ALBUQUERQUE – An Albuquerque man has lost a court bid to have a rally where Vice President Dick Cheney (search) is to speak opened to people of all political affiliations. Cheney is scheduled to speak at a Rio Rancho school Saturday afternoon.
Albuquerque attorney Susan Chappell, a Democrat, filed a petition against the Republican rally late Friday afternoon on behalf of John Wade (search).
Wade, a Democrat, and at least one other man were asked a number of questions Thursday and then told they must sign a pledge of support for President Bush (search) before receiving tickets. Wade signed the petition and got the tickets, but then promptly returned them and took back the petition.
The petition for a temporary restraining order argued that requiring an endorsement as a prerequisite to attending the rally at a public school violates the constitutional protections of free speech and freedom of assembly.
The petition asked that Wade and other people in his position be let in — or that the event be shut down.
State District Judge Ted Baca quickly turned down the request because Republicans were never informed that they were being taken to court.
"It's hard for me to conclude you could not at least make a phone call to the Republican Party," Baca said.
Baca kept the court open after 5 p.m. Friday to hear the last-minute motion.
Chappell told Baca she was under a "tremendous amount of pressure" to get the petition filed Friday and she shouldn't be required to give notice under the circumstances.
All of the tickets to the event were reserved as of Friday night, organizers said.
The rally is meant to be a thank you to supporters, Republicans said.
The measure was a security step designed to avoid a disruption, which Bush campaign spokesman Dan Foley alleged Democrats were planning.
Democratic Party officials denied it.
Yier Shi, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., said the rally is meant to reward and enthuse supporters, not as a forum to preach to skeptics.
Democrats, independents and others are welcome as long as they like Bush and Cheney, Yier Shi said.
Rio Rancho resident Jim Brown, a registered Democrat, said he's angry.
"I resent the school that my taxes paid for being used for an event that's restricted to people who sign a pledge to the Republican Party," Brown, a Democrat, said.