Judge Shelton's Comments on Hash Bash Case

The following is not directly related to the Baker case, but it seems to summarize the "free-speech" point of view of the Baker case. This is excerpts of Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Donald Shelton's 1990 ruling denying the University of Michigan the power to prevent "Hash Bash" (a marijuana legalization rally) from taking place on the diag (the main student gathering place at the center of the campus). These quotes appeared in the April 1995 Agenda, an "Alternative Newspaper", in an article titled Free Speech on the Diag by Jonathan Weber.

Judge Shelton's Comments

[A] government agency may only deny a public opportunity for free speech if it can demonstrate a `clear and present danger' of substantial injuries to person or property. That burden is even higher where the government agency is a public university seeking to impose a prior restraint on student speech and assembly on its campus. The university setting is traditionally a `marketplace of ideas' and students should be allowed to speak, rally, debate, and protest as part of their own maturation as well as part of the normal political process.

The right of the people to peaceably assemble and to speak freely any viewpoint, however unpopular, cannot be allowed to yield to the speculative apprehension of police and municipal authorities that some unpleasantness or even damage to property and injury to persons might possibly occur. It is the duty of the municipality and the police to prevent such occurrences and to protect the expression of viewpoint