USDC CA 95-1018 Introduction

THOMAS, et al v. CLINTON, et al

USDC CA 95-1018

Docket Sheet


The latest round in the age old struggle between "security" and "truth" is being played out in Peace (Lafayette) Park. The National Park Service identifies the Park as the "symbol of openness in governent and our free and democratic nation."

Of course, those who live by the sword are continually preoccupied with the fear that they will die by the sword, thus, in the wake of the Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma, the fear driven closure of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House many not seem entirely paranoid.

In addition to closing the street in front of the White House, the Secret Service has also placed barricades around the perimeter of the entire Park. It is sad to think that this valorous country would actually be so frightened by a bombing in Oklahoma that it would timidly destroy its own symbol of freedom and democracy. But there are other possibilities.

Is the government worthy of such implicit trust that the Reichstag fire should be forgotten? Hitler was elected Chancellor of germany in 1932. In February, 1933 the Reichstag Building, seat of the German government, was gutted by a mysterious. Today it is widely believed that the Nazis started the fire, but Gobbels, Hitler's master of propaganda, fanned public fears by spreading the story that the Communists had set the blaze. Terrorist hysteria primed the public to accept the National Security Act. The National Security Act legitimized all excesses and abuses perpetrated by the Nazi government, and, years later at the war crimes tribunals in Nuremberg, allowed accused war criminals to argue that they had committed no crimes, but were only enforcing the law of their country.

Obviously, even if the Communists were responsible for torching the Reichstag, the National Security Act still would not have justified the excesses of the Nazi government.

In this case we test the theory that the judicial system can, or is willing to, act as a check on the rationality of administrative "security concerns" and a balance against the capricious suppression of public expression and assembly, as epitomized by the Park.