First Amendment Rights - Section 1
Final Examination
Professor Harpaz
April 28, 2008


Question I
(Suggested time: 60 minutes) (50 out of 150 total exam points)

The City of Springdale recently dedicated an area of the Springdale City Park as the Springdale War Memorial Garden to honor residents of the city who have died in combat.  The city erected a monument to honor all its war heros in the War Memorial Garden and has allowed families of deceased soldiers to apply to the Springdale Parks Commission to erect monuments to honor their deceased family members who have died in combat.  The Parks Commission has created Guidelines to regulate monuments placed in the War Memorial Garden.  The Guidelines require that “each monument honor a deceased family member who died in combat, be made of granite, be limited in size, and be consistent with the dignified, respectful atmosphere of the War Memorial Garden.”  Seven families have already received permission from the Parks Commission to place monuments in the War Memorial Garden.

Recently, the family of Alan Ames, a Springdale resident who died during the Iraq War, sought permission from the Springdale Parks Commission to erect a monument.  The monument his family has proposed is made out of granite and falls within the required size restrictions.  The text on the monument reads: “Alan Ames, he died bravely serving his country in a war he did not believe in instead of serving customers at the Ames Bar at 25 West Street, the family business he loved.”

The Parks Commission turned down the request of the Ames family, stating that the proposed monument “is not in keeping with the non-political, non-commercial” atmosphere of the War Memorial Garden and is, therefore, not “consistent with the dignified, respectful atmosphere of the War Memorial Garden” required by the Guidelines.

The Ames family has filed a lawsuit challenging the decision of the Parks Commission.  You are a law clerk to the judge assigned to the case.  The judge asks you to write an analysis detailing the arguments that the Ames family can make to show that the Parks Commission violated their First Amendment rights in rejecting the family’s proposed monument as well as the First Amendment arguments that the Parks Commission can make to defend its decision.
    

Question II
(Suggested time: 60 minutes) (50 points out of 150 total exam points)

The City of Springdale will elect a new mayor in November.  The contest between the two major candidates, Barbara Backer and Willy Wilton, has become increasingly bitter, with supporters of each candidate furiously defending their candidate and attacking the opposing candidate.  This conflict manifested itself recently in a residential neighborhood of Springdale.  Cathy Chambers (CC), a Wilton supporter, held a meeting in her house and invited 10 Wilton supporters who were organizing a “Springdale for Wilton” rally to be held the following week in a public park.

David Diamond (DD), Cathy’s next door neighbor and a Backer supporter, noticed the Wilton supporters arrive at Cathy’s house because they were all carrying “Wilton for Change” signs.  He quickly called local Backer supporters and asked them to come to his house.  While he was waiting for them to arrive, he prepared a number of anti-Wilton signs with slogans like “Wilton is Elitist,” “Wilton Can’t Win,” “Wilton is All Talk,” and similar sentiments.  When a group of 5 Backer supporters arrived at David’s house, David and the other Backer supporters began to march up and down on the sidewalk in front of Cathy’s house carrying the signs.   

When Cathy noticed the anti-Wilton demonstrators through her window, she ran outside to confront David, and the other 10 Wilton supporters followed her.  Cathy went up to David as he stood on the sidewalk in front of her house and said, “You jackass, how can you support that bitch?  Your group better leave or you’ll be sorry.”  David then said, “If you were man I would hit you.  You’re all talk, just like Wilton.  Try and make us leave.”  Despite David’s defiant response, after this exchange between Cathy and David the other Backer supporters took their signs and left the area, leaving David alone on the sidewalk to confront Cathy and the other Wilton supporters.  Cathy then gave a signal to the 10 other Wilton supporters and they surrounded David, raising clenched fists in the air and chanting “Wilton will win.”  David felt threatened by the group surrounding him so he walked back into his house. The next day David Diamond went down to the local police station to file a complaint against Cathy Chambers.  

The Springdale District Attorney is considering whether to file criminal charges against Cathy Chambers under several different provisions of the Springdale Criminal Code.  However, the District Attorney is concerned that CC’s words and actions when she confronted DD on the sidewalk in front of her house may be considered protected expression under the First Amendment.  The District Attorney asks you to write an analysis detailing the First Amendment arguments that CC can make to argue that her words and conduct are protected by the First Amendment as well as the First Amendment arguments that can be made by the District Attorney to argue that CC’s words and conduct can subject her to criminal liability consistent with the First Amendment.     


Question III
(Suggested time: 60 minutes) (50 points out of 150 total exam points)

Several years ago the City of Springdale designed a plan to revive its downtown business district.  The plan included efforts to rent out empty office space, draw more retail stores to the business district, and create an entertainment district for restaurants, clubs, bars, and other places which would draw customers in the evening.  One important aspect of the plan was the City’s decision to create a pedestrian mall along an area of Claremont Street, closing a four block area to vehicular traffic.  Part of the concept for making the mall a success involved entering into a contract with Grand Display, Inc, a company that creates dramatic visual displays using lighting and other effects.  The City hired Grand Display to erect a large canopy over the pedestrian mall onto which to project a nighttime entertainment called “The Claremont Street Experience.”  The projected display lasts 15 minutes and occurs several times Tuesday through Saturday evening between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The Claremont Street Experience has been a great success.  It draws crowds to the downtown area and has increased the business for retail stores along Claremont street as well as for restaurants, clubs, and bars in the area.  It draws local and regional visitors as well as tourists from outside the region.

One of the negative aspects of the creation of the pedestrian mall and the nightly display has been a significant increase in panhandlers soliciting money who are drawn to the pedestrian mall because of the nightly crowds.  Store owners as well as residents have complained about the panhandlers who often are very aggressive in their efforts to solicit money.  To combat this problem, the City enacted an anti-solicitation ordinance that applies to the pedestrian mall as well as several adjoining streets.  The City’s intent in enacting the ordinance was  “(1) to protect potential visitors from solicitors in an environment where the freedom of movement is restricted; (2) to accommodate and encourage the safe, efficient, and orderly movement of pedestrians; and (3) to protect the local merchant economy.”

The ordinance bans solicitation in the pedestrian mall area of downtown Springdale as well as 3 blocks abutting the mall between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight Tuesday through Saturday evening.  Under the ordinance, solicitation is defined to include “asking, begging, soliciting or pleading, whether orally, or in a written or printed manner, for the purpose of obtaining money, charity, patronage, or gifts of items of value for oneself or another person or organization regardless of whether the request is for an immediate or future donation.”  Based on its language and legislative history, the City has declared that the ban on solicitation covers more than requests for in-hand monetary donations, and a state court has confirmed this interpretation of the ordinance. Whereas handbills that simply offer information, or offer information and a contact number, are permitted, handbills that solicit future donations are prohibited.

Violations of the ordinance are punishable by a fine of up to $500.  Fines for repeat offenders are higher.  The City has rigorously enforced the pedestrian mall anti-solicitation ordinance since its enactment.  Among those issued fines under the ordinance have been homeless persons asking for money, two members of a group publicizing a program that collects used children’s books to donate them to school libraries who distributed flyers that included a list of drop-off locations for the books, and a member of Springdale for Vincent who was distributing flyers that read “Join us on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Springdale City Park to rally support for Vincent for City Council.  Bring a can of food to donate to the Springdale Food Pantry.”  By contrast, the city permitted the distribution of flyers reading “Support Clark for City Council.  He will lower taxes.”
    
Alice Arnold (AA), a member of Springdale for Vincent, was the person fined for distributing the flyers reading “Join us on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Springdale City Park to rally support for Vincent for City Council.  Bring a can of food to donate to the Springdale Food Pantry.”  She has filed suit in federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the Springdale pedestrian mall anti-solicitation ordinance on First Amendment grounds.  

You are a law clerk to the judge assigned to the case.  The judge asks you to write an analysis of the First Amendment arguments that can be made by AA in challenging the constitutionality of the pedestrian mall anti-solicitation ordinance as well as the First Amendment arguments that can be made by the City of Springdale in defense of the ordinance.

    
END OF EXAMINATION