Note: Panhandling Regulation After Reed v. Town of Gilbert

Note: Anthony D. Lauriello, Panhandling Regulation After Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 116 Columbia L. Rev. 1105 (2016).

In Reed v. Town of Gilbert the Supreme Court rearticulated the standard for when regulation of speech is content based. This determination has already had a large impact on cases involving panhandling regulations and is likely to result in the invalidation of the majority of this nation’s panhandling laws.

This Note will begin with a discussion of First Amendment doctrine and how panhandling is protected speech. This Note will then demonstrate that it is helpful to think of panhandling regulations categorically and explore how these categories of panhandling laws have fared in lower courts. This Note will then discuss the holding in Reed and how jurisdictions have already begun to invalidate panhandling laws.  Finally, this Note proposes using the captive audience doctrine to uphold the validity of some salutary panhandling regulations while in­val­idating laws that are burdensome and oppressive to free expression.


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