First Amendment

Singing in the post office isn't a constitutional right, 11th Circuit rules in pro se appeal

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A federal appeals court has tossed a First Amendment suit by a postal customer who says he was refused service because he was singing an anti-gay reggae song.

Eric Watkins had claimed the employee, Jackie White, retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights when she refused to allow him to buy a mailbox while singing and ordered him to leave. He was not represented by a lawyer in the appeal.

In a per curiam, unpublished decision (PDF) on Monday, the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the post office was a nonpublic forum, the restriction on disruptive singing was reasonable, and White was entitled to qualified immunity.

“There is no support for the assertion that Watkins had a First Amendment right to sing any sort of song in the post office lobby while standing in the service line,” the court said. “In sum, while singing in the rain may result in a glorious feeling, singing in the post office is not a constitutional right.”

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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