Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Tanner (Respondent) and five others, distributed flyers to mall shoppers inviting them to a meeting protesting the Vietnam War and the draft.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution (Constitution) limit state action, not private property owners. Private property is not considered public property just because the public is invited to use the property for its intended purpose.
It would be an unwarranted infringement of property rights to require them to yield to the exercise of First Amendment rights under circumstances where adequate alternative avenues of communication exist.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can a privately owned shopping mall prohibit the distribution of flyers and restrict an individual’s freedom of speech rights when the nature of the handouts is unrelated to the mall’s operations?
Logan Valley is factually distinct from the instant case. The picketing in Logan Valley involved was “directly related in its purpose to the use to which the shopping center property was being put.”
It is an infringement of property rights to force a private actor to yield to an individual’s First Amendment constitutional rights when “alternative avenues of communication exist.”
Discussion. A person may exercise freedom of speech rights against another private entity without restriction or interference. However, a private entity is not required to provide a forum for such an exercise.