An Adjacent Issue

A group wants to paint the message “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” on a street outside a Planned Parenthood site near Capitol Hill in DC. The city’s government has refused to issue the necessary permit, and police arrested two folks who tried just to chalk the message rather than paint it. The group now has sued in Federal court over the refusal and subsequent prevention of painting; the suit reads, in pertinent part,

Your original decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street is government speech. However, your decision to allow protestors to paint “Defund the Police” opened the streets up as a public forum. You are not permitted to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint in making determinations relating to public assemblies in public fora[.]

That raises the adjacent issue. Government speech wants citizen speech in answer, also, or what’s a First Amendment for?

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