Speech Shouldn't be "Free" at Funerals: An Analysis of the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act
Augustine, Zachary P.
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This comment analyzes the facial constitutionality of the protest limitation provisions of the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act under the First Amendment's free speech clause and concludes that they are constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions. The Act is facially content-neutral because it does not define the impermissible speech by reference to its content. Further, the Act was enacted for the content-neutral purpose of furthering the government's significant interest of protecting grieving families during funeral services. The restrictions are narrowly tailored because they only restrict speech that actually interferes with, or imminently will interfere with, the funeral service and because absent the restrictions the government's significant interest would be less effectively achieved. Finally, the Act leaves open ample alternative means of communication because of the limited nature of the restrictions and because the type of speech at issue is not so unique that any other form would be inherently inadequate. This comment urges that all states enact similar legislation in order to preserve a grieving family's right to peacefully mourn the loss of a loved one.