Texas Review Society v. Cunningham

659 F. Supp. 1239 (1987)

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Texas Review Society v. Cunningham

United States District Court for the District of Texas
659 F. Supp. 1239 (1987)

Facts

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) (defendants) enacted a rule prohibiting solicitation on campus whereby student organizations were prohibited from handing out or selling newspapers with advertisements in the West Mall area. Distribution of such periodicals or newspapers was limited to two specific areas and could only be done from unmanned racks or vending machines. The Texas Review Society (TRS) (plaintiffs) was a registered student organization at UT with conservative political leanings. TRS had a table in the West Mall area, from which it would attempt to recruit new members, engage in conversations, and distribute its newspapers. TRS produced and distributed a conservative student opinion journal on campus, which contained advertisements and was thereby subject to the solicitation rule. TRS complained that the rule limited its ability to distribute newspapers to students in violation of the First Amendment. As evidence, TRS pointed to data it gathered showing that it could not distribute as many papers by referring students to the unmanned racks instead of giving the papers out at their student-organization table in the West Mall area. UT defended its rule as a necessary restriction to prevent unlimited commercial solicitation to students on campus. At trial, testimony revealed that UT was in no way enforcing the solicitation rule selectively or targeting TRS for its political views.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nowlin, J.)

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