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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Occupy Chicago Loses Challenge to Chicago Parks Ordinance

Previously, we reported on an Illinois appellate court ruling that upheld Chicago's ordinance closing public parks between 11 pm and 6 am after a challenge by the Occupy Chicago movement after members were arrested for violating the ordinance. The appellate court had acknowledged that the protesters were exercising their First Amendment rights. However, the court also held that the City had the right to enact regulations on use of its parks, and its hours of operation restrictions were a content-neutral regulation that addressed legitimate governmental concerns about keeping the parks safe. 

The members appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which issued a ruling last week also finding the ordinance constitutional. City of Chicago v. Alexander, 2017 IL 120350.

The Illinois Supreme Court first addressed the plaintiff's argument that the Illinois constitution provides greater protection for the right of assembly than the U.S. constitution. The Court rejected that argument, finding that the two provisions are "virtually identical in language" and should be interpreted using the same case law precedent.

The Court rejected plaintiff's other arguments, finding that they were waived because they were not raised before. 

In conclusion, the Court found that the appellate court applied the proper test in determining that the Chicago ordinance imposing hours of operation restrictions on city parks was constitutional as a valid "time, place, and manner" regulation.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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