Courts

Justice Backs Challenge to Free Speech Zone

Says case was made that restriction was unconstitutional 10/24/2017 5:34 PM Eastern

The Justice Department has backed the challenge top a college speech policy that allegedly confined that speech to a 616-square-foot "free Speech Area" and has "unpublished" rules governing speech that student's aren't apprised of unless they apply for a permit.

That came in a "statement of interest" in which Justice said Kevin Shaw, who sued Los Angeles Pierce College over the policy, had adequately made his case that his First Amendment rights have been violated--he said he had been prevented from distributing a copy of the Constitution in Spanish outside of that safe zone.

Justice says the college policy is an "unconstitutional prior restraint that chilled free expression, and that they did not constitute valid time, place, and manner restrictions."

“University officials and faculty must defend free expression boldly and unequivocally," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "Last month, I promised a recommitment to free speech on campus and to ensuring First Amendment rights. The Justice Department continues to do its part in defending free speech, protecting students’ free expression, and enforcing federal law.”

The case is before the U.S. District Court for the Central District Of California.

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