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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

Over twenty years after its landmark decision in Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center, the California Supreme Court revisited the issue of constitutionally protected speech on private property. The resulting plurality opinion in Golden Gateway Center, Inc. v. Golden Gateway Tenants Ass'n clarified that free expression on private property may be protected by the state constitution only when that private property is freely open to the public. While the case showed a strong desire by members of the court to return to free speech jurisprudence more in line with the First Amendmentrequiring state action before a constitutional claim could be madethere was no consensus between the justices. As a result, a slightly modified balancing test remains. The facts of Golden Gateway demonstrated that test's overall inadequacy. Fee owners of property that is not freely open to the public may absolutely prohibit free expression on their property, even though they may have rented or leased the premises. This Note proposes a two-tier standard that would protect state constitutional rights of tenants without compromising the rights of property owners.

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