Protests in front of houses will soon be banned in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill to stop it.
This happens when people go outside the homes of some Supreme Court justices because of the potential dismissal of Rowe v. Wade.
Governor DeSantis says: “Sending rebellious crowds to a private home is inappropriate”
“Because even freedom of speech is not absolute,” said Stephen Mikoczyk, a professor of constitutional law at Ave Maria.
Mikoczyk says the bill can be challenged because of the way it is written.
It refers to the case of the Supreme Court of the 80s Frisbee v Schultz, which states that picketing in residential areas can be regulated to preserve privacy.
“But it allows picketing in the area. So what has been banned is targeted picketing if you picket just in front of a person’s house. It is good, but if you picket in the neighborhood, and that the route goes in front of a person’s house, but it is not limited to what seems to be protective, ”Mikochyk said.
Pamela Marsh, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation, said:
During the session, the First Amendment Foundation opposed the bill on the grounds that it potentially violates the right to freedom of speech and the right of people to assemble peacefully. We argued that the language of the bill was too broad. In particular, the law does not exclude (and thus allows protests) residences where people usually gathered on issues of public importance, such as the park behind the guarded fence of the governor’s mansion or the residence of university presidents. They can be considered “traditional public forums” and viewed differently from the narrow residential streets of Brooklyn, Wisconsin, which were discussed in the Frisbee v Schultz case.
Florida’s new law does not allow protests in front of or near homes.
Mikoczyk says it is a tricky balance between the right to freedom of speech and the right to privacy.
“And if this statute had been drafted more precisely, I think it would have been not only constitutional, but probably a very good state policy,” Mikochyk said.
The law will take effect in October. You can read the whole bill that signed the law clicking here.
By law, an officer must first issue a warning to you, but if you are asked to leave and do not do so, you may be arrested for the offense.