Brief Fact Summary. A National Park Service regulation banning camping in certain parks was held by the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) not to violate the First Amendment when applied to prohibit demonstrators from sleeping in Lafayette Park and the Mall.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A message may be delivered by conduct that is intended to be communicative and that, in context, would reasonably be understood by the viewer as communicative. Symbolic expression of this kind may be forbidden or regulated if the conduct itself may constitutionally be regulated, if the regulation is narrowly drawn to further a substantial governmental interest and if the interest is unrelated to the suppression of speech.
Facts. In 1982, the Park Service issued a renewable permit to the Respondent, Community for Creative Non-Violence (Respondent), to conduct a wintertime demonstration in Lafayette Park and the Mall for the purpose of demonstrating about the plight of the homeless. The permit authorized the erection of symbolic tent cities. The Park Service, however, denied Respondent’s request that the demonstrators be permitted to sleep in the tents. Respondent filed this action to prevent the application of the anti-camping regulations to the proposed demonstration.
Issue. Whether a National Park Service regulation banning camping in certain parks violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution) when applied to prohibit demonstrators from sleeping in Lafayette Park and the Mall?