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Court Nixes National Park Rule Requiring Permits to Distribute Religious Tracts

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court has thrown out National Park Service rules requiring a Minnesota man to get a permit before distributing religious materials at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

In the ruling released Friday, the court said the rules were unconstitutional and violated Michael Boardley's free-speech rights.

Boardley sued the U.S. Interior Department, National Park Service and five federal officials in November 2007 after he was told he would need a permit to distribute "gospel tracts" at the monument.

A federal judge ruled in March 2009 that Mount Rushmore did not violate Boardley's constitutional rights. Boardley appealed.

Messages left for National Park Service spokesmen in Washington, D.C., and at Mount Rushmore were not immediately returned.

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