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Appellate Court Calls Moot Lawsuit by Veteran who Tried to Hang Upside-Down Flag at VA

The VA has pledged to enforce its regulation banning the unauthorized posting of material.

Credit: Veterans Home of West Los Angeles
Credit: Veterans Home of West Los Angeles

A federal appeals court ruled today that a veteran who tried to hang an upside-down flag on Veterans Administration land in West Los Angeles no longer has a case since the VA has pledged to enforce its regulation banning the unauthorized posting of material.

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena affirmed a lower court ruling that found Robert Rosebrock's request for an injunction moot.

Rosebrock protested outside the VA's health care facility for years each Sunday to draw attention to what he claims is the agency's failure to allow homeless veterans to use the campus lawn.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed suit in 2010 on behalf of Rosebrock, alleging the VA was inconsistent in enforcement of its bill-posting rule.

The lower court concluded that the VA had violated the First Amendment but denied Rosebrock's request for injunctive relief on the grounds that it was moot and not in the public interest.

"We have little concern that the VA is engaged in gamesmanship where, as here, the VA states that it will be more vigilant in following a previously existing policy of consistent enforcement of a longstanding regulation," Judge Jay Bybee wrote for the appeals court majority.

--City News Service


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