No Blood for Oil
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Mixed Media
Artist: Brett Bursey
Confronting Bodies: U.S. Secret Service, District Attorney's office, South Carolina police
Date of Action: December 2003
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Description of Artwork: A protest sign reading No Blood for Oil.
The Incident: Bursey attended a speech given by Bush at the Columbia International Airport. He was standing in a crowd of Bush supporters holding a sign that read, No Blood for Oil. Bursey was ordered to put down the sign or move to a designated protest site, over a half-mile away. When Bursey refused he was arrested and charged with trespassing by the South Carolina police.
Results of Incident: Bursey was originally charged with trespassing, but the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the airport was public property and people could not be charged with trespassing on public property. Then, the United States Attorney charged him under the federal statute that gives the secret service the right to restrict access to areas visited by the president, which could lead to a $5,000 fine and or 6 months in prison. Members of the House of Representatives, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, in addition to the ACLU, sent a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging him to drop the charges, to no avail. On September 14, 2004, District Court Judge Cameron Carrie upheld Bursey's trespassing conviction and fined him $500. Bursey filed an appeal on April 12, 2004 to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the district court's decision on July 25, 2005. Bursey's writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court was denied on January 17, 2006.
Source: The Billings Gazette; http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/past-cases/united-states-v.-brett-bursey