UPDATE: Judge overrules city.
As promised, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council has gone to court to seek an order forcing the city to let it run the St. Patrick's Day parade from Broadway station to Andrew Square, rather than forcing the parade to stop at Farragut Road.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, the group's lawyer, Chester Darling, argues the city's decision to shorten the route by roughly half on March 20 violated not just the organizer's First Amendment rights of assembly and free speech but "deprived the neighborhood and the residents of their opportunity to associate themselves with the Plaintiffs' First Amendment activity by their applause, and other reactions to the values and messages contained in the parade."
In a memorandum in support of a request for a temporary restraining order to force the longer route, Darling snarls at what he calls the city's "pretext" of a shorter route being safer and less expensive:
There is no case law that supports the ability of the entity issuing Parade Permits to do so with unfettered, unrestrained and unbridled discretion. The actions of the Defendants in this case, are beyond the usual efforts to invoke "plausible deniability". Their actions define the word "pretext".
The abuse of discretion by the Defendants as the permitting authority in this action, will devastate a cultural event and cause the loss of the Plaintiffs' fundamental rights of expression that the participants and the spectators have enjoyed for over 70 years.
Darling does not mention 1978, when the council went to court - to shorten the parade route, over the objections of city officials, who wanted it to run its full length.