What happened to Cohen v. California?

A man was arrested for wearing a jacket with a political message on it while in the history exhibit at the United States Supreme Court.

Yes, the same United States Supreme Court that said it was Paul Robert Cohen’s right to wear a jacket in a courthouse emblazoned with the message “fuck the draft.” Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).

H/T: Paul Levy

11 Responses to What happened to Cohen v. California?

  1. Scott Jacobs says:

    I like to think that there were nine simultaneous facepalms when the justices heard about this.

  2. Paul Sadler says:

    Hmm…generally agree, but “Occupy” is more active-oriented protest than a commentary like “f*** the draft”. Curious to know if security was worried that they were going to stage a demonstration in this case…bit of a reach, I grant you.

  3. Duderino says:

    “I have authority here.” Yeah. I suppose you do, since you were able to haul this guy a way. But, seriously, fuck you. This aggression cannot stand.

  4. Really... says:

    When I read this, I was appalled. Did a quick search and found this: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2011/10/the-first-amendment-and-the-supreme-court-building.html

    Apparently the Supreme Court Building is afforded special status relative to the 1st Amendment by virtue of two federal statutes, which, to date, have not been succesfully challenged and never reviewed by the Supreme Court. 40 U.S.C. § 13k; 40 U.S.C. § 6135.

    I am now even more appalled knowing that it was not just some cop on a power trip but something explicitly sanctioned by Congress.

    • John Burgess says:

      So, all we need is for the DC circuit to rule that 40 USC 13k and 40 USC 6135 are unconstitutional. It can then be appealed to the USSC.

      I’ll be the one selling popcorn across the street…

  5. Leo M. Mulvihill, Jr. says:

    “I am the authority here.” I presume the several levels of irony are lost on these officers?

    I’m not the best at legal research, but with my cursory search of “Unlawful Entry” I could only find the only federal laws concerning immigration. Someone want to point out to me what law this guy broke?

  6. Roy Warden says:

    Thank Goodnes Government Agents don’t bother to read case law, for if they did, whatever would constitutional lawyers do to earn a living?

    Now, (hopefully) we will watch the amusing spectacle of Supreme Court security guards (or government law enforcement) sued for constitutional violations under title 42 section 1983…

    Who knows? Maybe we’ll have another Grace

  7. Canvasback says:

    40 USC 6135 “It is unlawful to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages in the Supreme Court Building or grounds, or to display in the Building and grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement.”

    Pretty broad language. NBA gear and Asian tour groups would be covered.

  8. […] This story is a little old, but it has meta-Supreme Court case written all over it. […]

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