California’s Balance Between Free Speech and Property

July 5, 2010

The previous post, posted here and on the YAL blog, generated an interesting discussion over California’s approach to balancing free-speech and property rights. One notable point made in the comments thread involved the case of Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins (1980).

In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could extend rights beyond that of the U.S. Constitution so long as doing so does not violate rights protected by the Constitution. The case dealt with the California Supreme Court ruling that their constitution’s protection of free speech allowed for individuals to exercise their free-speech rights in a private shopping mall, despite the wishes of the mall owners. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the California Supreme Court that this did not violate the mall owner’s property rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments.

Justices of the Supreme Court of CaliforniaLegally, such a situation is allowed under the current precedent. In California, individual speech rights apparently can trump property rights in certain cases, with some exceptions (example). It’s in a way similar to the “public accommodation” approach in U.S. law that forbids businesses from not serving customers based on race. It transforms private property into something more — a public space.

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Words for the Weekend – 7-2-10

July 2, 2010
“Judges rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times.”
         – former Chief Justice Warren Burger

Kagan Asked About Twilight?

July 1, 2010

I hate to keep posting clips from these hearings, but taxpayers are paying for this waste of time:

We are wasting valuable time joking with Supreme Court nominees about Twilight?


Kagan Grilled on the Food Police

June 30, 2010

It’s moments like this that make me love Supreme Court nominee hearings:

She, honestly, can’t answer the question? What’s the point in these hearings if she can’t even answer this?