but
plaintiffs fail to understand how.
Assuming the validity of plaintiffs' allegation, as the Court
should, (Reuber v. USA, 750 F2d 1060, 1061), at this juncture the
only question plaintiffs can perceive is whether the alleged
combination of "mindless bureaucracy and totalitarian police state
tactics" (see Complaint p. 111) constitutes irreparable injury to
"individual freedom and personal excellence." (Ibid.)
In the interests of understanding and a civilized resolution
to controversy, plaintiffs pray the Court will clarify in what way,
explicitly, they have failed to show irreparable injury.
To plaintiffs the question is not whether this regulation
causes proximate harm to an individual; rather, they ask how a
nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that
all men are created equal can conceivably endure under a mindless
scheme of administrative regulatory abuse cloaked under "content
neutrality." This is all the clarification plaintiffs ask.
In light of the foregoing plaintiffs ask the Court to
reconsider Motion for Temporary Restraining Order filed June 19,
Respectfully submitted this 22nd day
of September, 1986.
William Thomas, Plaintiff Pro Se
1440 N Street NW, #410, DC 20005
Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park