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FTC Reacts to Supreme Court's Denial of Plaza Protest Appeal

Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth issued this statement following the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Hodge v. Talkin:

I am disappointed that the Supreme Court denied review in Hodge v. Talkin. That a person may be prosecuted for expressing an opinion on one of America’s most important public spaces is anathema to the First Amendment and unbecoming on an institution charged with safeguarding basic constitutional principles.

Twice in the last year and a half – on the night the Darren Wilson grand jury verdict was announced and on the day Obergefell v. Hodges was decided – Supreme Court Police let individuals ascend to the plaza without incident, indicating that they can manage the area and disproving the reasonableness of the 1949 statute that initially banned plaza demonstrations.

No justice ever walks through the front plaza to enter the building, and though a few can see the space from their chambers, mounting a protest there is merely symbolic gesture. As such, the symbolism inherent in disallowing a First Amendment right does considerably more harm to the institution than any demonstration could.

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