City of Chicago Will Not Appeal Free Speech Ruling
CITY OF CHICAGO WILL NOT APPEAL FREE SPEECH RULING
Will Draft Less Restrictive Rules for Millennium Park
CHICAGO, IL – Wednesday, March 4, – In a status hearing at US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the City of Chicago, revealed that it will not appeal Judge John Robert Blakey’s decision issued on February 20 to grant plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction in Swart et al v. City of Chicago.
In doing so the City admits that certain aspects of the rules that were being enforced in Millennium Park were unconstitutional. Thus, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will make revisions to properly conform their park rules to the law laid out in Judge Blakey’s 32-page written opinion. Both parties agreed to work together to achieve an acceptable result.
Specifically sections P1 and P3 of the rules will be either removed or reworked so that they will no longer overly restrict free speech, the free exercise of religion, the distribution of free literature, or the opportunity to collect signatures for petitions. Judge Blakey will retain jurisdiction during this process in the case of further conflict regarding the rules.
“This is a win, not only for our evangelists who want to share the message of new life through Jesus, but also for people of all religions and political persuasions who want to share their message with the 20,000,000 annual visitors to Millennium Park,” attorney John Mauck said.
On Friday, February 21, the Wheaton Student Evangelism Team returned to Millennium Park to preach there for the first time in over a year--now without fear of being kicked out by Park security.
A status hearing date of June 9, 2020 has been set to follow up and discuss attorneys’ fees and damages.
(Court Transcript Available Upon Inquiry)