The New York Times by Adam Liptak
June 18, 2018
WASHINGTON — A determined critic of a Florida city must have the chance to prove that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested while speaking at a City Council meeting, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
The decision was a second Supreme Court victory for Fane Lozman, who calls himself “a persistent and tenacious underdog.”
In 2013, he won his first Supreme Court case against the city, Riviera Beach, when the justices ruled that the city had misused maritime law to seize and destroy his houseboat. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called the decision his favorite of the term.
The new case, decided 8 to 1, arose from a 2006 closed-door meeting of city officials. According to a transcript later made public under Florida’s freedom-of-information law, the city’s leaders spoke freely about finding a way to investigate and threaten Mr. Lozman.
Elizabeth Wade, a city councilwoman, said that “it would help to intimidate” Mr. Lozman and to make him feel “unwarranted heat.”
Five months later, Mr. Lozman rose to address the City Council during the part of a public session set aside for comments from residents. He had barely started talking when Ms. Wade called for a police officer.