In 2012, the Oregon Court of Appeals made a ruling in a civil case that gave the government some power to shut down the official grounds at the Capitol building over the night hours. This was important because protestors who were against things — such as the current war — would often camp out there during their protests. This ruling meant that they had to leave at least for the night, though they could return the following day.
The Oregon Supreme Court recently heard a case where it decided to uphold the prior ruling. Under the decision, the grounds can be closed down at 11 in the evening, and they will open up against at seven in the morning. Between those hours, protestors have to leave, and they can be removed if need be.
The question was essentially whether or not the constitution in the state made it illegal for the government to pass laws that kept people from exercising their right to free speech in this fashion. The Supreme Court simply ruled that the constitution did not do that, saying that this type of a law does not violate the right that the people have to both assembly and free expression. Therefore, the law will be upheld, and protestors will have to abide by it.
Those considering civil appeals that could reach the Supreme Court should be aware that, if the appeal is lost, the prior ruling will still be in effect. However, it is also possible for the Supreme Court to uphold the ruling and also alter it slightly if that body feels that the alteration makes more sense than the initial ruling. Understanding possible outcomes can help anyone prepare for his or her appeal.
Source: Portland Tribune, “Court: Legislature can block camping protesters” Peter Wong, May. 15, 2014