On Wednesday, September 18, Mauck & Baker hosted a press conference in Millennium Park to announce its lawsuit against the City of Chicago on behalf of four Wheaton College students (and inevitably all Americans) who want the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights in a traditional public forum.
"The City of Chicago has decided to make up out of thin air a bunch of rules dividing Millennium Park into eleven 'rooms.' These 'rooms' are then off limits, except one out of the eleven, are people allowed to give speeches and hand out literature," attorney John Mauck explained. "It's an attempt to say this is an indoor building where you can't come and talk freely because now we've called them 'rooms.' But that doesn't make sense. It's open air, it's an open park, and that's what we'll be arguing."
"I'm not sure where the walls are. Be careful if you walk around, you don't want to bump into any of these imaginary air walls--you might get bruised," Mauck joked.
Attorney John Mauck was ironically approached by a Millennium Park guard asking if he had a permit to give a speech, even though Chicago park officials had removed such a requirement from the rules a few weeks prior.
Listening to this message were cameramen and reporters from Fox, ABC, Chicago Tribune, WORLD radio, and WBBM. They weren’t the only ones in attendance, however. Many members of our law firm also came to show support and join in prayer—which was exactly how John Mauck opened before announcing the details of the lawsuit and what the students hope to achieve.
The press conference was a success. After appearing on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, the case quickly went from local to national news. It was discussed on radio talk shows, ranted about in op-eds, and shared across social media:
The goal of this lawsuit is to protect free speech for everyone, although many still don’t understand what that really means. Critics of the case have responded by saying the students should “just go preach elsewhere” and “follow the rules.” Yet, a public park like Millennium is the quintessential place for free speech. Aren’t Chicago’s park officials breaking the rules of the Constitution by ignoring that?
Please pray for our attorneys and our plaintiffs throughout the next few months, that we may help change Millennium Park’s restrictive rules and also change hearts for Jesus in the process.
Posted on Tue, October 8, 2019
by Mauck & Baker