ARLINGTON, Va. (Nov. 15)
George Rockwell, leader of the “American Nazi party” said today he would go through with court-delayed plans for a speech in New York City now that the United States Supreme Court has in effect supported his constitutional right to do so. The high court refused Monday to review a ruling of New York courts that Rockwell could not be refused a permit to speak in Manhattan’s Union Square.
However, the self-styled Nazi leader added his visit to New York for that purpose might be delayed for a few weeks or even a few months so that he could time his speech “for maximum propaganda value.”
He was refused a permit by the New York City Parks Commission in May 1960 and took the case to court with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. Justice Henry Epstein of the State Supreme Court affirmed the refusal on grounds that constitutional guarantees of free speech did not extend to “self-confessed advocates of violence” under conditions making public riot inevitable.
The New York State Appellate Division threw out Justice Epstein’s ruling, holding that the city had no constitutional authority “to exercise prior restraint of the expression of views unless it is demonstrated that such expression will immediately and irreparably create injury to the public weal.” The New York State Court of Appeals upheld the Appellate ruling and the United States Supreme Court in effect sustained it by its refusal to review the ruling.