Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
New York-A state statute used by the city to prevent Ku Klux Klan members from wearing masks at a public demonstration is constitutional, the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The court found that the state’s anti-mask law doesn’t violate the First Amendment. The statute was passed in the 1840s to prevent attacks on sheriffs by rebellious tenant farmers. The ruling reversed a 2002 decision by Judge Harold Baer Jr., who found the statute unconstitutional. Church of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan v. Kerik, No. 02-9418. The circuit court, in a 21-page opinion by Judge Jose A. Cabranes, said the anti-mask law is a “conduct-regulating statute that imposes an incidental burden on the exercise of free speech rights,” and does not implicate the First Amendment. “While the First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to express their viewpoints, however unpopular, it does not guarantee ideal conditions for doing so, since the individual’s right to speech must always be balanced against the state’s interest in safety, and its right to regulate conduct that it legitimately considers potentially dangerous,” said Cabranes. The KKK had applied for a permit to demonstrate outside of the New York County Courthouse in New York on Oct. 23, 1999. When Baer issued a ruling questioning the constitutionality of the law and issued a preliminary ruling allowing the group to wear masks, lawyers with the New York City corporation counsel’s office went to the 2d Circuit. The circuit court stayed the portion of the judge’s ruling allowing the American Knights to wear masks, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg refused to reinstate Baer’s preliminary injunction. Baer followed two years later with a ruling saying the wearing of masks by the organization’s members was protected by their right to anonymous speech and as expressive conduct or symbolic speech. Baer found that the anti-mask-wearing statute was unconstitutional on the ground that, as a restriction on speech, it was not narrowly tailored to serve an important or substantial government interest.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.