She starts off referencing Donald Downs, a UW political science professor, who asks at a "teach in":
... whether it should be considered viewpoint discrimination for the protesters at the state capitol to be permitted to post signs and sleep overnight when other groups are not going to be given the same treatment.This leads us to a US Supreme Court case, Clark v. Community for Creative Nonviolence, which holds a neutral rule regarding protestors and public parks, etc.
Assuming that overnight sleeping in connection with the demonstration is expressive conduct protected to some extent by the First Amendment, the regulation forbidding sleeping meets the requirements for a reasonable time, place, or manner restriction of expression, whether oral, written, or symbolized by conduct. The regulation is neutral with regard to the message presented, and leaves open ample alternative methods of communicating the intended message concerning the plight of the homeless.Reasonable rules and restrictions are OK.
And then Professor Althouse give us an essay exam:
At Christmastime, there is a big tree in the rotunda. The Freedom from Religion Foundation doesn't like that. This week's anti-Scott Walker people are banging on drywall buckets and chanting "This is what democracy looks like." How about a hundred atheists in the rotunda for a week in December banging on buckets and chanting "This is what stupidity looks like"? (Okay, there's a conlaw exam for you. Submit your answers and I'll grade.)Anyone have any thoughts?
And, do we agree that the Republican Governor and legislators in power are acting wisely by letting this play out in a natural and unforced way?
Regards — Cliff