June 10, 2013
Statement of ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein on today's decision by the Adams County commissioners to rescind their previous resolution establishing a "free-speech area."
"The Adams County commissioners’ decision to rescind the “no speech” resolution is a welcome development. By banning demonstrations in the open plaza opposite the building’s main entrance, the commissioners violated a long line of First Amendment rulings. These ‘public forum’ cases hold that citizens have the right to gather at the seat of government, express their views, criticize government policies, and petition for redress of grievances.
"The commissioners were wrong to believe that they had the legal right to confine citizens’ speech to a small out-of-sight and out-of-the-way corner of the county property. The protection of free expression is especially strong under the Colorado Constitution. The Colorado Supreme Court has held that even a privately-owned shopping mall must accommodate citizens who want to engage in free-speech activities inside the mall."