Held. Yes. On its face the Appellant town ordinance is narrowly tailored to protect only unwilling recipients of the communications. This ordinance targets and eliminates no more than the exact source of the evil it seeks to remedy. The devastating effect of targeted picketing on the quiet enjoyment of the home is beyond doubt and thus deterring such conduct is a legitimate government interest. Furthermore, this ordinance is content neutral and does not seek to limit the flow of ideas, just a certain conduct regardless of content. The First Amendment of the Constitution permits the government to prohibit offensive speech as intrusive when the captive audience cannot avoid the objectionable speech. The target of the focused picketing, banned by the ordinance is just such a captive, figuratively, and sometimes literally trapped into their home by the protesters. These individuals who object to the speech have no means of avoiding this unwanted speech. The Brookfield ordinance ban of th
is particular medium of expression is therefore narrowly tailored and therefore a constitutional restriction of First Amendment rights of free speech.
One dissenting justice agrees with the legal tests and standards governing the question presented. But feels the Supreme Court erred in the final step of its analysis by approving an ordinance that bans significantly more speech than is necessary to achieve the government’s substantial and legitimate goal. The justice also feels the ordinance is not narrowly tailored because it prohibits picketing entirely rather than regulating it to minimize intrusiveness.
Another dissenting justice disagrees with rejecting the argument that residential streets are something less than public fora. Furthermore, the scope of the ordinance gives town officials too much discretion in making enforcement decisions.
Concurrence. Agrees that an ordinance that only forbids picketing before a single residence is not unconstitutional on its face.