By now the whole world knows that three Denver defenders of Social Security were tossed out of Bush's recent privatization rally by a Republican operative who was dressed to look like a Secret Service agent but wasn't -- as the Secret Service itself revealed. And now the three may sue the GOP over the ejection.
But why stop there? There is a federal statute allowing civil actions for "conspiracies to deprive civil rights." And I also recall a precedent from the last administration that allows sitting presidents to be sued -- and deposed -- while in office. If there is enough evidence to support a complaint that the eviction was part of conspiracy to deprive these citizens of their First Amendment rights based on their expressed political beliefs (and of course conspiracies are usually proved by circumstantial evidence) the Supreme Court has said even the president himself can be forced to defend the case. At a minimum, I'd like to see Bush deposed as a nonparty witness about the relationship between the Secret Service and the party and his knowledge about party officials' censorship of opposing views at what was billed as a "town hall meeting."
But very much aside from my partisan interest in seeing the Paula Jones decision come back to bite the Republicans, there is an important point that should be legally tested: Is it OK for a president to outsource security for what otherwise would be a public event, and then claim that because the event was being run by a private organization it is a "private event" and the First Amendment does not apply? If the Denver Three decides to take the inevitable abuse that would come from being the plaintiffs in a case to test this theory (and the misrepresentations about them have already started) I'd consider them true heroes of democracy.