Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court transient Monday with the U.S. Supreme Courtroom that urges it to take up a problem to a Maine regulation that authorities officers have used to silence pro-life audio system exterior of abortion amenities.
The “noise provision” of the Maine Civil Rights Act purports to ban “deliberately making noise that may be heard inside a constructing” if the “intent” of the noise is to “intervene with the…efficient supply of [health] companies inside the constructing,” corresponding to abortions. Maine officers cited the regulation as the idea for stopping Pastor Andrew March from partaking in non-amplified pro-life speech exterior of a Deliberate Parenthood constructing.
Because the ADF transient in March v. Mills notes, the regulation is unconstitutional, partly as a result of it could not apply to a pro-abortion speaker exterior of a Deliberate Parenthood constructing as a result of his speech doesn’t have the “intent” to oppose abortion however to assist abortion.
“It is unnecessary for the federal government to say that solely ‘noise’ with a specific viewpoint is an issue,” mentioned ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “Maine’s regulation is unconstitutional on its face as a result of it permits officers to censor speech based mostly on its standpoint quite than any goal standards. The U.S. Supreme Courtroom has discovered—as not too long ago as 2015—that legal guidelines can’t preclude speech on that foundation, and we hope the court docket will reaffirm that precept right here.”
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Within the 2015 ADF case Reed v. City of Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom unanimously discovered that the federal government can’t decide speech based mostly on its “perform or goal,” because the Maine regulation does. The ADF transient explains that, in upholding Maine’s regulation, the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the first Circuit “prevented this facet of Reed’s holding by concocting a meaningless and nonsensical distinction between the aim of a speaker and the aim of his message.” That distinction “creates a big loophole” in what the Supreme Courtroom clearly meant within the Reed resolution, and “that might enable a complete host of content-based speech restrictions to flee strict scrutiny.”
The transient provides that the first Circuit’s resolution “poses a very critical risk to First Modification rights due to the context from which it arose. Different states and localities will look to the Noise Provision as a blueprint for silencing disfavored speech exterior of abortion clinics and elsewhere—until this Courtroom reverses. Core First Modification rights can be misplaced.”
Robert M. McKenna and David W.A. Spencer of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP characterize ADF on the transient.