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SPOCK v. DAVID

October 12, 1972

Benjamin SPOCK et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Bert A. DAVID, Commander, Fort Dix Military Reservation, and Melvin Laird, Secretary of Defense, Defendants


Clarkson S. Fisher, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: FISHER

Plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction ordering defendants from enforcing several Army and Post Regulations which they claim deprives them of their First Amendment rights to make political addresses and to pass out literature in the military confines of Fort Dix.

 These allegations are sufficient to establish jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331. The application will be decided on stipulated facts, affidavits supplied by the parties and testimony and documents received into evidence at the hearing on October 4, 1972.

 The plaintiffs' situations fall into two categories. Generally one group of complainants seek to enter the base as political candidates to hold rallies and make political speeches. They are Benjamin Spock and Julius Hobson, Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates of the Peoples Party and Linda Jenness and Andrew Pulley, candidates for the same offices on the Socialist Workers Party Ticket.

 The second category of plaintiffs is composed of members of anti-Viet Nam conflict groups and draft education and conscientious objector organizations who seek relief from being banned from the military installation at Fort Dix. They are John Ginaven, Donald Misch, Alan Hardy and Robert Stanton, who attempted to and still desire to distribute leaflets at the Fort. Although their intended activities are different, it is interesting to note that they ally themselves in this litigation.

 Candidates Spock, Hobson, Jenness and Pulley wrote a letter dated September 9, 1972 to General David, Commanding General at Fort Dix, advising him that on September 23, 1972 they intended to enter the Fort to distribute campaign literature and hold a meeting with service personnel. In the letter they agreed to time and place designated by the defendants. On September 18, 1972 General David responded by letter refusing the request giving the following reasons:

 
1. Fort Dix Regulation No. 210-26, April 9, 1968, prohibiting demonstrations, picketing, political speeches and the like on the base.
 
2. Fort Dix Regulation No. 210-27 prohibiting distribution of literature not previously approved as to content.
 
3. Department of the Army Regulations which prohibit military personnel from participating in any partisan political campaign.
 
4. Interference with the duties of the military personnel.
 
5. The Commanding General would appear partisan, if he allowed campaigning.

 Undaunted, the candidates then informed General David that they intended to walk on the base to campaign on September 23, 1972 at 11:00 A.M. through the entrance to Fort Dix just outside Wrightstown, N.J. When they arrived, they were refused admittance.

 The other plaintiffs who had been distributing literature on the Fort at various times (Stanton as long ago as 1968) were apprehended, evicted and given notice that they were barred from the base.

 Fort Dix is a military reservation not far from Trenton, N.J. and located in a rural area. It covers fifty-five square miles and has seven main entrance ways. The roads leading into Fort Dix are not covered by guards or barriers. Apparently, because of the cut-back in personnel and inaccessibility of the military ...


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