(CN) – The D.C. Circuit struck down a longstanding National Park Service requirement that missionaries and political activists obtain permits to demonstrate, hand out brochures or engage in other “expressive activities” in national parks.
“These regulations penalize a substantial amount of speech that does not impinge on the government’s interests,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the three-judge panel in Washington, D.C.
The ruling has been hailed as a significant First Amendment victory for Michael Boardley, who claimed he was blocked in 2007 from distributing Christian materials in the Mount Rushmore National Park in South Dakota.
“Requiring individuals and small groups to obtain permits before engaging in expressive activities within designated ‘free speech areas’ (and other public forums within national parks) violates the First Amendment,” Brown wrote.
“We have no choice but to hold the regulations unconstitutional in their entirety.”