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Endorsement of Constitutionality of Protest Safety Ordinance

Press Release
In this article


Eileen Park, (503) 823-6541


SUMMARY: Professor at Georgetown Law and successful litigator for Charlottesville during 2017 Unite the Right rally, endorses Portland’s Protest Safety Ordinance.

Mary McCord is a senior litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.  She previously was the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2016–2017, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security from 2014–2017, and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for nearly two decades. 

McCord recently led successful litigation on behalf of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, and local small businesses and neighborhood associations against alt-right, white nationalist, and militia organizations and individuals who engaged in paramilitary activity after the August 2017 Unite the Right rally, during which one person was killed and dozens injured.  The lawsuit resulted in court orders permanently prohibiting the defendant individuals and organizations from returning to Charlottesville as part of a unit of two or more persons, acting in concert, while armed with any type of weapon during any protest, rally, demonstration, or march.

McCord submitted a statement to the Portland City Council today, on behalf of ICAP, opining that the proposed ordinance to “Authorize the Commissioner in Charge of the Police Bureau to Order Content-Neutral Time, Place, and Manner Regulations for Demonstrations Held in the City” is facially constitutional. She noted that the ordinance does not empower the city to pick and choose which groups and individuals get to engage in First Amendment activity, but provides the city with tools to set safe conditions for all those who engage in First Amendment activity, regardless of their views.  If implemented consistently with the terms of the ordinance, content-neutral time, place, and manner regulations can be speech-enhancing by reducing the potential for violence during public demonstrations and protests. 

Her official letter of endorsement is