In a stunningly abrupt ruling just before noon Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge John Robert Blakey dismissed the Protect Our Parks (POP) lawsuit that sought to keep the Obama Presidential Center from locating in Jackson Park.
Before a packed courtroom in the Dirksen Federal Building, Judge Blakey opined that, “both sides came with the best of intentions” to this “classic struggle” that pitted a small group of activists against the city of Chicago and the Chicago Park District.
But, the judge continued, “the facts in this case are clear, and the law is more settled” than the proponents for either side might have you think.
“This is not submerged or formerly submerged land,” the judge said, dismissing an application of special protections under the Public Trust Doctrine that had been invoked by Protect Our Parks.
Lawyers for the city had argued that those protections did not apply.
“Everyone’s had their day in court,” but, in the end, “this is not a difficult case,” the judge continued. “It’s a park, not a nature preserve. This case is dismissed.”
Protect Our Parks said it will file an immediate appeal. v