Ward v. Rock Against Racism

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Ward v. Rock Against Racism
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
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
Holding
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.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy, joined by Rehnquist, White, O'Connor, Scalia
Concurrence Blackmun
Dissent Marshall, joined by Brennan, Stevens

Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781 (1989), was a United States Supreme Court case.

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.

Justices Marshall, Brennan and Stevens dissented.

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.

External links[edit]

  • Text of Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781 (1989) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia