Quoted in this one in the Press Enterprise.
Picketing and proselytizing are prohibited at San Bernardino County
courthouses under an order issued Nov. 19 by Presiding Judge Marsha
Does the new order trample the First Amendment?
central courthouse has been picketed by people protesting judges’
decisions or county supervisors’ actions. Did that prompt the ban? No,
picketers were not the target, Slough said.
The order came in
response to complaints from people waiting in lines to get into the
Rancho Cucamonga courthouse who were being aggressively proselytized by
people for religious views.
Waits to get through security
checkpoints can be as long as half an hour or more, and people who have
business with the court were a captive audience, she said.
order not to target any group or viewpoint, the order simply bars
threatening, confronting, interfering with or harassing anyone entering
any county courthouse.
I spoke to two First Amendment experts. Both said the order appears within constitutional bounds.
the government makes restrictions on who’s speaking … we’re very
nervous about censorship,” said Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola
But if the order is neutral regarding the content of
the speech, the court can place restrictions on “time, place or manner,”
Terry Francke, general counsel for open-government
advocates Californians Aware, said courts are allowed to control
expressive activities on property they own. But that doesn’t extend to
the public sidewalk.
Slough’s order applies just to the walkways
where people gather to enter the courthouses. Volunteers who monitor the
lines and help people with directions will watch for violators;
deputies are in charge of enforcement.