The Dallas Morning News reports on January 11th, 2007 that the Nationalist Movement will be allowed to march in Jena, Louisiana on Martin Luther King Day, January 21st, without posting a $10,000 bond sought by the city. Supplemental report posted by the New York Times. You can also read more about the background of this event HERE.
Richard Barrett, who heads up the Nationalist Movement located in Learned, MS, organized a Jena Justice Day rally to coincide with MLK Day not only to protest last September's invasion and occupation of Jena by 20,000 blacks in support of the Jena Six, the six black thugs who backjumped white victim Justin Barker (pictured above left) and put him in the hospital, but also to generate a campaign to abolish MLK Day. The rally is slated to begin at noon and end at the courthouse by 3 P.M. It will include a two-mile parade, speeches, ceremonies and petitions. Among noteworthy prospective attendees is former Democratic candidate for Alabama Attorney General Larry Darby, who came out of nowhere to get 43% of the vote in the Democratic primary election in 2006. Darby is well-known for his desire to take down the SPLC legally.
However, the city of Jena wanted the Nationalist Movement to post a $10,000 bond and meet other restrictions before allowing the group to rally on Martin Luther King Day. This request was based upon Jena's city ordinance, which requires a bond and an agreement to hold the town harmless for damages or personal injury. The Nationalist Movement promptly filed suit.
After it became apparent that U.S. District Judge Dee Drell was about to find fault with Jena's ordinance, the city decided to reconsider their requirements. "After two status conferences with all parties and a federal judge, we acknowledge that our ordinance does not pass First Amendment scrutiny," Mayor Murphy R. McMillin said in a news release Friday. "As we have said from the beginning, we are going to comply with the law. Although we disagree with the position of the Nationalist Movement, and with the beliefs that the group promotes, we respect the rights of its constituents to express those beliefs." So they've waived the $10,000 bond requirement in this case.
Towns are permitted to have ordinances for groups wanting to protest or march, said Walter E. Dorroh Jr., the town counsel. But if the law requires a bond, he said, it must have a provision to set that aside for indigent groups or have an appeals process. Jena’s ordinance did not, he said.
The city of Jena also plans to rewrite their ordinance. "We now know the ordinance is of questionable constitutionality, particularly in view of observations made by the federal judge in two status conferences," McMillin said. "Knowing now that the ordinance is faulty, we are in the process of correcting it." However, the new ordinance will not be in place before January 21st, when the Nationalists are planning to march, said Beth Rickey, a city spokeswoman.
Here are the basic provisions of the consent order, as posted on the Nationalist Movement website:
(1). Ordinance #146 of the Town of Jena will be forthwith repealed as violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments as written.
(2). The "Permit Application for Procession, March, Parade or Demonstration," pursuant to said ordinance, is withdrawn, as unenforceable and violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments as written.
(3). Defendants will not interfere with Plaintiff's exercise of its First Amendment rights on January 21, 2008, in the Town of Jena.
(4). Plaintiff, The Nationalist Movement, is the prevailing party in this litigation.
(5). Defendants will pay attorney fees and costs of this litigation to Plaintiff as provided by law and as decided by the Court. Plaintiff will submit its request therefore to the Court and Defendants will respond.
(6). There are no further issues between the parties. The Plaintiff is awarded $1.00 (one-dollar) in nominal damages. Neither party shall receive any other damages or injunctive relief.
Other useful information can be found on the Main Page of the Nationalist Movement website.
According to an article published in the Monroe (LA) News Star, there will be opposition, but no confrontration. Civil rights leaders plan some activities in Jena on January 20-21, but they express no intent to actually confront those participating in the Jena Justice Rally at this time.
Those who are thinking about attending can click HERE to find out more about accomodations in Jena if you plan to come down the night before the rally.