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Airport's Total Ban of Newspaper Racks Inside Terminals Struck Down

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By FindLaw Staff on March 12, 2010 3:48 PM

In News & Observer Publ'g Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., the Fourth Circuit decided a First Amendment case involving a newspaper publishers' challenge to a public airport's total ban on newspaper racks inside its terminals.

As stated in the decision: "The record reflects that travelers had trouble buying newspapers from the shops.  There were instances of unavailability during the early morning, and the shops would sell out of The Herald-Sun.  Furthermore, the Authority concedes that newspapers were unavailable once the shops closed each day around 9:00 p.m....The Publishers' ability to reach these people inside the terminals was thus nonexistent."

Thus, in affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, the court held that the government interests asserted to justify the total ban do not counterbalance its significant restriction on protected expression.

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