Late yesterday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national public interest law firm, filed an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police commissioner.
The AFLC-filed motion asks the federal appellate court to immediately reverse Judge Denise Cote’s recent order refusing to issue an immediate injunction forbidding Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Police Department from preventing public group protests in the City.
The underlying lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of political activist Pamela Geller, challenges Mayor de Blasio’s recent announcement that, pursuant to his executive orders, the First Amendment no longer applies in the City of New York as he has made it unlawful to peaceably assemble and protest.
Immediately after filing the lawsuit, AFLC filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to permit organized public protests that abide by social distancing and face mask requirements. Oral argument was heard on that motion last Friday via videoconferencing, but the judge refused to grant the injunction. On Monday, the judge issued her order denying the TRO and entered a final judgment dismissing the lawsuit so AFLC could file an expedited appeal on behalf of Ms. Geller.