From the Orange County Register this morning we have this tidbit of good news:
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that an Anaheim man’s First Amendment rights were not violated when his speech drew strong reactions at Orange County Board of Supervisors meetings. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a board rule barring “personal, impertinent, slanderous or profane remarks” at public meetings. But the court made its ruling “unpublished,” meaning it does not set precedent for future cases.
William D. Fitzgerald testified that he was intentionally “abrasive” when speaking before the board in 2010 and 2011, comparing the board clerk to a concentration camp commander and later using the phrase “cowardly Vietnamese” when discussing a redistricting proposal.
At both meetings, supervisors interrupted Fitzgerald and a sheriff’s deputy approached him, videos of the meetings showed.
Read more here (the story is thankfully outside the Register’s pay-wall).
This ruling makes it at least a bit more clear as to whether or not speakers can be interrupted when they fail to follow rules of decorum established by public agencies for public speakers. Of course, anyone can sue for any reason, so whether or not this has any practical effect in emboldening mayors, board chairpersons and presidents to challenge speakers when they fall out of line.