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In 1965, a shopping mall opened in suburban Pennsylvania. Weis Market, a grocery store located inside the mall, employed nonunion labor. Unionized workers from competing grocery stores began picketing peacefully in the parking lot outside Weis Market.
The shopping mall and Weis Market won an injunction in state court. The injunction relocated the picketers to areas far away from the store. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the injunction based on the fact that the picketers were trespassing on the mall’s private property.
The United States Supreme Court took up the case to decide whether a private shopping mall could use trespass laws to keep peaceful protesters off mall property. The Supreme Court struck down the injunction, holding that the First Amendment protects the right to protest peacefully, even on private property, if that private property is generally open to the public.
The justices were far from unanimous, though. Three justices dissented, focusing largely on whether private property should be treated like public property for First Amendment purposes.
Amalgamated Food Employees Union Local 590 v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc., 391 U.S. 308 (1968), was a significant case in the development of First Amendment jurisprudence, but it was effectively overturned just a few years later in Lloyd Corporation v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 551 (1972).