FRISBY v. SCHULTZ

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
87-168
Appellant 
Russell Frisby et al.
Appellee 
Sandra Schultz et al.
Advocates
(argued the cause for the appellants)
(argued the cause for the appellees)
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Facts of the Case 

Sandra Schultz and Robert Braun both strongly opposed abortion and gathered like-minded citizens together to picket in front of the home of a local doctor who performed abortions. In response, the city of Brookfield, Wisconsin passed a law against all picketing in front of residential homes except for labor disputes. Following the advice of the town attorney, the city amended the law to ban labor picketing as well. The stated purpose of the law was "the protection and preservation of the home." When enacted, Schultz and Braun stopped picketing and filed suit in federal district court, claiming that the law violated the First Amendment. The court declared it would issue a permanent injunction against the law unless it was narrowed in scope. The United States Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit affirmed that the law violated the First Amendment.

Question 

Does a city ordinance prohibiting picketing in front of residential homes violate the First Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Frisby, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

No. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the opinion for a 6-3 court. The Court held that since the street constituted a traditional public forum, the ban must satisfy strict standards in order to remain. Since the ban is "content neutral," "leaves open ample alternative channels of communication," and serves a "significant government interest," the Court ruled that it passed the strict standards and could remain. The city government had a legitimate purpose in protecting the homes of its residents, and did so without favoring one idea over another or eliminating the ability to communicate an idea.

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FRISBY v. SCHULTZ. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1987/1987_87_168>.
FRISBY v. SCHULTZ, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1987/1987_87_168 (last visited June 20, 2014).
"FRISBY v. SCHULTZ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1987/1987_87_168.