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Supreme Court rules against protester banned from area outside Calif. air base gate

The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against a man who was caught protesting military activities despite having been barred because of previous activities near the main gate at a California Air Force base.

The justices on Wednesday threw out an appeals court ruling that overturned the conviction of John Dennis Apel under a law giving commanding officers authority to prevent people from entering military installations.

Apel had been barred because of earlier protest activities from entering any part of Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast, including a designated protest area on a public highway that passes near the main gate.

The decision didn't discuss Apel's First Amendent right of free speech, and he may be able to raise that argument before a California federal appeals court.