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Private Property Free Speech

279 words - 2 pages

Question: What speech rights does one have on privately owned property?

When it comes to private property, individuals' First Amendment speech rights do not always come out on top. The First Amendment doesn't give you the right to engage in free-speech activities on private property unless you own or lease the property, or the owner has given you permission to use the property for speech. Because private property is not ...view middle of the document...

For example, in Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board, union members filed suit claiming that their First Amendment free speech rights were being violated when they were asked to leave the premises or be arrested for criminal trespass. However, the Supreme Court found that the First Amendment does not prevent a property owner from restricting the exercise of free speech on his or her private property, which in this case, was Hudgen's North DeKalb Shopping Center. Although this case explains that in regards to free speech rights, it is really up to the private property owner to distinguish what content is allowed or prohibited, there is another side to Free Speech rights on private property. There are a few states that have interpreted their own state constitution to provide greater free speech protection than the Federal constitution. In Pruneyard v. Robins, the Court held that California's constitution gave citizens the right to speak freely, even in private owned malls.In California, the courts recognize big malls as the modern day "functional equivalent" of a traditional public gathering, meaning the constitution does protect your free-speech rights in privately owned shopping centers.

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