Media Contact

David Gwidt, ACLU of Wisconsin Deputy Communications Director,

July 9, 2024

MILWAUKEE— A federal judge Monday night ruled that the City of Milwaukee acted in accordance with the Constitution when establishing rules regulating protests during the Republican National Convention. The judge decided that the city’s parade route does not need to be changed to comply with constitutional requirements.

The judge did, however, reject the city’s claim that it had the power to deny or revoke parade or speaker platform permits on the grounds of an applicant’s possible prior criminal convictions. A preliminary injunction was entered to prevent the city from revoking permits on that basis.

Tim Muth, staff attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin, said the following in response to the ruling:

“We are disappointed by today’s ruling and the lack of an authorized parade route within sight and sound of the convention. We still believe that the City’s failure to act concerning our client’s permit application, its delay in establishing a protest zone and a parade route until weeks before the convention, and its decision to push protesters even further away from the convention site with the expansion of the credentialed zone chill freedom of expression and restrict the exercise of First Amendment rights. 

Regardless of this ruling, we still expect the City of Milwaukee to follow the Constitution and ensure that protesters can freely, thoroughly, and safely make their voices heard and peacefully protest without unnecessary interference from law enforcement.

The First Amendment is not an ideal meant only to be revered in the abstract. It is a core principle of American democracy that lays the foundation for all the other freedoms we enjoy as a nation. The City of Milwaukee is still responsible for protecting that sacred right, and taking that responsibility seriously is imperative.”

Wisconsinites can learn about their rights at protests by reviewing our Know Your Rights resources.