Court Battles

Court rules pro-Palestinian protests at Michigan synagogue protected by First Amendment

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A Michigan federal appeals court ruled that pro-Palestine protests at a Jewish synagogue are protected under the First Amendment, The Associated Press reported.

Judge Jeffery Sutton said on Wednesday that members of the Beth Israel Congregation haven’t shown that protesters interfered with their weekly worship services or caused emotional distress. 

Demonstrators have been protesting outside the synagogue since 2003, holding up various signs that say “Jewish Power Corrupts,” “Stop Funding Israel” and “End the Palestinian Holocaust,” according to the AP. 

“The key obstacle is the robust protections that the First Amendment affords to nonviolent protests on matters of public concern,” Sutton said in his court ruling. 

Sutton also said that the proposed solutions of limiting signs or installing a 1,000-foot buffer around the synagogue would violate protester’s constitutional rights, the AP reported. 

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Dan Korobkin applauded the decision. 

“If public officials and courts have discretion to suppress speech they don’t like, then none of us truly enjoys the freedom of speech,” Korobkin said. 

The Hill has reached out to the Beth Israel Congregation for comment.

Tags American Civil Liberties Union Ann Arbor first amendment Judaism Michigan Palestine

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