Bill is a retired U.S. naval intelligence officer. He is very knowledgeable on the history of U.S. government oppression and state sponsored terrorism. He likes to spend his free time walking around in public and preaching about all the terrible acts the government and their agencies have done to its own citizens and other people around the world.

He usually follows a routine of going to the same place, at the same time, every week. Eventually, he starts to garner a following of folks who like to hear him talk and they come out at the same time he does. This ends up growing into a very large and noticeable crowd every time he comes out in public. Due to size, The police start telling people to disperse. Bill refuses to leave as he is not breaking the law. Bill starts saying "See this is an example of government oppression!" This incites the crowd and they start getting agitated. So the police arrest Bill for "Inciting a riot".

The Police have reached their limit with Bill and start saying it is an unlawful assembly every time he comes out to speak.

Every time Bill comes out to speak;

  • He never incites violence
  • He never tells people to do anything
  • He never uses amplified devices
  • He is always in a forum of public expression like city hall.
  • It is always in the middle of the day

At what point can the government limit Bill's 1st amendment right to free speech?

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    Municipalities usually have a permit requirement for large gatherings. Does Bill have a permit for his gatherings, and is he complying with its terms as to size, time, place, frequency, etc? Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 0:29
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    If Bill knows he is gathering large crowds when he stops and speaks, he fits all the necessary intention required by law. It's not like there's any way he could prove he didn't intend to do something that he knew he would do by his acts.
    – Mary
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 0:49
  • 1
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    @user253751: Time place and manner restrictions are constitutional if they are narrowly tailored, applied content-neutrally, and allow alternative channels. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 17:22
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    Isn't the answer to this question simply "at no point"? The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech", not "Congress shall make no law, except ...". The thing is that the First Amendment doesn't give you every conceivable right, and Congress may pass laws which abridge rights not guaranteed by the First Amendment. So the point at which they can limit your speech is the point at which your speech is not protected by the First Amendment, and the real question is at what point the First Amendment ceases to protect you. But that's rather broad.
    – kaya3
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 3:00


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