Ward v. Rock Against Racism
|Ward v. Rock Against Racism|
|Argued February 27, 1989
Decided June 22, 1989
|Full case name||Benjamin R. Ward, et al. v. Rock Against Racism|
|Citations||491 U.S. 781 (more)
109 S. Ct. 2746; 105 L. Ed. 2d 661; 1989 U.S. LEXIS 3129; 57 U.S.L.W. 4879
|Prior history||Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
|A regulation of the time, place, or manner of protected speech must be narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate content-neutral interests but it need not be the least restrictive or least-intrusive means of doing so.|
|Majority||Kennedy, joined by Rehnquist, White, O'Connor, Scalia|
|Dissent||Marshall, joined by Brennan, Stevens|
In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court rejected a First Amendment challenge to a New York City regulation mandating the use of city provided sound systems and technicians to control the volume of concerts in New York City's Central Park. The Court found that the city had a substantial interest in limiting excessive noise and the regulation was "content neutral". The court found that "narrow tailoring" would be satisfied so long as the regulation promoted a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation.
In his dissent, Marshall agreed with the majority that the government has a substantial interest in controlling noise, but believes that it may not advance that interest by actually asserting control over the amplification equipment and thus over private expression itself. The government has an obligation to adopt the least intrusive restriction necessary to achieve its goals, such as enforcing the noise ordinance that has already been adopted.
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