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Sea Scouts have their day in Court


                                                                      File photo

On January 10, 2006, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in an appeal of a case brought by a Sea Scout Crew against the City of Berkeley.  An archived webcast of that argument is available by clicking here.

For 60 years, Berkeley permitted the Sea Scouts to berth their boat for free in the Berkeley Marina.  The City even developed a policy allowing nonprofit organizations that provide community service to receive free berthing in the marina.  In 1998, however, Berkeley singled out the Sea Scouts from other nonprofit groups and raised their berthing fees because the Scouts adhere to Boy Scouts of America's constitutionally-protected membership policies.  The City of Berkeley made the Scouts choose between giving up their rights or paying.  No other nonprofit was required to make that choice.  That is discrimination against Scouting.  The Sea Scouts argued before the California Supreme Court that the City violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association, as well as their civil rights under state and federal law, by imposing fees not charged to other nonprofits to punish the Sea Scouts for Boy Scouts' speech.  

-- Boy Scouts of America is not a party to the case but filed a
friend of the court brief supporting the Sea Scouts.

-- See Pacific Legal Foundation's explanation of the issues in the case.

-- Here is how one journalist in the courtroom reported the argument.

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Go to our new page on the Winkler case
-- the ACLU's attempt to shut down the Jamboree.

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President Bush signs the Support Our Scouts Act of 2005 into law.  Learn more.

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Back by popular demand, our Tribute to the Military.

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Lots of new items on the What's New page.  Check it out by clicking here.