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High court hears suit over Cheney event arrest
Supreme Court appears favorable to Secret Service agents' immunity over arrest at Cheney event
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Supreme Court seems inclined to shield federal agents who are protecting government officials from claims of free speech violations, in a case that began with the arrest of a man who confronted Vice President Dick Cheney.

The justices voiced concern Wednesday that the threat of lawsuits over retaliatory arrests could make Secret Service agents and other officers who protect federal officials hesitate at critical moments, with potentially disastrous results.

The court is being asked to bar lawsuits asserting that an arrest was made in retaliation for what someone said, if a judge has found law enforcement officers had a valid reason for the arrest.

Lawsuits over retaliatory prosecutions already are not allowed in similar circumstances.

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