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Wong v. Bush

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20235
Nos. No. 07-16799, (9th Cir., 09/05/2008)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard) did not violate appellants' First Amendment rights or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it established safety zones insulating a private "super ferry" in Hawaii from blockade by local protesters. To the extent the blockade in protest of the super ferry constitutes symbolic speech, the Coast Guard's rule establishing the security zone is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction. The rule is content-neutral, narrowly tailored to achieve a significant government interest, and leaves open ample alternative channels of communication. And because the security zone was established pursuant to a categorical exclusion under NEPA, the Coast Guard was not required to consider a "no action" alternative.