A Christmas Short: Black Lives Matter and the Mall of America

Mall of America is trying to get a restraining order against Black Lives Matter protesters as it finishes its Christmas season (by the time you read this, the judge will have probably ruled already). 

BLM protesters have staged multiple protests at MoA already. MoA is, of course, saying it's losing money (we have no idea how much) as the protests drive away shoppers.

We do not envy the judge that has to make this decision--even if the judge decides that MoA is being harassed unduly, how can it be enforced? Who is or isn't a BLM protester, and how do police (enforcing it) pick between who to forcefully evict from the Mall, if it comes to that?

Assuming folks smarter than us can figure out enforcement, the question remains: is it suppression of free speech to enforce the restraining order? A Mall is a public space (and not like somebody's house, which is private), so it can't just arbitrarily throw out whomever it wants.

But what if these protesters were the Ku Klux Klan, or the Westboro Baptist Church, Scientologists, Communists, etc? What if there were enough protesters to consistently fill the maximum legal occupancy of the building?

Is there a good principle by which we can draw a conclusion on how to act in these cases?


Erik Fogg

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