WARD v. ROCK AGAINST RACISM

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
88-226
Petitioner 
Ward
Respondent 
Rock Against Racism
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Term:
Facts of the Case 

New York City, responding to complaints of high-decibel concerts adjoining residential neighborhoods, mandated the use of city-provided sound systems and technicians for concerts in Central Park. Members of rock group claimed that the inability to use their own sound equipment and technicians in a concert in a public forum interfered with their First Amendment rights of expression.

Question 

Does the New York ordinance substituting a city-employed technician and mixing board for a performer's mixer and equipment violate the First Amendment?

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

No. The Court upheld the ordinance, giving broad deference to the government's interest in maintaining order. As long as "the means chosen are not substantially broader than necessary to achieve the government's interest," a regulation will not be invalidated because a court concludes that the government's interest "could be adequately served by some less-speech- restrictive alternative."

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WARD v. ROCK AGAINST RACISM. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_88_226>.
WARD v. ROCK AGAINST RACISM, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_88_226 (last visited November 10, 2014).
"WARD v. ROCK AGAINST RACISM," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_88_226.