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United States v. Kalb

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20310
Nos. Nos. 00-1733 et al., 234 F.3d 827/(3d Cir., 12/12/2000)

The court upholds the conviction of three individuals that organized a 20,000-person event in the Allegheny National Forest without obtaining a special permit in violation of U.S. Forest Service (the Service) regulations. The court first holds that the regulations are not unconstitutionally vague because they clearly define what conduct is prohibited; there is no need for speculation. The court next holds that the regulation requirement that a special use authorization permit be signed by an adult member of the group does not burden the First Amendment rights of individuals attending the gathering. The imposition of the signature requirement leaves open ample alternative channels for communication and does not preclude the use of state or private property for gatherings. The challenged signature requirement represents a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction on expressive conduct. The court further holds that a portion of the regulatory scheme authorizing the Service to attach terms and conditions to the grant of a permit is not facially invalid. The provision does not permit the Service to ban disfavored speech, and it is applicable to every special use authorization. Moreover, even if the court were to entertain the challenge, it would be rejected on the merits because the regulation, as interpreted by the Service, specifically limits the discretion of the Service to impose conditions directed at curtailing or censoring expression.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (14 pp., ELR Order No. L-312).

Counsel for Appellee
Benjamin P. Cooper
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Counsel for Appellants
John P. Garhart
Quinn, Buseck, Leemhuis, Toohey & Kroto
2222 W. Grandview Blvd., Erie PA 16506
(814) 833-2222