Thursday, July 08, 2021

5th Circuit: Ban On Proselytizing At Outdoor Market Violates Free Speech Rigths

In Denton v. City of El Paso, Texas, (5th Cir., July 6, 2021), the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to a Texas federal district court ordering it to grant a preliminary injunction barring El Paso from prohibiting religious proselytizing at the weekly outdoor El Paso Art and Farmers Market. The city's rules bar fundraising, political campaigning and religious proselytizing from the market. The court held that these exclusions are content-based, and concluded:

It is unclear whether the City has asserted a compelling government interest. We need not decide this issue because, even assuming that it did assert a compelling government interest, a prior restraint of speech based on a viewpoint is unlikely to be the least restrictive means of regulation available.