Access to the Wisconsin Capitol became a commodity that groups larger than 4 could not access, following the Walker administration’s access policy decision. However, a federal court judge struck down a part of this law. Now, groups of 20 can gather in the Capitol and the requirement to obtain a permit can not be distinguished by the content of their speech (a rally versus another event). Both sides claim this as a victory. Joining the Buzz to analyze this decision was U.W.-Madison constitutional scholar and law professor Donald Downs.
Downs believes that this ruling is a good one. The permit is intended only be used as a tool to allocate space to different and competing interests in the Capitol, so that everyone is given their chance to free speech. Moreover, he clarified that bystanders or those who chose to join into an event after it has begun should not be prosecuted, under the wording of the decision. Police must also warn all protestors before issuing citations.
Listen to the entire interview to learn more: