phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

Heckler's Veto

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!

From FindLaw:
"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.'"'s Veto: 26 December 1998