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San Diego Mall Can’t Ban Protesters, Court Rules

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - In a 4-3 ruling, the California Supreme Court found that a privately owned shopping mall may not stop protestors from urging shoppers to boycott one of the stores in the mall.

The court ruled that owners of the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego violated state law by barring union members from distributing leaflets in the mall.

To gain negotiation power, members of the Graphic Communications International Union, representing pressroom employees at The San Diego Union-Tribune, called on customers to stop giving their business to Robinsons-May, one of the newspaper's advertisers.

"A shopping mall is a public forum in which persons may reasonably exercise their right to free speech," Justice Carlos Moreno wrote.

However, he said malls may enact and enforce "reasonable regulations of the time, place and manner of such free expression."

Dissenting Justice Ming Chin said that most states do not recognize free-speech rights on private property. See ruling.

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