The American Civil Rights Union Urges the Supreme Court to Protect Free Speech by Overturning Hill v. Colorado
July 11, 2019
Alexandria, VA—The American Civil Rights Union has filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Price v. Chicago, encouraging the Court to agree to take the case. The petitioners challenged a Chicago ordinance prohibiting a speaker within 50 feet of an abortion center or other medical facility from approaching within eight feet of another individual without that person’s consent “for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling.”
This ordinance is modeled on one the Supreme Court approved in its 2000 decision in Hill v. Colorado. That decision was roundly criticized after it came out. The Court has become more solicitous of the First Amendment right to free speech in ways that undercut the reasoning in Hill.
In its amicus brief, the ACRU, joined by Students for Life of America, pointed to the ways in which the Court’s decisions undermined Hill’s reasoning. Decisions in 2015 and 2017 lead to the conclusion that the Chicago ordinance violates the First Amendment because it unconstitutionally limits speech based on its content and its viewpoint.
The Court, which is presently on its summer recess, will announce whether it will hear Price v. Chicago in late September or early October 2019.