Opinions & Commentaries

This case presents two unrelated questions. Appellant challenges his Kentucky conviction for disorderly conduct on the ground that the conviction and the State's statute are repugnant to the First and Fourteenth Amendments. He also challenges the constitutionality of the enhanced penalty he received under Kentucky's two-tier system for adjudicating certain criminal cases, whereby a person charged with a misdemeanor may be tried first in an inferior court and, if dissatisfied with the outcome, may have a trial de novo in a court of general *106 criminal jurisdiction but must run the risk, if convicted, of receiving a greater punishment.

READ MORE


City ordinance prohibiting all picketing within 150 feet of a school, except peaceful picketing of any school involved in a labor dispute, found by the Court of Appeals to be unconstitutional because overbroad, held violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment since it makes an impermissible distinction between peaceful labor picketing and other peaceful picketing.

READ MORE


Appellant Richard Grayned was convicted or his part in a demonstration in front of West Senior High School in Rockford, Illinois. On April 25, 1969, approximately 200 people -- students, their family members, and friends -- gathered next to the school grounds. Appellant, whose brother and twin sisters were attending the school, was part of this group. The demonstrators marched around on a sidewalk about 100 feet from the school building, which was set back from the street. Many carried signs which summarized the grievances: "Black cheerleaders to cheer too"; "Black history with black teachers"; "Equal rights, Negro counselors." Others, without placards, made the "power to the people" sign with their upraised and clenched fists. After warning the demonstrators, the police arrested 40 of them, including appellant. For participating in the demonstration, Grayned was tried and convicted of violating two Rockford ordinances, the "anti-picketing" ordinance and the "anti-noise" ordinance. A $25 fine was imposed for each violation.

READ MORE


In 1973, appellants began operating an adult bookstore in the commercial zone in the Borough of Mount Ephraim in Camden County, N. J. The store sold adult books, magazines, and films. Amusement licenses shortly issued permitting the store to install coin-operated devices by virtue of which a customer could sit in a booth, insert a coin, and watch an adult film. In 1976, the store introduced an additional coin-operated mechanism permitting the customer to watch a live dancer, usually nude, performing behind a glass panel. *63 Complaints were soon filed against appellants charging that the bookstore's exhibition of live dancing violated § 99-15B of Mount Ephraim's zoning ordinance, which described the permitted uses in a commercial zone,[1] in which the store was located, as follows:

READ MORE


A rule (Rule 6.05) of the Minnesota Agricultural Society (Society), a Minnesota public corporation that operates the annual state fair, provides that sale or distribution of any merchandise, including printed or written material, except from a duly licensed location on the fairgrounds shall be a misdemeanor. As Rule 6.05 is construed and applied by the Society, all persons, groups, or firms desiring to sell, exhibit, or distribute materials during the fair must do so only from fixed locations. However, the Rule does not prevent organizational representatives from walking about the fairgrounds and communicating the organization's views to fair patrons in face-to-face discussions. Space in the fairgrounds is rented in a nondiscriminatory fashion on a first-come, first-served basis, and Rule 6.05 applies alike to nonprofit, charitable, and commercial enterprises. Respondents, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. (ISKCON), an organization espousing the views of the Krishna religion, and the head of one of its temples filed suit in a Minnesota state court against state officials, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that Rule 6.05, on its face and as applied, violated their First Amendment rights. ISKCON asserted that the Rule suppressed the practice of Sankirtan, a religious ritual that enjoins its members to go into public places to distribute or sell religious literature and to solicit donations for the support of the Krishna religion. The trial court upheld the constitutionality of Rule 6.05, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed.

READ MORE


In this case we must determine whether 40 U. S. C. § 13k, which prohibits, among other things, the "display [of] any flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public *173 notice any party, organization, or movement"[1] in the United States Supreme Court building and on its grounds, violates the First Amendment.

READ MORE


This case involves a constitutional challenge to a zoning ordinance, enacted by appellant city of Renton, Washington, that prohibits adult motion picture theaters from locating within 1,000 feet of any residential zone, single- or multiple-family dwelling, church, park, or school. Appellees, Playtime Theatres, Inc., and Sea-First Properties, Inc., filed an action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington seeking a declaratory judgment that the Renton ordinance violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments and a permanent injunction against its enforcement. The District Court ruled in favor of Renton and denied the permanent injunction, but the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded for reconsideration. 748 F. 2d 527 (1984). We noted probable jurisdiction, 471 U. S. 1013 (1985), and now reverse the judgment of the Ninth Circuit.[1]*44 In May 1980, the Mayor of Renton, a city of approximately 32,000 people located just south of Seattle, suggested to the Renton City Council that it consider the advisability of enacting zoning legislation dealing with adult entertainment uses. No such uses existed in the city at that time. Upon the Mayor's suggestion, the City Council referred the matter to the city's Planning and Development Committee. The Committee held public hearings, reviewed the experiences of Seattle and other cities, and received a report from the City Attorney's Office advising as to developments in other cities. The City Council, meanwhile, adopted Resolution No. 2368, which imposed a moratorium on the licensing of "any business. . . which . . . has as its primary purpose the selling, renting or showing of sexually explicit materials." App. 43. The resolution contained a clause explaining that such businesses "would have a severe impact upon surrounding businesses and residences." Id., at 42.

READ MORE


Respondent Rock Against Racism (RAR), furnishing its own sound equipment and technicians, has sponsored yearly programs of rock music at the Naumberg Acoustic Bandshell in New York City's Central Park. The city received numerous complaints about excessive noise at RAR's concerts. Rejecting various other solutions to the excessive noise and inadequate amplification problems, the city adopted a Use Guideline for the bandshell which specified that the city would furnish high quality sound equipment and retain an independent, experienced sound technician for all performances. After the city implemented this guideline, RAR amended a preexisting District Court complaint against the city to seek damages and a declaratory judgment striking down the guideline as facially invalid under the First Amendment.

READ MORE


Government property that is designated by the government as being open and available to the pubic for expressive purposes is as classified as a public forum. The government regulation of speech in a public forum must pass strict scrutiny.Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496 (1939). Speech in a public forum may also be regulated by reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions which do not target the content of speech. If on the other hand, the Government has not made their property available for public expression, or the function of the property would be substantially hampered by expression, the property will be classified as a non-public forum. The Government may regulate or ban all types of speech in a nonpublic forum. Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966). Lastly, a quasi-public or limited public forum may exist where the government has opened to certain First Amendment uses. A government-operated limited public forum is not required to and does not allow individuals to engage in all types of speech. The regulation of speech activity where the Government has not dedicated its property to First Amendment activity is examined only for reasonableness.

READ MORE


Help FIRE protect the speech rights of students and faculty.

Support FIRE
css.php