square, centrally located in the heart of the metropolitan area, and is well suited to the communication of political views. While the right of free expression cannot be denied, it may be restricted by reasonable regulations, designed to serve the legitimate interests of the general public.
The anticipated obstruction of traffic, littering of the Plaza and possible damage to trees, shrubs and lamps will not support an absolute prohibition of political rallies on the premises. Wolin v. Port of New York Authority, 392 F.2d 83, 91 (2 Cir.1968) cert. denied 393 U.S. 940, 89 S. Ct. 290, 21 L. Ed. 2d 275 (1968).
The fact that some misguided participants or spectators at the rally may "turn in" their draft cards, as symbolic of their disapproval of the Vietnam War, does not justify the denial of the right of citizens to express views which may provoke such conduct. Any individual who, by his voluntary act, surrenders his draft card, can be effectively prosecuted under existing federal law. That potential provocation may result from heated debate is not a valid reason to preclude discussion. Wolin v. Port of New York Authority, id. 92.
The right of free speech, though sacred to our ordered sense of liberty, is not unrestricted. The rights of free speech and assembly "do not mean that everyone with opinions or beliefs to express may address a group at any public place and at any time." Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 554, 85 S. Ct. 453, 464, 13 L. Ed. 2d 471; Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S. Ct. 733, 21 L. Ed. 2d 731 (1969) (dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Black).
While we think it would be more desirable to remand this proceeding to the Commission to draft appropriate regulations to govern the conduct of the proposed rally, the record discloses that the Commission has been unduly dilatory in dealing with this matter. Prior to the present application for a permit, the Director of the Commission, as a general rule, issued the permits as an administrative practice. Only when he felt that a "policy" decision was involved, did he refer a permit request to the full Commission.
Regulation 10 of the Commission's "Personal Regulations",
invests the Commission with the complete and unrestricted power to deny a permit "for * * *." No ascertainable standards are a meeting for an unlawful purpose set forth to render the term "unlawful" capable of objective and even-handed regulation. Application of the present standard appears to depend essentially on the subjective feelings of the respective members of the Commission. Clearly, this regulation as applied in this case is unconstitutional.
"It is settled by a long line of recent decisions of this Court that an ordinance which, like this one, makes the peaceful enjoyment of freedoms which the Constitution guarantees contingent upon the uncontrolled will of an official - as by requiring a permit or license which may be granted or withheld in the discretion of such official - is an unconstitutional censorship or prior restraint upon the enjoyment of those freedoms." Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Ala., 394 U.S. 147, 89 S. Ct. 935, 938, 22 L. Ed. 2d 162 (March 11, 1969).