From: Tony P <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Cheers for Billy Henderson -- was ZZzz Campbell Vs. Sun N' Fun
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 04:58:06 -0400
Ronald James Wanttaja wrote:
> Moody probably knew Zoom's suit was crap...while he was able to find one
> precedent in his favor, he must have also uncovered the same previous
> cases that SnF used.
From the judge's comment, it almost sounds as if the case Moody cited
WAS favorable. In reality, what the judge meant, I'm certain, was that
he couldn't see how the courts could make a shopping center owner grant
access to petition-seekers or other political speech. There's damned
little of this type of authority, but in any event it has no application
These cases had nothing to do with press access to private or even
public property. It had to do with nondiscriminatory access for
political speech, to shopping centers. Indeed, there are several
related cases involving access of political petition-drive persons to
shopping center parking lots. The cases state an entirely different
standard for this, and have bent over backwards to grant access for the
practical reason that the public no longer shops on public streets much,
especially in colder climates. Without access to the places the public
is at, no political campaign could succeed. Political speech receives
the highest level of protection, newsgathering gets none as such.
Newspapers are free to print anything they like, but newsgathering is
NOT protected. Reporters NEVER have any greater rights than the
public. If a member of the random public can be excluded, so can any
particular reporter. Not only are the "private property" cases clear
(and this includes stadiums leased from public entities, space leased
within airports, temporary possession of public buildings and even
sidewalks, etc.) but even PUBLIC agencies are not required to grant
unfettered newsgathering access. Where the private entity leasing
public property for a private event (i.e. one they can charge and
require a ticket for) has the right to decide on admission under its
contract, there IS no right of newsgatherer access, period.
The only newsgatherer pro-access cases relate to judicial and
governmental functions. Press folks can come to the council chambers,
legislative sessions, court sessions, etc. They can't wander into the
tax collector's offices and look over the shoulders of the workers (i.e.
access has to be to a traditionally "public" location, not just publicly
operated or owned). AND public entities have the right to eject
particular reporters based on their past behavior, as long as they
aren't completely arbitrary. I sent some authorities on this and I
believe Jouster posted them someplace. Interestingly, politicians have
even been held free to refuse to grant interviews to people they
dislike, and yet grant them to those who say good things.
So the pickens were mighty slim when Moody went to the legal cabinet.
Either he didn't realize how inapposite political speech cases were (if
he was dumb enough to think "First Amendment is First Amendment") or
hoped the judge was dumb enough to buy it. That's why federal court is
good. The judges can't be bamboozled about this type of issue.
Castigat ridendo mores. <Laughter succeeds where lecturing won't.>
I speak only for myself unless otherwise stated. One personality is
enough, thank you.