A federal judge today tossed out the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council's latest legal effort to get the city to leave it alone and do whatever it wants with the St. Patrick's Day parade. But US District Court Judge Richard Stearns left the door open to a lawsuit over next year's parade.
In a ruling today, Stearns agreed with city attorneys that the council's latest lawsuit over the parade - which charged the city was violating its First Amendment and due-process rights to hold as long of a parade as it wants and to keep out gays - was kind of moot because what's done is done and the council is not alleging any present damages:
Crucially, the Council does not allege that it has applied for and has been denied a permit to conduct a future parade on its chosen route and with its chosen participants. Absent some allegation that the City and its officials have taken a concrete adverse action with respect to a future parade, any threat of harm at this point is conjectural.
The council had initially sued before this year's parade, demanding to be allowed to march its traditional route down Broadway and then to Andrew Square or, rather, traditional since the time the council sued the city to shorten the route.
Stearns granted a temporary injunction that said the council's rights outweighed city concerns about terrorism and drunken revelers milling about and the parade went down the longer route.
Then, last month, the council amended its request to ask for a permanent injunction - and to demand the city not threaten to pull city services if the council stopped letting LGBT and peace groups march. The council's new complaint alleged that Mayor Walsh himself threatened to withhold those services otherwise.
Stearns' ruling today was in response to the amended complaint.