Amendment Rights Sample Exam Question
(Suggested time: 60 minutes) (50 out of 150 total exam points)
Each year the City of Springdale hosts a New Year's
Day Celebration. The Celebration takes place on the Great Mall in
Grandview Park. Grandview Park is a large recreational park owned and
operated by the City and the Great Mall is a long green open space in
the center of the Park which is surrounded on all four sides by a paved
path for pedestrians to use.
The New Year's Day Celebration consists of
entertainers hired by the City such as magicians, jugglers and
musicians, rides around the Great Mall in horse-drawn carriages and
food booths operated by Park employees that sell hot chocolate, donuts
and other snacks. In addition, community groups that wish to
participate in the celebration may apply to the City of Springdale
Parks Department to rent a booth for a nominal fee. From their booth,
community groups are permitted to hand out literature about the group's
activities and, in addition, they are required to sponsor at least one
activity that will add to the festive nature of the day. The
application for a booth requires that applicants state how their
group's use of the booth will help city residents start the New Year
with a light heart.
Typically, community groups that have participated
in the New Year's Day Celebration have given free toys and balloons to
children or sponsored activities such as face-painting, carnival-type
games or craft activities. Over the years, the applications of several
groups have been turned down including an anti-capital punishment group
that wanted to distribute miniature electric chairs, and a white
supremacist organization that wanted to paint swastikas on the arms of
people who attended the Celebration.
This year the Springdale Parks Department received
an application for a booth from the local chapter of WHOA (Welfare of
Horses Organization of America), a group objecting to the inhumane
treatment of horses. The group objects to the condition of the stables
located within Grandview Park and the use of horses to pull carriages
during the New Year's Day Celebration. The group's application states
that it wishes to rent a booth to hand out WHOA literature and to give
away temporary tattoos that depict a wounded horse in a jail cell with
the caption "WHOA." The tattoos wear away in several days or can be
removed with rubbing alcohol.
The Springdale Parks Department has rejected the
application of WHOA for a booth. In its letter explaining its decision,
the Parks Department stated that the group will not contribute to the
festive character of the Celebration and will not help the residents of
Springdale begin the New Year with a light heart.
The local chapter of WHOA has filed a lawsuit
claiming that the Parks Department's rejection of its application
violates its rights under the First Amendment to the United States
Constitution. You are a law clerk to the judge assigned to the case.
The judge has asked you to write an analysis of the First Amendment
arguments available to WHOA in arguing that the Parks Department's
rejection of its application violated its rights under the First
Amendment as well as the arguments available to the Parks Department in
arguing that its decision to reject WHOA's application does not violate
the First Amendment.