The National Park Service yesterday published a complicated new set of restrictions on placards carried in front of the White House after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the first set in court.
The standards, effective July 5, say no signs or placards will be permitted on the White House sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue NW unless they are made of cardboard, posterboard, or cloth; and are no more than three feet by 20 feet, nor more than a quarter of an inch thick.
Signs or placards that are not carried may be placed no closer than three feet from the fence between the sidewalk and the White House grounds. In addition, they must be in "physical contact with a person" at all times, according to the regulations. No signs may be tied, attached to, or leaned against the White House fence.
The new restrictions did not go unchallenged for long. Arthur Spitzer, who obtained a temporary restraining order May 3 against a similar set of rules on behalf of the ACLU, yesterday noted that the new rules are improved in some respects but not in others.
"We still don't feel they meet the standards of the First Amendment," he said. "We will file an amended complaint challenging the rules in U.S. District Court ."