A recent Supreme Court decision has affirmed a state's choice to provide its citizens access to privately owned shopping centers for the purpose of exercising free speech and petition rights. The United States Supreme Court in Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins held that state consitutional provisions permitting individuals to exercise free speech and petition rights on private shopping center property do not violate the shopping center owner's property rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments or his free speech rights under the first and fourteenth amendments. There exists a delicate balance between the competing in- terests of the shopping center owner and the interests of those who seek to exercise free speech on his property. Thus, when an attempt is made to exercise free speech on private property that is held open to the general public, and the owner seeks to prohibit that free expression, a clash of fundamental constitutional rights can result.
James M. McCauley,
Transforming the Privately Owned Shopping Center into a Public Forum: Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol15/iss3/6