In the United States, "free speech zones" are fixtures at many public areas. Although the U.S. Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," courts have ruled that Government has the power to regulate the time, place, and manner of protests, but not the content of the speech. These rulings have allowed for free speech zones to be carved out at places and events, such as seats of government, political rallies, party conventions, etc. Some feel that these regulations of protest are in direct violation of the First Amendment. They feel that it is a mockery of the First Amendment for the courts to allow Government to restrict the time and place of protests, in that many free speech zones, in practice, limit or eliminate the visibility of the protesters. Others, however, feel that free speech zones are necessary, perhaps a necessary evil. They agree that there are certain areas where it's just too dangerous to allow protests. They feel that free speech zones protect the general public from the protesters, and vice versa. On this week's program, we will discuss free speech zones, and hear each other's views on the merits, or lack thereof, of the existence of free speech zones.
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