Friday, November 15, 2013

Thomas & Windy City Hemp Development Board v. Chicago Park District case brief

Thomas & Windy City Hemp Development Board v. Chicago Park District case brief summary
534 U.S. 316 (2002)

Petitioners, permit applicants, filed an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 alleging, inter alia, that respondent Chicago Park District's ordinance was unconstitutional on its face. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Chicago Park District. The permit applicants sought a writ of certiorari, which was granted.

The permit applicants applied to the Chicago Park District on several occasions for permits to hold rallies advocating the legalization of marijuana. The Chicago Park District granted some permits and denied others. The permit applicants contended that the Chicago Park District needed to initiate litigation every time it denied a permit and that the ordinance needed to specify a deadline for judicial review of a challenge to a permit denial.

  • The Supreme Court rejected those contentions because the licensing scheme was not subject-matter censorship but content-neutral time, place, and manner regulation of the use of a public forum. 
  • The Supreme Court also rejected the permit applicants' contention that the criteria set forth in the ordinance were insufficiently precise, finding that the permissive nature of the ordinance furthered, rather than constricted, free speech.


The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court.

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