• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court introduced the public forum doctrine, which required that streets, parks, and other public places must be accessible for public assembly and the discussion of public issues.

A local ordinance of Jersey City, New Jersey, required a permit in order to hold public meetings or distribute literature in public areas. Mayor Frank Hague, an opponent of labor unions, had union members arrested for passing out pamphlets, and he refused to grant members the necessary permit for speaking on public property. By a 5-2 vote, the Supreme Court found that the city ordinance was unconstitutional. Speaking for a ruling plurality, Justice Owen J. RobertsRoberts, Owen J.;Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations[Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations] defended the public forum doctrine in terms of the privileges, immunities, and liberties of citizens. Officials might regulate the use of public places in ways “consonant with peace and good order,” but not abridge or arbitrarily deny their use because of disagreement with the content of the ideas discussed. The Court explicitly incorporated the First Amendment’s freedom of petition into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, making it binding on state and local governments.Public forum doctrine;Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations[Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations]Petition, right of;Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations[Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations]

Assembly and association, freedom of

Due process, substantive

Incorporation doctrine

Privileges and immunities

Public forum doctrine

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