Panhandling Regulation After Reed v. Town of Gilbert
39 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2015 Last revised: 12 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 9, 2016
In Reed v. Town of Gilbert the Supreme Court rearticulated the standard for when a speech regulation is content based. This determination has already had a large impact on cases involving panhandling regulations and is likely to result in the invalidation of the majority of this nation’s panhandling laws.
This Note will begin with a discussion of First Amendment doctrine and how panhandling is protected speech. This Note will then demonstrate that it is helpful to think of panhandling regulations categorically and explore how these categories of panhandling laws have fared in lower courts. This Note will then discuss the holding in Reed and how jurisdictions have already begun to invalidate panhandling laws. Finally, this Note proposes using the captive-audience doctrine to uphold the validity of some salutary panhandling regulations while invalidating laws that are burdensome and oppressive to free expression.
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