In 1982, the National Park Service issued a permit to respondent Community for
Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) to conduct a demonstration in Lafayette Park and
the Mall, which are National Parks in the heart of Washington, D.C. The purpose
of the demonstration was to call attention to the plight of the homeless, and
the permit authorized the erection of two symbolic tent cities. However, the
Park Service, relying on its regulations -- particularly one that permits "camping"
(defined as including sleeping activities) only in designated campgrounds, no
campgrounds having ever been designated in Lafayette Park or the Mall -- denied
CCNV's request that demonstrators be permitted to sleep in the symbolic tents.
CCNV and the individual respondents then filed an action in Federal District
Court, alleging, inter alia, that application of the regulations to prevent
sleeping in the tents violated the First Amendment. The District Court granted
summary judgment for the Park Service, but the Court of Appeals reversed. Held:
The challenged application of the Park Service regulations does not violate
the First Amendment. Pp. 293-299 . (a) Assuming that overnight sleeping in connection
with the demonstration is expressive conduct protected to some extent by the
First Amendment, the regulation forbidding sleeping meets the requirements for
a reasonable time, place, or manner restriction of expression, whether oral,
written, or symbolized by conduct. The regulation is neutral with regard to
the message presented, and leaves open ample alternative methods of communicating
the intended message concerning the plight of the homeless. Moreover, the regulation
narrowly focuses on the Government's substantial interest in maintaining the
parks in the heart of the Capital in an attractive and intact condition, readily
available to the millions of people who wish to see and enjoy them by their
presence. To permit camping would be totally inimical to these purposes. The
validity of the regulation need not be judged solely by reference to the demonstration
at hand, and none of its provisions are unrelated to the ends that it was designed
to serve. Pp. 293-298 . (b) Similarly, the challenged regulation is also sustainable
as meeting the standards for a valid regulation of expressive conduct. Aside
from [p*289] its impact on speech, a rule against camping or overnight sleeping
in public pars is not beyond the constitutional power of the Government to enforce.
And as noted above, there is a substantial Government interest, unrelated to
suppression of expression, in conserving park property that is served by the
proscription of sleeping. Pp. 298-299 . 227 U.S.App.D.C.19, 703 F.2d 586, reversed.
Opinions WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,
and BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, STEVENS, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. BURGER,
C.J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 300 . MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting
opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post p. 301 .
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