Free speech zone

Free speech zones (also known as First Amendment zones, free speech cages, and protest zones) are areas set aside in public places for the purpose of political protesting. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The existence of free speech zones is based on U.S. court decisions stipulating that the government may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner – but not content – of expression.

The Supreme Court has developed a four-part analysis to evaluate the constitutionality of time, place and manner (TPM) restrictions. To pass muster under the First Amendment, TPM restrictions must be neutral with respect to content, be narrowly drawn, serve a significant government interest, and leave open alternative channels of communication. Application of this four-part analysis varies with the circumstances of each case, and typically requires lower standards for the restriction of obscenity and fighting words.

Free speech zones have been used at a variety of political gatherings. The stated purpose of free speech zones is to protect the safety of those attending the political gathering, or for the safety of the protesters themselves. Critics, however, suggest that such zones are "Orwellian",[2][3] and that authorities use them in a heavy-handed manner to censor protesters by putting them literally out of sight of the mass media, hence the public, as well as visiting dignitaries. Though authorities generally deny specifically targeting protesters, on a number of occasions, these denials have been contradicted by subsequent court testimony. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed, with various degrees of success and failure, a number of lawsuits on the issue.

Though free speech zones existed prior to the Presidency of George W. Bush, it was during Bush's presidency that their scope was greatly expanded.[4] These zones have continued through the presidency of Barack Obama; he signed a bill in 2012 that expanded the power of the Secret Service to restrict speech and make arrests.[5]

Many colleges and universities earlier instituted free speech zone rules during the Vietnam-era protests of the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, a number of them have revised or removed these restrictions following student protests and lawsuits.

First amendment zone2
The free speech zone organized by the local government in Boston.[1] during the 2004 Democratic National Convention,
First amendment zone1
The free speech zone created by the local government at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (different angle)


During the 1988 Democratic National Convention, the city of Atlanta set up a "designated protest zone"[6] so the convention would not be disrupted. A pro-choice demonstrator opposing an Operation Rescue group said Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young "put us in a free-speech cage."[7] "Protest zones" were used during the 1992 and 1996 United States presidential nominating conventions.[8]

Free speech zones have been used for non-political purposes. Through 1990s, the San Francisco International Airport played host to a steady stream of religious groups (Hare Krishnas in particular), preachers, and beggars. The city considered whether this public transportation hub was required to host free speech, and to what extent. As a compromise, two "free speech booths" were installed in the South Terminal, and groups wishing to speak but not having direct business at the airport were directed there. These booths still exist, although permits are required to access the booths.[9]

WTO protests
Police on Union Street in Seattle during the 1999 WTO conference. The WTO protests catalyzed a number of changes in the way law enforcement deals with protesters.[10]

WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity saw a number of changes to how law enforcement deals with protest activities. "The [National Lawyers] Guild, which has a 35-year history of monitoring First Amendment activity, has witnessed a notable change in police treatment of political protesters since the November 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. At subsequent gatherings in Washington, D.C., Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Portland a pattern of behavior that stifles First Amendment rights has emerged".[10] In a subsequent lawsuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that "It was lawful for the city of Seattle to deem part of downtown off-limits ... But the court also said that police enforcing the rule may have gone too far by targeting only those opposed to the WTO, in violation of their First Amendment rights."[11]

Free speech zones were used in Boston at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The free speech zones organized by the authorities in Boston were boxed in by concrete walls, invisible to the FleetCenter where the convention was held and criticized harshly as a "protest pen" or "Boston's Camp X-Ray".[1] "Some protesters for a short time Monday [July 26, 2004] converted the zone into a mock prison camp by donning hoods and marching in the cage with their hands behind their backs."[12] A coalition of groups protesting the Iraq War challenged the planned protest zones. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock was sympathetic to their request: "One cannot conceive of what other design elements could be put into a space to create a more symbolic affront to the role of free expression.".[13] However, he ultimately rejected the petition to move the protest zones closer to the FleetCenter.[14]

Free speech zones were also used in New York City at the 2004 Republican National Convention. According to Mike McGuire, a columnist for the online anti-war magazine Nonviolent Activist, "The policing of the protests during the 2004 Republican National Convention represent[ed] another interesting model of repression. The NYPD tracked every planned action and set up traps. As marches began, police would emerge from their hiding places – building vestibules, parking garages, or vans – and corral the dissenters with orange netting that read 'POLICE LINE – DO not CROSS,' establishing areas they ironically called 'ad-hoc free speech zones.' One by one, protesters were arrested and detained – some for nearly two days."[15] Both the Democratic and Republican National parties were jointly awarded a 2005 Jefferson Muzzle from the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, "For their mutual failure to make the preservation of First Amendment freedoms a priority during the last Presidential election".[13]

Washington University Public Zones2
Falun Gong protesters inside a fenced-off free speech zone at the 2000 Presidential Debate at Washington University

Free speech zones were commonly used by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks and through the 2004 election. Free speech zones were set up by the Secret Service, who scouted locations where the U.S. president was scheduled to speak, or pass through. Officials targeted those who carried anti-Bush signs and escorted them to the free speech zones prior to and during the event. Reporters were often barred by local officials from displaying these protesters on camera or speaking to them within the zone.[16][4] Protesters who refused to go to the free speech zone were often arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and/or resisting arrest.[17][18] A seldom-used federal law making it unlawful to "willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in ... any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting" has also been invoked.[19][20]


First amendment area Muir Woods
A "First Amendment Area" at the Muir Woods National Monument.

Civil liberties advocates argue that Free Speech Zones are used as a form of censorship and public relations management to conceal the existence of popular opposition from the mass public and elected officials.[21] There is much controversy surrounding the creation of these areas – the mere existence of such zones is offensive to some people, who maintain that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution makes the entire country an unrestricted free speech zone.[21] The Department of Homeland Security "has even gone so far as to tell local police departments to regard critics of the War on Terrorism as potential terrorists themselves."[17][22]

The Bush administration has been criticized by columnist James Bovard of The American Conservative for requiring protesters to stay within a designated area, while allowing supporters access to more areas.[18] According to the Chicago Tribune, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal court in Washington, D.C. to prevent the Secret Service from keeping anti-Bush protesters distant from presidential appearances while allowing supporters to display their messages up close, where they are likely to be seen by the news media.[18]

The preliminary plan for the 2004 Democratic National Convention was criticized by the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU of Massachusetts as being insufficient to handle the size of the expected protest. "The zone would hold as few as 400 of the several thousand protesters who are expected in Boston in late July."[23]

Notable incidents and court proceedings

In 1939, the United States Supreme Court found in Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization that public streets and parks "have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions." In the later Thornhill v. Alabama case, the court found that picketing and marching in public areas is protected by the United States Constitution as free speech. However, subsequent rulings – Edwards v. South Carolina, Brown v. Louisiana, Cox v. Louisiana, and Adderley v. Florida – found that picketing is afforded less protection than pure speech due to the physical externalities it creates. Regulations on demonstrations may affect the time, place, and manner of those demonstrations, but may not discriminate based on the content of the demonstration.

The Secret Service denies targeting the President's political opponents. "Decisions made in the formulation of a security plan are based on security considerations, not political considerations", said one Secret Service spokesman.[24]

Bill Neel

"These [Free Speech] zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event. When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, 'The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.' The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a 'designated free-speech zone' on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct. Police detective John Ianachione testified that the Secret Service told local police to confine 'people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views.'"[18][25] District justice Shirley Trkula threw out the charges, stating that "I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"[16]

Brett Bursey

At another incident during a presidential visit to South Carolina, protester Brett Bursey refused an order by Secret Service agents to go to a free speech zone half-a-mile away. He was arrested and charged with trespassing by the South Carolina police. "Bursey said that he asked the policeman if 'it was the content of my sign,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, it's the content of your sign that's the problem.'"[18] However, the prosecution, led by James Strom Thurmond Jr., disputes Bursey's version of events.[26] Trespassing charges against Bursey were dropped, and Bursey was instead indicted by the federal government for violation of a federal law that allows the Secret Service to restrict access to areas visited by the president.[18] Bursey faced up to six months in prison and a US$5,000 fine.[18] After a bench trial, Bursey was convicted of the offense of trespassing, but judge Bristow Marchant deemed the offense to be relatively minor and ordered a fine of $500 be assessed, which Bursey appealed, and lost.[27] In his ruling, Marchant found that "this is not to say that the Secret Service's power to restrict the area around the President is absolute, nor does the Court find that protesters are required to go to a designated demonstration area – which was an issue in this case – as long as they do not otherwise remain in a properly restricted area."[27]

Marchant's ruling however, was criticized for three reasons:

  • The ruling found that Bursey was not the victim of selective prosecution because Bursey was the only person who had refused an order to leave the area. However, this overlooks the fact that nobody else refused to leave the zone because nobody else was asked to leave.[28]
  • The prosecution claimed that the protected zone around the President was 100 yards wide. However, it was unmarked, with cars and trucks allowed to pass through and drop off ticket-holders, and nobody was willing to tell protesters where the zone's boundaries were. Marchant's decision noted this but did not find this unreasonable.[28]
  • Marchant found that in the "age of suicide bombers", the Secret Service should have latitude to get rid of anyone suspicious who is standing near the president's route. However, given that the reason Bursey was singled out by the Secret Service was his sign, "it's enough to make anyone with a dissenting view think twice before deciding to stand out from a crowd."[28]

ACLU litigation

In 2003, the ACLU brought a lawsuit against the Secret Service, ACORN v. Secret Service, representing the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). "The federal court in Philadelphia dismissed that case in March [2004] after the Secret Service acknowledged that it could not discriminate against protesters through the use of out-of-sight, out-of-earshot protest zones."[29] Another 2003 lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia, ACORN v. Philadelphia, charged that the Philadelphia Police Department, on orders from the Secret Service, had kept protesters "further away from the site of presidential visits than Administration supporters. A high-ranking official of the Philadelphia police told ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director Stefan Presser that he was only following Secret Service orders."[21][30] However, the court found the ACLU lacked standing to bring the case and dismissed it.[31]

The Secret Service says it does establish 'public viewing areas' to protect dignitaries but does not discriminate against individuals based on the content of their signs or speech. 'Absolutely not,' said Tom Mazur, a spokesman for the agency created to protect the president. 'The Secret Service makes no distinction on the purpose, message or intent of any individual or group.' Civil libertarians dispute that. They cite a Corpus Christi, Texas, couple, Jeff and Nicole Rank, as an example. The two were arrested at a Bush campaign event in Charleston, West Virginia, on July 4, 2004, when they refused to take off anti-Bush shirts. Their shirts read, 'Love America, Hate Bush' ... The ACLU found 17 cases since March 2001 in which protesters were removed during events where the president or vice president appeared. And lawyers say it's an increasing trend.[32]

According to Jeff Rank, Nicole Rank's shirt did say "Love America, Hate Bush", Jeff Rank's shirt said "Regime change starts at home."[33]

The incident occurred several months after the Secret Service's pledge in ACORN v. Secret Service not to discriminate against protesters. "The charges against the Ranks were ultimately dismissed in court and the mayor and city council publicly apologized for the arrest. City officials also said that local law enforcement was acting at the request of Secret Service."[34] ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Chris Hansen pointed out that "The Secret Service has promised to not curtail the right to dissent at presidential appearances, and yet we are still hearing stories of people being blocked from engaging in lawful protest", said Hansen. "It is time for the Secret Service to stop making empty promises."[34] The Ranks subsequently filed a lawsuit, Rank v. Jenkins, against Deputy Assistant to the President Gregory Jenkins and the Secret Service. "The lawsuit, Rank v. Jenkins, is seeking unspecified damages as well as a declaration that the actions leading to the removal of the Ranks from the Capitol grounds were unconstitutional."[34] In August 2007, the Ranks settled their lawsuit against the Federal Government. The government paid them $80,000, but made no admission of wrongdoing.[35] The Ranks' case against Gregory Jenkins is still pending in the District of Columbia.[36]

As a result of ACLU subpoenas during the discovery in the Rank lawsuit, the ACLU obtained the White House's previously-classified presidential advance manual.[37] The manual gives people organizing presidential visits specific advice for preventing or obstructing protests. "There are several ways the advance person" – the person organizing the presidential visit – "can prepare a site to minimize demonstrators. First, as always, work with the Secret Service to and have them ask the local police department to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route. The formation of 'rally squads' is a common way to prepare for demonstrators ... The rally squad's task is to use their signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform ... As a last resort, security should remove the demonstrators from the event site."[37]

On college and university campuses

Texas Woman's University September 2015 62 (Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey Library)
The free speech area on the campus of Texas Woman's University (above) and the sign that demarcates it (below).
Texas Woman's University September 2015 63 (free speech area)

The use of free speech zones on university campuses is controversial. Many universities created on-campus free speech zones during the 1960s and 1970s, during which protests on-campus (especially against the Vietnam War) were common. Generally, the requirements are that the university is given advance notice and that they are held in locations that do not disrupt classes.

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that non-disruptive speech is permitted in public schools. However, this does not apply to private universities. In September 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings struck down the free speech zone policy at Texas Tech University.

According to the opinion of the court, campus areas such as parks, sidewalks, streets and other areas are designated as public forums, regardless of whether the university has chosen to officially designate the areas as such. The university may open more of the campus as public forums for its students, but it cannot designate fewer areas ... Not all places within the boundaries of the campus are public forums, according to Cummings' opinion. The court declared the university's policy unconstitutional to the extent that it regulates the content of student speech in areas of the campus that are public forums.[38]

In 2007, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a survey of 346 colleges and Universities in the United States.[39] Of those institutions, 259 (75%) maintain policies that "both clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech."

In December 2005, the College Libertarians at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro staged a protest outside the University's designated protest zones. The specific intent of the protest was to provoke just such a charge, in order to "provoke the system into action into a critical review of what's going on."[40] Two students, Allison Jaynes and Robert Sinnott, were brought up on charges under the student code of conduct of "violation of respect",[41] for refusing to move when told to do so by a university official.[40] The university subsequently dropped honor code charges against the students.[40] "University officials said the history of the free-speech zones is not known. 'It predated just about everybody here", said Lucien 'Skip' Capone III, the university attorney. The policy may be a holdover from the Vietnam War and civil rights era, he said.'"[40]

A number of colleges and universities have revised or revoked free speech zone policies in the last decade, including: Tufts University,[42] Appalachian State University,[42] and West Virginia University.[42][43] In August, 2006, Penn State University revised its seven-year-old rules restricting the rights of students to protest. "In effect, the whole campus is now a 'free-speech zone.'"[44]

Controversies have also occurred at the University of Southern California,[45] Indiana University,[46] the University of Nevada, Las Vegas,[47] and Brigham Young University.[48][49]

At Marquette University, philosophy department chairman James South ordered graduate student Stuart Ditsler to remove an unattributed Dave Barry quote from the door to the office that Ditsler shared with three other teaching assistants, calling the quote patently offensive. (The quote was: "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.") South claimed that the University's free-speech zone rules required Ditsler to take it down. University spokeswoman Brigid O'Brien Miller stated that it was "a workplace issue, not one of academic freedom."[50][51] Ultimately, the quote was allowed to remain, albeit with attribution.[52]

For example, the Louisiana State University Free Speech Alley (or Free Speech Plaza) was utilized in November 2015 when Louisiana gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards was publicly endorsed by former opponent and republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne.[53] The Consuming Fire Fellowship, a church located in rural Woodville, Mississippi, often sends members to convene at the universities free speech alley to preach their views of Christianity. The members have often been met with strong resistance and resentment by the student body.[54][55] Ivan Imes, a retired engineer who holds "Jesus Talks" for students at the university, said in an interview that he advised students frustrated with the preachings of the Consuming Fire Fellowship, "to give the church a break. They don't understand love. They don't understand forgiveness. There are a lot of things in the Bible that they don’t understand, or at least don’t live out."[56]

As of March 2017, four states had passed legislation outlawing public colleges and universities from establishing free speech zones. The first state to do so was Virginia in 2014,[57] followed by Missouri in 2015,[58] Arizona in 2016,[59] and Kentucky in 2017.[60]

In other countries

Designated protest areas were established during the August 2007 Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America Summit in Ottawa, Canada. Although use of the areas was voluntary and not surrounded by fences, some protesters decried the use of designated protest areas, calling them "protest pens."[61]

During the 2005 WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, over 10,000 protesters were present. Wan Chai Sports Ground and Wan Chai Cargo Handling Basin were designated as protest zones. Police wielded sticks, used gas grenades and shot rubber bullets at some of the protesters. They arrested 910 people, 14 were charged, but none were convicted.

Three protest parks were designated in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, at the suggestion of the IOC. All 77 applications to protest there had been withdrawn or denied, and no protests took place. Four persons who applied to protest were arrested or sentenced to reeducation.[62][63]

In the Philippines, designated free speech zones are called freedom parks.

See also


  1. ^ a b Goodman, Amy, and Thomas Falcon. ACLU & NLG Groups Sue Over DNC "Free Speech Zone" aka Boston's Camp X-Ray Archived July 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Democracy Now!, July 26, 2004. Retrieved on December 20, 2006.
  2. ^ Bailey, Ronald. Orwellian "Free Speech Zones" violate the constitution. Reason, February 4, 2004. Retrieved on January 3, 2007.
  3. ^ McNulty, Rebecca. Fla. College Student Successfully Fights Campus 'Free Speech Zone'. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Student Press Law Center, June 28, 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2007.
  4. ^ a b Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post-9/11 America. March 28, 2003.
  5. ^ "How Big a Deal is H.R. 347, That "Criminalizing Protest" Bill?". ACLU. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  6. ^ Warren, Susan. "Protests cause Young to boost police presence", Houston Chronicle, July 19, 1988. Retrieved from on April 24, 2017.
  7. ^ Blake, Andrew. "Atlanta's Steamy Heat Cools Protests; More Than 25 Groups Rally in Demonstration Area", Boston Globe, July 20, 1988. Retrieved from Proquest on April 24, 2017.
  8. ^ Riccardi, Nicholas. "Convention planners wary of a new style of protest". Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2000. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  9. ^ San Francisco International Airport,"Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 2, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), Retrieved August 17, 2009
  10. ^ a b Boghosian, Heidi. The Assault on Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Dissent Archived August 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine – A National Lawyers Guild Report on Government Violations of First Amendment Rights in the United States. The National Lawyer's Guild, 2004. Retrieved on December 20, 2006
  11. ^ O'Hagan, Maureen. WTO no-protest zone upheld; But demonstrators can pursue lawsuits. The Seattle Times, June 3, 2005. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on January 1, 2007
  12. ^ Delatte, Gabe. Free Speech Behind the Razor Wire. Wired Magazine, July 27, 2004. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
  13. ^ a b The 2005 Jefferson Muzzles. The Thomas Jefferson Center.
  14. ^ Judge Denies DNC Free-Speech Zone Challenge Archived May 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. WCVB-TV Boston, July 22, 2004. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  15. ^ McGuire, Mike. Policing Dissent Archived January 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Nonviolent Activist magazine. January, 2006. Retrieved on December 19, 2006.
  16. ^ a b Hightower, Jim. "Bush Zones Go National". The Nation, July 29, 2004. Retrieved on December 20, 2006.
  17. ^ a b Bovard, James. "Quarantining dissent – How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech", San Francisco Chronicle, January 4, 2004. Retrieved on December 20, 2006.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Bovard, James. "Free-Speech Zone" – The administration quarantines dissent The American Conservative, December 15, 2003. Retrieved on December 20, 2006.
  19. ^ Archived January 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ § 1752. Temporary residences and offices of the President and others. Cornell University law school
  21. ^ a b c Secret Service Ordered Local Police to Restrict Anti-Bush Protesters at Rallies, ACLU Charges in Unprecedented Nationwide Lawsuit. ACLU press release, September 23, 2003
  22. ^ Cline, Austin. "Free Speech" Zones., December 24, 2003. Retrieved on December 20, 2006
  23. ^ Klein, Rick. Convention plan puts protesters blocks away. The Boston Globe, February 20, 2004. Retrieved on December 20, 2006.
  24. ^ Cowan, Lee. "Silencing Voices Of Dissent". CBS news, December 4, 2003. Retrieved January 23, 2006.
  25. ^ Pennsylvania v. Neel Archived December 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine transcript. WarLaw archive.
  26. ^ Thurmond, J. Strom, Jr. As Court Ruled, Bursey’s Free Speech Not Trampled Archived February 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. The State, Guest columnist, January 13, 2004. Retrieved from the WarLaw archive on January 2, 2006.
  27. ^ a b United States v. Bursey Transcript of Verdict Hearing Archived July 9, 2012, at WarLaw archive.
  28. ^ a b c Katz, Jonathan. Thou Dost Protest Too Much. Slate Magazine, September 21, 2004. Retrieved January 23, 2007
  29. ^ ACLU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Protesters Arrested at Bush Rally in Pennsylvania. ACLU press release, December 9, 2004. Retrieved on December 22, 2006.
  30. ^ ACORN v. Philadelphia Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine docket sheet. WarLaw archive
  31. ^ Fact Sheet on Political Dissent and Censorship The Free Expression Policy Project, November 2006. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
  32. ^ Montgomery, Ben. Is It Free Speech If Protesters in Effect Are Put in Quarantine? The Tampa Tribune, July 4, 2005. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on December 20, 2006
  33. ^ Jeff Rank, while at a reception for ACLU clients, talks about the repercussions of criticizing President Bush. Archived October 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine From Podcasts: Voices From the Conference Archived February 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine October 16, 2006
  34. ^ a b c Secret Service and White House Charged with Violating Free Speech Rights in ACLU Lawsuit. ACLU press release, September 14, 2004. Retrieved on December 22, 2006.
  35. ^ Feds Pay $80,000 Over Anti-Bush T-Shirts. ABC News. August 16, 2007
  36. ^ Chris Weigant. Exclusive Interview With ACLU Lawyer In Bush Rally Free Speech Case. August 17, 2007
  37. ^ a b Presidential Advance Manual. October 2002 edition.
  38. ^ Lora, Meghann. Texas Tech coming closer to new free speech policy'. The University Daily. January 12, 2005. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on December 20, 2006
  39. ^ Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Spotlight on Speech Codes 2007: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation's Campuses Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ a b c d Withers, Lanita. UNCG drops speech-zone charges. News & Record, January 18, 2004. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on December 20, 2006
  41. ^ Stancill, Jane. UNCG in free speech battle. The News and Observer, December 17, 2005. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on December 20, 2006
  42. ^ a b c Vernarsky, Taylor. "Many students unaware of free-speech policy at U. Central Florida". Central Florida Future. University of Central Florida, August 1, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  43. ^ WVU drops 'free speech zone' policy Archived November 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. CNN, via Associated Press. November 14, 2002. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
  44. ^ Smeltz, Adam. University ends policy of 'free-speech zones'. The Centre Daily Times, August 16, 2006. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on December 20, 2006
  45. ^ Hawkins, Stephanie. "USC students challenge speech policies". Daily Trojan. University of Southern California, March 31, 2005. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis, January 1, 2007.
  46. ^ Staff Editorial, Indiana Daily Student. "Indiana U. student association halfway there". Indiana University, September 19, 2005. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on January 1, 2007.
  47. ^ Mitchell, Thomas. "Dissing authority, not crime, gets you time". Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 3, 2006. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on January 1, 2007.
  48. ^ "Protest: BYU Shuts Down "Free Speech Zone", YouTube, April 4, 2007.
  49. ^ Free speech zone at BYU. Editorial, Daily Herald. Published April 23, 2007.
  50. ^ Pimentel. It's all a free-speech zone. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 23, 2006. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on January 1, 2007.
  51. ^ Foley, Ryan J. Free speech group ridicules Marquette for removal of Barry quote. Associated Press, October 18, 2006. Retrieved from Lexis Nexis on January 1, 2007.
  52. ^ McAdams, John. Marquette: We Can’t Allow Speech To Which Somebody Objects. Marquette Warrior blog. October 19, 2006. Retrieved on January 1, 2007
  53. ^ Hilburn, Greg (November 5, 2015). "Republican Dardenne Endorses Democrat Edwards". The Shreveport Times. Archived from the original on December 18, 2015.
  54. ^ "About Us".
  55. ^ Writer, Amy BrittainChief Sports. "Fire and Brimstone".
  56. ^ Miner, Kevin (September 8, 2015). "Ivan Imes reflects on past decade in Free Speech Plaza".
  57. ^ "Virginia Bans Unconstitutional Campus 'Free Speech Zones'" (Press release). Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. April 7, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  58. ^ "Missouri Governor Signs Law Banning Campus 'Free Speech Zones'" (Press release). Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. July 15, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  59. ^ "Arizona Governor Signs Bills Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses" (Press release). Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. May 17, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  60. ^ "Kentucky's Controversial 'Charlie Brown' Bill Has Two Provisions Worth Celebrating" (Press release). Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. March 21, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  61. ^ Clashes break out at summit protest. CBC News, August 20, 2007.
  62. ^ Elderly Chinese Women Sentenced to Labor Re-education, The Washington Post, August 20, 2008
  63. ^ Peter Foster, The IOC plays appeaser in Beijing, Telegraph Blogs, August 20, 2008

External links

Brooklyn Public Library

The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is the public library system of the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. It is the fifth largest public library system in the United States. Like the two other public library systems in New York City, it is an independent nonprofit organization that is funded by the New York City and State governments, the federal government, and private donors. In Fiscal Year 2009, Brooklyn Public Library had the highest program attendance of any public library system in the United States. The library currently promotes itself as Bklyn Public Library.

Catherine D. Perry

Catherine D. Perry (born 1952) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Censorship in the United States

Censorship in the United States involves the suppression of speech or public communication and raises issues of freedom of speech, which is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Interpretation of this fundamental freedom has varied since its enshrinement. For instance, restraints increased during the 1950s period of widespread anti-communist sentiment, as exemplified by the hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In Miller v. California (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court found that the First Amendment's freedom of speech does not apply to obscenity, which can therefore be censored. While certain forms of hate speech are legal so long as they do not turn to action, or incite others to commit illegal acts, more severe forms have led to people or groups (such as the Ku Klux Klan) being denied marching permits or the Westboro Baptist Church being sued, although the initial adverse ruling against the latter was later overturned on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court case Snyder v. Phelps.

The First Amendment protects against censorship imposed by law, but does not protect against corporate censorship, the restraint of speech of spokespersons, employees, or business associates by threatening monetary loss, loss of employment, or loss of access to the marketplace. Legal expenses can be a significant hidden restraint where there is fear of suit for libel. Many people in the United States are in favor of restricting censorship by corporations, citing a slippery slope that if corporations do not follow the Bill of Rights, the government will be influenced.Analysts from Reporters Without Borders ranked the United States 45th in the world out of 180 countries in their 2018 Press Freedom Index. Certain forms of speech, such as obscenity and defamation, are restricted in communications media by the government or by the industry on its own.

Chris Koster

Chris Koster (born August 31, 1964) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 41st Attorney General of Missouri, from 2009 to 2017. Before he was elected attorney general, he had served in the Missouri Senate as a Republican until August 1, 2007, when he switched to the Democratic Party.He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Missouri in the 2016 election in which he was defeated by Republican nominee Eric Greitens in the general election.

Citrus College

Citrus College is a community college located in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora, California. The Citrus Community College District which supports the school includes the communities of Glendora, Azusa, Charter Oak, Claremont, Monrovia, and Duarte. The school is the oldest public community college in Los Angeles County, California; it was founded in 1915 by educator Floyd S. Hayden. Until 1961 the school was operated by the Citrus Union High School District and served the local area as both a high school and college. As of 2006, Citrus College enrolls over 12,000 students.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Citrus College had 632 students who transferred to universities during the 2005–2006 academic year, ranking seventh in the area.

Crossville, Tennessee

Crossville is a city in and the county seat of Cumberland County, Tennessee, United States. It is part of the Crossville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 10,795 at the 2010 census.

Exclusion zone

An exclusion zone is a territorial division established for various, case-specific purposes.

Per the United States Department of Defense, an exclusion zone is a territory where sanctioning body prohibits specific activities in a specific geographic area (see Military exclusion zone). These zones are created for control of populations for safety, crowd control, or military purposes, or as a border zone, and they may be temporary or permanent.

Francis Borkowski

Francis T. Borkowski is an American former university professor, chancellor, and university president. Before holding administrative positions, he was a musician and conductor.

Frank Judge

Frank Judge is an American poet, publisher, translator, journalist, film critic, teacher, and arts administrator. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including New Directions, The Greenfield Review, The New Orleans Review, The Bellingham Review, The Mediterranean Review, Frogpond, Miller's Pond, HazMat Review, Bitterroot, Invisible City, Blank Tape, The Manticora Review, Brass Bell, Talker of the Town, Troutswirl, Lake Affect, and Writer Online. His translations have appeared in Poesia verde, Rapporti, and Tam-Tam (Italy), and other journals. In 2012, he was among the first poets inducted into the Rochester Poets Walk, a walk of fame in the sidewalk along University Avenue in front of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery. Other inductees included such poets as John Ashbery, William Carlos Williams, Galway Kinnell, W.D. Snodgrass, and E.E. Cummings.

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of peaceful assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right or ability of people to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue, and defend their collective or shared ideas. The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political right and a civil liberty.

The terms freedom of assembly and freedom of association may be used to distinguish between the freedom to assemble in public places and the freedom to join an association. Freedom of assembly is often used in the context of the right to protest, while freedom of association is used in the context of labor rights and in the Constitution of the United States is interpreted to mean both the freedom to assemble and the freedom to join an association.The United States Constitution explicitly provides for 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances' in the First Amendment.

Freedom of speech in the United States

In the United States, freedom of speech and expression is strongly protected from government restrictions by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, many state constitutions, and state and federal laws. The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment and has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech. The First Amendment's constitutional right of free speech, which is applicable to state and local governments under the incorporation doctrine, only prevents government restrictions on speech, not restrictions imposed by private individuals or businesses unless they are acting on behalf of the government. However, laws may restrict the ability of private businesses and individuals from restricting the speech of others, such as employment laws that restrict employers' ability to prevent employees from disclosing their salary with coworkers or attempting to organize a labor union.The First Amendment's freedom of speech right not only proscribes most government restrictions on the content of speech and ability to speak, but also protects the right to receive information, prohibits most government restrictions or burdens that discriminate between speakers, restricts the tort liability of individuals for certain speech, and prevents the government from requiring individuals and corporations to speak or finance certain types of speech with which they don't agree.Categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment include obscenity (as determined by the Miller test), fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising. Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as rights for authors over their works (copyright), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons, restrictions on the use of untruths to harm others (slander), and communications while a person is in prison. When a speech restriction is challenged in court, it is presumed invalid and the government bears the burden of convincing the court that the restriction is constitutional.

Freedom of thought

Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others' viewpoints.

Inner Harbor

The Inner Harbor is a historic seaport, tourist attraction, and landmark of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. It was described by the Urban Land Institute in 2009 as "the model for post-industrial waterfront redevelopment around the world." The Inner Harbor is located at the mouth of Jones Falls, creating the wide and short northwest branch of the Patapsco River. The district includes any water west of a line drawn between the foot of President Street and the American Visionary Art Museum.

The name "Inner Harbor" is used not just for the water but for the surrounding area of the city, with approximate street boundaries of President Street to the east, Lombard Street to the north, Greene Street to the west, and Key Highway on the south. The harbor is within walking distance of Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. A water taxi connects passengers to Fells Point, Canton, and Fort McHenry.

Miami Beach Convention Center

The Miami Beach Convention Center (originally the Miami Beach Exhibition Hall) is a convention center located in Miami Beach, Florida. Opening in 1958, the venue is composed of four exhibition halls, two ballrooms and a concert venue.

Occupy Charlottesville

Occupy Charlottesville was a social movement in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, that began on October 15, 2011, in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the rest of the Occupy movement. The downtown Lee Park encampment was taken down on November 30, 2011, when 18 members of the movement were arrested and charged with trespassing. The group failed to establish a campsite after the eviction, although they continued to hold their 'General Assemblies' and participate in targeted actions for several months thereafter. The group's protests target social and economic injustice both locally and nationally.

Although the group's website is still online, there have not been any 'Occupy' events in Charlottesville since February 2012.


Picketing is a form of protest in which people (called picketers) congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place. Often, this is done in an attempt to dissuade others from going in ("crossing the picket line"), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause. Picketers normally endeavor to be non-violent. It can have a number of aims, but is generally to put pressure on the party targeted to meet particular demands or cease operations. This pressure is achieved by harming the business through loss of customers and negative publicity, or by discouraging or preventing workers or customers from entering the site and thereby preventing the business from operating normally.

Picketing is a common tactic used by trade unions during strikes, who will try to prevent dissident members of the union, members of other unions and non-unionised workers from working. Those who cross the picket line and work despite the strike are known pejoratively as scabs.

Protest permit

A protest permit or parade permit is permission granted by a governmental agency for a demonstration to be held in a particular venue at a particular time. Failing to obtain a permit may lead to charges of parading without a permit. The requirement of a permit is sometimes denounced as an infringement of free speech, as permits are denied on spurious grounds or protestors are corralled into free speech zones. Permits are sometimes denied on grounds that the protest will create a security risk. There seems to be evidence that the available venues for protests are shrinking in number; that citizens have experienced increasing difficulty in gaining unrestricted access to them; and that such venues are no longer where most people typically congregate in large numbers. In Washington, DC, the National Park Service Police, U.S. Capitol Police, and Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia have an elaborate permitting system. Many famous people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. have been arrested for protesting without a permit.

Tully Center for Free Speech

The Tully Center for Free Speech located at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York was started in 2006 with a bequest from Joan A. Tully, a 1969 graduate of the Newhouse School & Daily Orange alumni.

Twin Cities Daily Planet

The Twin Cities Daily Planet is an independent website specializing in news events in the Minneapolis – Saint Paul metropolitan area. The Twin Cities Daily Planet is an edited news source produced by professional journalists working in collaboration with citizen journalists from the local community. It publishes original reported news articles, articles republished from other local and ethnic media partners, and some content (Free Speech Zone articles, blog entries, comments) that is moderated but not edited, including posts published by affiliated local and neighborhood blogs. The Daily Planet describes itself as a purveyor of "hyperlocal journalism."In 2009, the Daily Planet won overall Minnesota honors as the "best independent online news website" in the annual list of Page One honors bestowed by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.In August and September 2015, the Daily Planet went through a massive restructuring in which almost all staff were laid off as part of the newspaper's conversion into a mouthpiece for issues journalism. Some members of the Daily Planet staff went on to found the Twin Cities Arts Reader. This restructure including eliminating the vast majority of the paper's substantial and award-winning performing arts coverage, and ceasing to write critical reviews.

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