January 2016

Portland Activist Secures First Amendment Win

by Kelly Simon, Legal Fellow

free speechYesterday, Portland activist Joe Walsh's fight for his First Amendment rights was vindicated. Last summer, Mr. Walsh was banned from attending future Portland City Council meetings for 60 days for disruptive behavior. He felt the exclusion violated his rights and took his case to federal court, representing himself pro se. Federal Judge Michael Simon agreed, finding the exclusion was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. 

Judge Simon also struck down the ordinance the City used to create the exclusion. That ordinance gave the the Mayor broad authority and discretion to exclude, potentially indefinitely, any person in violation of any provision of the Rules of Conduct for Portland Properties, including the rule prohibiting disruption. 

It was an exciting victory. However, Mr. Walsh's fight was not over yet. Earlier this month, the City Council debated whether to appeal the decision.

READ MORE >>