Professor Mitch Crusto was cited in a recent article by the Philadelpia Inquirer titled "How a 1980s Pa. traffic ordinance could influence Bridgegate case." The Fort Lee lane closure scandal involves top aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie closing access lanes over the George Washington Bridge, disrupting commuter access to Manhattan.
Two former Christie aides charged in the case are accused of "knowingly and willfully" depriving the residents of Fort Lee, Bergen County, of the right to "localized travel on public roadways free from restrictions unrelated to legitimate government objectives." Their defense argues that the indictment asserts a nonexistent constitutional right to be free from "inconvenience" and "improperly created traffic." The defense also cites Dickerson v. City of Gretna, a civil case involving residents trying to flee New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The residents were prohibited from crossing a bridge that led to the suburb of Gretna. A federal judge dismissed the residents claim, ruling in 2007 that "while there is no doubt that a fundamental right of interstate travel exists, the Supreme Court has not ruled on whether a right of intrastate travel exists."
"We regulate vehicle traffic all the time, between stop signs and stop lights and detours and all kinds of things," said Mitchell F. Crusto, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans, who has written about the Gretna case and the right to travel.
"I don't think that merely the fact that" Kelly and Baroni allegedly restricted travel "in and of itself would be a violation of the Constitution or a criminal act," said Crusto, who has not followed the bridge case.