Angry New Yorker

Saturday, April 26, 2003
From The Indianapolis Star newspaper:
Limits on leaflets trigger lawsuit
Lebanon's 'free speech zones' policy draws ire of minister intent on distributing literature

The above story is near-classic first amendment problem. First, there's a standardless discretion problem with official approval of the permit, and even a prior restraint aspect. Not to mention parks are a traditional public fora, necessitating strict scrutiny... and the regulation is not content-neutral (prohibiting distribution of porn, ads and solicitations). The state's interest "people don't want to be hassled while exercising or picnicking" hardly strikes me as a compelling interest when weighed against the historical philosophies underpinning the 1st amendment and traditional public fora.
Toss in the religious aspect of free exercise as a semi-red herring -- since the law effects religious exercise only incidentally and is not motivated or targeted at religion -- and it's chuck full of 1st amendment fun.
But the final kicker is that ""the Park Board spent a lot of time in coming up with a policy they felt was suitable for everyone."
In all that time did they consider passing the regulation by a city lawyer, or even a law student? ;-)

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?