Chattanooga Occupiers Sued

The standoff between the Hamilton County Commission and Occupy Chattanooga over tents on the lawn of the County Courthouse has moved to the federal courthouse, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press..
Commission Chairman Larry Henry filed suit in U.S. District Court, asking for a declaration that new rules governing public use of county land are compatible with the First Amendment and can be applied to protesters who’ve been on the lawn since November. The suit names Occupy Chattanooga, nine individuals and unnamed “John Does” and “Mary Does.”
“At no time has Hamilton County attempted to deny anyone their constitutional right of free speech and it does not seek to do so here,” Henry said Wednesday. “Rather, because Hamilton County respects the rights of its citizens and others to express their views, Hamilton County felt that these issues should be affirmatively addressed by a neutral court before any further action is taken.”
But David Veazey, an attorney representing the Occupy group, said the suit is premature because the U.S. Constitution requires that a claim arise from a case or controversy.
“There’s no real controversy to settle,” Veazey said, because the county hasn’t taken any formal action against the protesters.
“I expect I’ll be filing a motion to dismiss because it’s an inappropriate forum to handle this issue,” he said.

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