Monday, January 6, 2014

New Jersey Coalition against War in the Middle East v. J.M.B. Realty Corp. case brief

New Jersey Coalition against War in the Middle East v. J.M.B. Realty Corp. case brief summary
650 A.2d 757 (1994)

Appellant anti-war coalition sought review of the judgment of the Superior Court, Appellate Division (New Jersey), which affirmed the trial court's holding that appellants did not have a constitutional right to freedom of speech for leafletting on societal issues on the premises of respondent shopping centers.

Appellant anti-war coalition was denied the right to leaflet at respondent shopping centers and sought judicial relief to force respondents to allow them to do so. The trial court denied appellants relief, finding that there existed no free speech right on respondents' private property and the appellate court affirmed.


  • On appeal, the court reversed and held that regional shopping centers, such as respondents, were required to allow such speech activities under N.J. Constitutional art. I, § 6. 
  • The court found that there was no such right protected by U.S. Constitutional Amendment I, but that the New Jersey provision was not restricted to government interference and that private property owners were required to allow political speech on their premises under certain circumstances.
  • The public nature of regional shopping centers and their usurpation of the downtown business district were factors the court relied upon in its decision. 
  • The court held that leafletting and its accompanying speech were protected at regional shopping centers, but not smaller centers, and that respondents were permitted to institute appropriate restrictions on such activity.

The court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and held that respondent shopping centers, and all such regional shopping centers, were required to allow political speech in the form of leafletting and speech in support thereof on their premises with proper restrictions.

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