November 16, 2011
New York City’s Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park were chanting, “Whose park? Our park,” as they were being evicted.
But according to the New York City judge who signed an order hours after the police raid saying the encampment had to go, the legal question came down to the question of whose speech rights were being taken away.
The answer was not what you might think.
It was not the OWS protesters, but the speech rights of the owners of a "privately owned public space,” New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Sullivan ruled.
“The Court assumes that the First Amendment applies to the owner of Zuccotti Park, thus obviating petitioners' request for a hearing as to whether Zuccotti Park is traditional public forum, or a limited public forum."
In other words, from Judge Michael Sullivan’s perspective, the whole point and value of the OWS message was beside the point — and utterly irrelevant under the U.S. Constitution.