About this Case
There are two arguments being addressed: First, the City of Zachary is squelching free speech and the Court below appropriately issued a preliminary injunction, enjoining this violation of Mr. Netherland’s constitutional rights. Second, the District Court correctly noted that the protestors in Ovadal were protesting on a pedestrian overpass and the police were called because the signs were causing traffic problems. The District Court reasoned that there was a significant difference between holding a sign on an overpass, and speaking on an open easement.
Summary of NLF's Brief
Regarding the first argument, the government may not prohibit speech based solely on the fact that listeners to that speech object to the message or may respond violently to it...this Court too has recognized that the heckler’s veto cannot be permitted under the First Amendment. Regarding the second argument, Appellants’ true reason for censoring Appellee’s speech was based on the content of his message and not his affect on nearby traffic. However, the government may not censor Free Speech based on distaste to the message, and in this case constitutes a heckler’s veto.