Justices refuse to hear SC anti-war protester appeal

(Washington-AP) January 17, 2006 - The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from an anti-war protester in South Carolina.

Brett Bursey was convicted of violating a "restricted area" established during President Bush's visit to South Carolina in 2002. Bursey had urged the justices to hear his appeal of a $500 fine he was assessed for entering a restricted area near an airport hanger in West Columbia.

Bursey's lawyers say in court papers that he was exercising his free-speech rights when he carried a megaphone and a placard into the restricted area. His lawyers wanted the high court to limit the government's ability to expand restricted areas during presidential events.

A Secret Service agent told Bursey he could protest in a designated area a half-mile away. He was arrested when he refused to leave the restricted area.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Bursey said he wanted to talk to his attorney before commenting.

Updated 12:32pm by Bryce Mursch