Judge rules against NYC court protest organizers

January 19, 2012 - 8:45 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has ruled demonstrators don't have a First Amendment right to protest Friday afternoon in front of a New York City federal courthouse that has hosted several major terrorism trials.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said Thursday he wouldn't order the federal government to let an Occupy the Courts demonstration occur outside the lower Manhattan courthouse. He says the space isn't a public forum and the government acted reasonably in denying a permit.

A government lawyer says the courthouse poses unique security concerns in part because of terrorism fears.

Protest organizers had asked the judge to overturn the General Services Administration's rejection of their permit application. Their lawsuit said their First Amendment rights were violated.

The nationwide protest marks the second anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against limits on spending by independent organizations.