Leslie Weise, Alex Young: Supreme Court won't hear No More Blood for Oil bumper-sticker case

Back in 2005, Leslie Weise and Alex Young were prevented from attending a George W. Bush speech because their car sported a bumper sticker reading "No More Blood for Oil." The two, assisted by the ACLU, have been fighting this expulsion ever since -- but today, they reached the end of the line. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear their appeal.

As noted in the post linked above, the U.S. District Court ruled against Weise and Young in 2008, holding that the Bush team had the right to control its message. In response, the pair headed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where they argued that the expulsion -- enforced by a volunteer named Jay Klinkerman, who was named in court documents -- was an example of "viewpoint discrimination." The ACLU's Mark Silverstein described this alleged rights violation as "the government taking adverse action against a speaker because it disagrees with a particular viewpoint expressed by the speaker."

Silverstein's assertion didn't win the day at the 10th Circuit, so the crew headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision not to consider the appeal there wasn't unanimous. As pointed out in a press release from John Zakhem, Klinkerman's attorney, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor "issued a rare dissent to the denial of of certiorari" -- meaning they wanted to tackle the case. Not so the other court members, who didn't give a reason for their rejection, as the Washington Post reports.

No doubt free-speech advocates mourn this decision, but Zakhem cheers it in the aforementioned press release:


DENVER -- Zakhem Law, LLC principal, John S. Zakhem, announced today that the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear the appeal in the case filed against Jay Klinkerman by Leslie Weise and Alex Young. Weise and Young are two members of the "Denver Three" -- protesters who were ejected by Klinkerman and other members of the security staff for President Bush's March 21, 2005 speech on Social Security reform at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, Colorado.

Weise and Casper claimed that they were ejected from the President's speech because of a bumper-sticker on their car that read "No Blood for Oil", in violation of their free speech rights. Klinkerman was a volunteer for the Colorado Young Republicans acting as gate security staff for the President's speech. Klinkerman claimed in court pleadings that he simply followed instructions from the President's advance team. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor issued a rare dissent to the denial of certiorari, but the Supreme Court refused to hear the case or overturn the decision of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had found in favor of Mr. Klinkerman.

Zakhem stated: "Today the Supreme Court vindicated Jay Klinkerman who was simply volunteering to help his President give a speech." Zakhem went on to say that the Supreme Court's denial of certiorari saves volunteers from the worries of litigation when donating their time to elected officials. "I hope that volunteers like Mr. Klinkerman can rest assured that they won't be sued simply for giving their time and following government policies over which they have no control."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts