LAS VEGAS—The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada this week filed a lawsuit against Fremont Street Experience, LLC, and the city of Las Vegas in order to protect First Amendments rights on this important public forum. Fremont Street remains a public street.
The case, Gordon v. City of Las Vegas, Case No. 2:22-cv-01446-RFB-EJY, was filed in federal court Tuesday.
The ACLU of Nevada has been pushing back against policies that favor the speech of Fremont Street Experience while placing unconstitutional limits on the speech of all others. Most recently, Fremont Street Experience and the city of Las Vegas have gone to extremes in undercutting First Amendment protections by restricting adults aged 18 to 21 from entering the public forum via a special permit for an unadvertised and fictitious event created solely to create “an illusion of a valid time, place, and manner restriction, despite the fact that this curfew flies in the face of the Constitution and doesn’t satisfy any level of scrutiny,” according to the complaint. The ACLUNV is not challenging the existing curfew in the city of Las Vegas for people under 18.
The organization’s clients in the case include a street performer and two 18-year-olds who have had their First Amendment rights violated by Fremont Street Experience and the city of Las Vegas.
ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Chris Peterson said:
“The people of Southern Nevada should be extremely bothered by the ongoing erosion of free speech rights in our public forum. Mr. Gordon has been a street performer on Fremont Street for more than a decade, and he has been pushed out of the space by new and arbitrary rules and regulations. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Fullmore are adults who wanted to go to one of our community’s most prominent public forums as recognized by the Ninth Circuit to see the performers and take pictures, and they were pushed out. These attempts to privatize our public property and capitalize on only allowing access to those who can legally drink and gamble is an affront to the First Amendment."
ACLU of Nevada Senior Staff Attorney Sophia Romero said:
“The Las Vegas City Council ended the public discussion about its adult curfew proposal, yet the city and Fremont Street Experience have gone behind the public’s back to enact an adult curfew anyway. This adult curfew is the first of its kind in Nevada, and let’s be clear that this is ultimately about the city trying to give away a public street and public forum to a private company. Neither the government nor private businesses get to suddenly privatize a public space, especially for monetary gain, and the city cannot favor one speaker over another in a public forum without violating the First Amendment.”
ABOUT THE ACLU OF NEVADA
The ACLU of Nevada is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights for all people in Nevada since 1966.