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On May 27, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Wood v. Moss. This lawsuit against several Secret Service agents presents two questions: one, did the court of appeals err in denying qualified immunity to agents protecting the president by evaluating the respondent’s claim of viewpoint discrimination at a high level of generality, and concluding that pro- and anti-Bush demonstrators should have been positioned an equal distance from the President while he was dining on the outdoor patio and while he was travelling by motorcade? Two, have respondents adequately pleaded viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment when no factual allegations support their claim of discriminatory motive and there was an obvious security-based rationale for moving the nearby anti-Bush group and not the farther-away pro-Bush group?

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court ruled that the Secret Service agents are entitled to immunity. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was reversed. 

To discuss the case, we have Patrick Garry, who is a professor of law at the University of South Dakota School of Law.

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