“This represents the first time that district court judges have looked at and evaluated the constitutional claims we have made,” said Irv Joyner, legal advisor for the N.C. chapter of the NAACP, which sponsored the Moral Monday events.
In their decisions, North Carolina District Judges Joyce Hamilton and Anne Salisbury cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that concerned anti-abortion advocates at Massachusetts abortion clinics. The Court struck down a state law that had created a wide buffer zone around the clinics where demonstrations could not occur.
Both North Carolina judges wrote that individuals can only be restricted in their free speech if they are “actually disrupting or obstructing legitimate governmental interests.”
Hamilton heard and dismissed five of the Moral Monday protesters’ cases on July 30, and Salisbury dismissed eight more cases in mid-August.