Brief Fact Summary. A city had an ordinance prohibiting picketing next to a school.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Once a forum becomes public the government cannot prohibit speech there based on its content.
Mosley (Respondent) is a postal worker who picketed a high school in Chicago for seven months. During school hours he picketed by himself with a sign accusing the school of discrimination and using racial quotas. The protest was always peaceful, orderly, and quiet. Then the City of Chicago passed an ordinance prohibiting picketing next to a school.
Issue. Is selective exclusion of picketing from a public place constitutional?
Held. No. The ordinance is a content-based prohibition and not a proper time, place, and manner restriction.
Discussion. Points of Law - for Law School Success
The central problem with Chicago's ordinance, according to the court, is that it describes permissible picketing in terms of its subject matter. View Full Point of Law
The ordinance is defective because it discriminates based on the nature of the picket. It operates as a censor of what is publicly acceptable expression and what is not.