John Inazu, constitutional law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, is available to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCullen v. Coakley.
Inazu co-authored an amicus brief in this case on behalf of a broad coalition of religious groups. "If Massachusetts can close off the sidewalks surrounding reproductive health centers to peaceful expressive activity, then the government can prohibit expression in a wide range of circumstances,” he says.
In his brief, Inazu emphasizes the “sheer magnitude of these restrictions,” noting that this statute criminalizes almost any use of the sidewalk near a reproductive health-care facility, including conversations between two willing participants or even a person singing or praying quietly to herself.
The brief argues that the Massachusetts law and a 2000 Supreme Court opinion upholding a similar Colorado law represent a breach of the public forum doctrine rooted in the First Amendment right to assembly.