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Freedom of speech wins again- Satanic Temple wins against Saucon Valley School District re: After School Satan Club




ACLU press release

PDF of case -with selections. Had not heard the term "Heckler's veto" before this.




The Court notes at the outset that "a school district is under no obligation to open its facilities to expressive activity by outsiders. A public school district, just like a private property owner, "has power to preserve the property under its control for the use to which it is lawfully dedicated. ... However, where, as here, a public school decides to open up facilities, such as classroom or meeting space, for use by the general public or community groups, it creates either a *designated* or "limited" public forum. ... the District is not permitted to discriminate against speech on the basis of viewpoint. Thus, if the District discriminated against TST's speech on the basis of TST viewpoint, whether the District created a designated or limited public forum is immaterial.

Here, TST states a colorable claim the the District's decision to rescind approval of its application and prohibit the ASSC from using school facilities.. restricts TST's speech based on TST's viewpoint, which shifts the burden to the District to justify its restriction on speech. ... Based on the District's quick rescinding of TST's application following widespread community backlash and threats of violence, Plaintiff colorably alleges the District engaged in viewpoint discrimination by rescinding approval of TST's application because of TST's controversial viewpoint and objector's reaction to the viewpoint. ... This alleged conduct is unconstitutional... The First Amendment generally does not permit the so-called "heckler's veto" ie "allowing the public, with the government's help, to shout down unpopular ideas that stir anger".





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