Court Overturns Mall Limits on Union Picketing

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Two California shopping malls restricted free speech by enforcing rules against union protesters, the 9th Circuit ruled.

     The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America sued Macerich Management Co., which operates malls in Sacramento and Santa Monica, Calif.
     At both malls, union members were arrested for protesting the use of non-union workers. Judge Thomas ruled that the following six mall rules were unconstitutional: (1) a ban on identifying individual mall or store officials; (2) a ban on materials that interfere with the mall’s commercial purpose; (3) a ban on carrying or wearing signs; (4) an application requirement for the pre-submission of written materials; (5) the exclusion of expressive activities from designated areas, including sidewalks; and (6) the prohibition of expressive activities during peak traffic days.
     Thomas wrote that rules 1, 2 and 4 are “impermissible content-based restrictions on expressive activity.” Rules 3, 5 and 6 are “content-neutral, but cannot be justified as reasonable restrictions on the time, place or manner of expressive activity.”

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