Calif. Court: Malls Can’t Bar Protesters
SAN FRANCISCO – The California Supreme Court has ruled that shopping malls can’t stop protesters from urging the boycott of stores while on mall property.
In a 4-3 decision Monday, the justices ruled that the Fashion Valley mall in San Diego violated California’s free speech laws when it kicked out demonstrators in 1998.
Members of a workers’ union at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper were forced out of the mall for distributing leaflets urging the boycott of the Robinsons-May store.
The union was involved in a dispute with company management and wanted to hurt Robinsons-May’s business because it advertised in the newspaper.
The high court ruled that California’s free speech laws protect such demonstrations.
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Do state constitutional provisions, which permit individuals to exercise free speech and petition rights on the property of a privately owned shopping center to which the public is invited, violate the shopping center owner’s property rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments or his free speech rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments?
Appellees are high school students who sought to solicit support for their opposition to a United Nations resolution against ‘Zionism.’ On a Saturday afternoon they set up a card table in a corner of PruneYard’s central courtyard. They distributed pamphlets and asked passersby to sign petitions, which were to be sent to the President and Members of Congress. Their activity was peaceful and orderly and so far as the record indicates was not objected to by PruneYard’s patrons.
Soon after appellees had begun soliciting signatures, a security guard informed them that they would have to leave because their activity violated PruneYard regulations. The guard suggested that they move to the public sidewalk at the PruneYard’s perimeter. Appellees immediately left the premises and later filed this lawsuit in the California Superior Court of Santa Clara County. They sought to enjoin appellants from denying them access to the PruneYard for the purpose of circulating their petitions.
This seems pretty random I am sure, but what the fuck, it’s not another Ron Paul thread (yet…anyway). Should shopping malls be considered private property and be allowed to ban protesters, or should they have to let it continue because they “invite” people in and create a “public space”?