Supreme Court Bites Into First Amendment, Bans Protests On Its Grounds
The Supreme Court has come up with a new regulation banning demonstrations on its grounds, two days after a broader anti-demonstration law was declared unconstitutional.
The regulation bans activities on the court’s grounds or building such as picketing, speech-making, marching, vigils or religious services “that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.”
It says that “casual use by visitors or tourists” that isn’t likely to attract a crowd is not banned. That may be a way of addressing the concern posed by a federal judge who threw out the law barring processions and expressive banners on the court’s grounds.
In her ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said that law was so broad it could criminalize preschool students parading on their first field trip to the high court. She also wrote that the marshal of the Supreme Court “has the authority to prescribe necessary regulations to govern the plaza,” which is what the marshal did Thursday.
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