Posted by ESC on April 30, 2004
In Reply to: Heckler's Veto posted by Wick on April 30, 2004
: Hello, I was just hoping someone might know the origin and meaning of this term. Thanks!
"It appears that government may not deny access to the public forum for demonstrators on the ground that the past meetings of these demonstrators resulted in violence, and may not vary a demonstration licensing fee based on an estimate of the amount of hostility likely to be engendered, but the Court's position with regard to the 'heckler's veto,' the governmental termination of a speech or demonstration because of hostile crowd reaction, remains quite unclear.
"...Long ago, the American Bar Association addressed the threat to free speech from rampant disrupters: 'It is the duty of the officials to prevent the threatened disorder instead of timidly yielding to threats.' Columbia University succumbed to what is called in law a 'hecklers' veto.'"
http://faculty-web.at.nwu.edu/commstud/freespeech/cont/cases/hecklers1.html Nat Hentoff on the Heckler's Veto: 26 December 1998