A unanimous decision in favour of Secret Service immunity from liability in a free-speech case
U.S. top court rules for Secret Service in Cheney case
WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Secret Service agents have immunity from a lawsuit by a Colorado man arrested after he confronted then-Vice President Dick Cheney and criticized his Iraq war policies.
The high court unanimously handed a victory to the Obama administration and the two agents, ruling they could not be held personally liable for damages in the suit alleging they arrested the man in retaliation for his political speech. The agents had sufficient cause to arrest him, the court said.
When then-Vice President Cheney visited a Colorado mall in 2006, Secret Service agent Dan Doyle overheard Steven Howards say that he was "going to ask [the vice president] how many kids he's killed today." Howards then got in line to meet Cheney and, when he reached the vice president, told him that his "policies in Iraq are disgusting." As Cheney moved along, Howards touched him on the shoulder, prompting the supervising Secret Service agent, Gus Reichle, to accost and arrest Howards for assault.
After the (assault) charges were dismissed, Howards sued the agents, claiming they arrested him in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to criticize Cheney. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled in Howards' favor.