Citing the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Del Gallo sought declaratory and injunctive relief barring the post office and Robert Parent, the postmaster, from enforcing the aforementioned regulation. Parent moved for summary judgment, arguing that the sidewalk in question was a non-public forum as a matter of law, that the regulation prohibiting was a reasonable time, place and manner restriction; and that the regulation was enforced in a viewpoint-neutral manner. Del Gallo contended that the regulation was selectively enforced against him.
After determining that Del Gallo’s signature gathering activities were covered by the regulation, and that the postal sidewalk was not subject to any exemptions to the regulation, the Court addressed the facial validity of the regulation. The Court determined that the sidewalk was a non-public forum, given its layout, functions and proximity to the post office. Armed with this characterization, the Court then applied intermediate scrutiny to analyze the regulation.
The Court noted that even when the government allows some speech in a non-public forum, such as the issue-oriented leaf-letting permitted at the Pittsfield Post Office "it can exclude speakers on the basis of their subject matter, so long as the distinctions drawn are viewpoint neutral and reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum." Davenport v. Wash. Educ. Ass'n, --- U.S. ---, 127 S.Ct. 2372, 2381, (2007). In this case, the reasonableness of the restriction seemed clear and was fairly balanced against several important governmental concerns.
The Court found a legitimate concern that the Postal Service might be perceived as tainted by partisan political patronage. Moreover, there was legitimate concern over potential disruption and delay when customers encountered political candidates soliciting signatures. The Court also found that the statute was not enforced in a discriminatory manner against Del Gallo. Finally, the fact that solicitors could easily move to an adjacent public sidewalk showed that an alternative was easily within reach.
The Court denied Del Gallo’s motion for summary judgment and granted the motion for summary judgment of the defendants.
Judge(s): Ponsor, District Judge
Related Categories: Constitutional Law , Government / Politics
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Rinaldo Del Gallo||Pro Se|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Karen Febeo||Goodwin Procter LLP|