South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Restrictions on Newsracks at Highway Rest Stops Upheld as Content Neutral

Appeals court held that the state of Iowa could prohibit the placement of newspaper vending machines at highway rest stops in the interest of public safety. The restriction was not aimed at publications of any particular content or viewpoint.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

First Amendment; Restriction on Speech; Newspaper Stands

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Jacobsen publishes "Single Scene" and other publications in Iowa. The state prohibited him from placing newspaper vending machines at rest stops on the highway. He sued the governor and other officials for violation of his First Amendment right. The district court held for the officials; Jacobsen appealed.


Affirmed. Sidewalks at highway rest stops are not public forums. The state has the right to issue content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral regulations in the interest of pedestrian safety and access. The rules were applied consistently, not just to Jacobsen in an effort to restrict the content of his publications. Hence, there was no First Amendment violation.


Jacobsen v. Dept. of Transportation, ---F.3d--- (2006 WL 1312184, 8th Cir., 2006)

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