4 comments on “The Top 10 Things Freedom Of Speech Is Not

  1. On number 9, does that include boston disallowing Chic-fil-a in coming into the city? Can you expand upon that. I think the article very educational. Thank you.

    • Boston hasn’t done anything but send a strongly worded letter of unwelcome. It does not appear to be legally binding in any way. Chicago has threatened to put bureaucratic obstacles in the way of Chick-fil-A, but really no one has actually DONE anything yet.

      However, guessing you’re wanting a little more than that, I’ll move on to the more complicated issues of a hypothetical city ban of a business on moral grounds.

      After lengthy discussions on this with credentialed legal professionals, I have come to the conclusion that there are, unsatisfyingly, precedents for both a city being able to legally ban a type of business on moral grounds and for a city NOT being able to ban a business on moral grounds.

      Precedent for: Cities have a long tradition of regulating the commerce in their cities. They often will draft and enact moral-based ordinances banning, for instance, the sale or alcohol, nudity in bars, etc. They have long established the ability to regulate commerce in this way. Nonprofits or private citizenry are not particularly subject to these kind of restrictions, but for-profit businesses are. The most likely legal route to ban Chick-fil-A would be drafting and enacting a city ordinance that forbids a business that financially benefits a hate group from operating within city limits. The federal government similarly has a tradition of morally based sanctions and embargos. The threats to waylay Chick-fil-A in bureaucracy may or may not be legally actionable if carried out, I’m unsure. Passing a city ordinance would be the most established way to meet the city’s goal.

      Precedent against: Citizens United granted free speech to corporations and that could possibly come into play, but that remains to be seen.

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