California Supreme Court: Feel Free To Protest Inside The Mall

Hey, Californians: You have 1st amendment rights inside privately owned malls, says the Supreme Court of California. They’ve ruled that malls are a public forum and management cannot restrict speech based on content, says the NYT:

In a 4-to-3 decision, the court said a San Diego mall violated California law protecting free speech when its owners barred protesters from distributing leaflets in front of one of the mall’s stores, asking shoppers not to give the store their business.

“A shopping mall is a public forum in which persons may reasonably exercise their right to free speech,” Justice Carlos R. Moreno wrote in the majority opinion.

Justice Moreno said shopping malls were entitled to enact and enforce “reasonable regulations of the time, place and manner of such free expression,” to avoid a disruption of business.

“But they may not prohibit certain types of speech based upon its content,” he wrote, like speech urging a boycott of stores.

The case itself dealt with a labor union that urging shoppers to boycott a particular store.

Court Ruling on Protests Curbs Malls in California [NYT] (Thanks, p!)
(Photo:Atari Gracinha & Marco)