OWS Constitutional Protections

This video is from the Bloomberg Law Podcast and features law professor from Pace Law School, Bennet Gershman.  He was brought onto the podcast to discuss the extent to which the First Amendment protects Occupy Wall Street Protestors.  Freedom of protest is protected as long as the protest is orderly, safe, non-violent and does not disturb the peace of society.  However, one of the most controversial questions is what entity determines the difference between orderly and disorderly, safe and unsafe, violent and non-violent?  Gershman also gives some incite supporting the Tent City in Zuccotti Park as protected symbolic speech.  Check out this video to get a better understanding of the first amendment rights disputes regarding the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Andrew D’Amato

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One response to “OWS Constitutional Protections

  1. I disagree with Bennet Gershman and do not think this was a violation of symbolic speech. Although this could be deemed as symbolic speech, where do you draw the line of what is symbolic speech is? Does “symbolic speech” outweigh already stated rules and regulations about a private park. There were already stated hours of operations in a park that was private property, and health concerns also came into question since park officials were unable to clean the park. Had the OWS protesters adhered to the hours of operations and health standards and still been kicked out of the park, then yes it would be a violation of symbolic speech.

    Under this idea of free speech, Graffiti or politically motivated property destruction could also be excused under the claim of symbolic speech. Although extreme, under this logic you could argue bombings of abortion clinics or cigarette companies as symbolic speech. I’m all for protecting free speech, as long as laws are still being followed.

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