Global Freedom of Expression

Jacobson and Ragan v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al.

Decision Pending Mixed Outcome

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Non-verbal Expression, Public Speech
  • Date of Decision
    September 14, 2015
  • Outcome
    Injunction or Order Denied/Vacated
  • Case Number
    No. CV-14-02485-TUC-BGM
  • Region & Country
    United States, North America
  • Judicial Body
    First Instance Court
  • Type of Law
    Constitutional Law
  • Themes
    Freedom of Association and Assembly / Protests

Content Attribution Policy

Global Freedom of Expression is an academic initiative and therefore, we encourage you to share and republish excerpts of our content so long as they are not used for commercial purposes and you respect the following policy:

  • Attribute Columbia Global Freedom of Expression as the source.
  • Link to the original URL of the specific case analysis, publication, update, blog or landing page of the down loadable content you are referencing.

Attribution, copyright, and license information for media used by Global Freedom of Expression is available on our Credits page.

Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

A restriction on a 150-foot enforcement zone around a border checkpoint was a valid time, place, and manner restriction, and thus, it defeated Plaintiff’s First Amendment motion for a preliminary injunction.


Plaintiffs include members of the organization “People Helping People” who were protesting the U.S. Border Patrol’s establishment of a checkpoint, which has been operating for the past seven years. The organization drafted and circulated a petition calling upon citizens to protest the legitimacy of this checkpoint, and in December 2013, the organization held a rally in protest of the checkpoint. While the rally was underway, the checkpoint was forced to suspend operations. Subsequently, the organization commenced “monitoring” activities where individuals wearing traffic vests “sought to observe all interactions between agents and motorists during the period monitoring occurred and to record relevant information based on those observations.” Pg. 3. These monitors were accompanied by other protesters. Border patrol required that the protestors move to roughly 200 feet away from the checkpoint, and eventually established an enforcement zone to keep protesters away from the checkpoint. At a later date, the monitors returned and attempted to stand in the previous enforcement zone 100 feet away from the checkpoint. They were ordered by border control to stand 150 feet and told that, if they did not comply, they would be placed under arrest.

Decision Overview

This matter came before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. First, the Court addressed the preliminary matter of whether the Plaintiffs met the requirements for standing. The Court found that the Plaintiffs had standing to proceed. The Court then turned to the merits of the Plaintiffs’ claim for a preliminary injunction.

In order to grant a preliminary injunction, the moving party must prove that there is a likelihood of success regarding the underlying case and that, if the injunction is not granted, the moving party will suffer irreparable injury.

Plaintiffs argued that the border checkpoint was a public forum and that, accordingly, they should have access to the checkpoint. Defendants countered that the checkpoint is a nonpublic forum and that, regardless of whether the forum is public, the restrictions in place are valid time, place, and manner restrictions. The Court cited current case law, which establishes a right of access to the disputed forum, subject to certain qualifications.

For purposes of deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction, the Court assumed that the checkpoint was a public forum. The Court further determined that the policy of keeping people away from the checkpoint was content-neutral because it applied to all persons in the same manner.

The Court found a significant government interest in establishing these border checkpoints to combat illegal immigration into the United States. Therefore, the relevant inquiry was whether restrictions on this checkpoint were narrowly tailored to meet the government’s significant interest. The Court found that, despite the 150-foot enforcement zone, monitors were still able to observe conduct at the checkpoint, including details such as the ethnicity of the drivers, and the behavior of dogs sniffing those drivers. Therefore, the Court found that the enforcement zone restriction was a valid time, place, and manner restriction. As such, the Court determined that the plaintiffs did not have a likelihood of success on the merits and therefore did not address the necessary remaining factors required for the Court to issue a preliminary injunction. The Court therefore denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Mixed Outcome

This case presents a mixed outcome. It denied the Plaintiffs’ injunction requesting the enforcement of a “buffer zone” around a border checkpoint. The Court found this to be a valid time, place, and manner restriction because it was content-neutral and advanced the important government interest of taking measures to combat illegal immigration.

Global Perspective

Quick Info

Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • U.S., Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Def. & Educ. Fund, 473 U.S. 788 (1985)
  • U.S., Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983)
  • U.S., Ark. Ed. Television Comm’n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666 (1998).
  • U.S., Madsen v. Women's Health Ctr., Inc., 512 U.S. 753 (1994)
  • U.S., Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781 (1989)
  • U.S., Clark v. Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288 (1984)
  • U.S., Turner Broadcasting Sys. Inc. v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622 (1994)
  • U.S., United States v. Griefen, 200 F.3d 1256 (9th Cir. 2000)
  • U.S., Ark. Ed. Television Comm’n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666 (1998).
  • U.S., United States Postal Serv. v. Council of Greenburgh Civic Ass'ns, 453 U.S. 114 (1981)
  • U.S., Greer v. Spock, 424 U.S. 828 (1976)
  • U.S., Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436 (9th Cir. 1995)
  • U.S., Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214 (1966)
  • U.S., Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011)
  • U.S., Gericke v. Begin, 753 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2014).
  • U.S., Kelly v. Borough of Carlisle, 622 F.3d 248 (3d Cir. 2010)
  • U.S., ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583 (7th Cir. 2012)
  • U.S., Leigh v. Salazar, 677 F.3d 892 (9th Cir. 2012)
  • U.S., Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596 (1982)
  • U.S., Press-Enter. Co. v. Super. Ct., 478 U.S. 1 (1986)
  • U.S., McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S.Ct. 2518 (2014)
  • U.S., Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc., 475 U.S. 41 (1986)
  • U.S., United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 (1976)
  • U.S., City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32 (2000)
  • U.S., Times Mirror Co. v. U.S., 873 F.2d 1210 (9th Cir. 1989)
  • U.S., United States v. Albertini, 472 U.S. 675 (1985)
  • U.S., Bay Area Peace Navy v. United States, 914 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1990)
  • U.S., United States v. Griefen, 200 F.3d 1256 (9th Cir. 2000)

Case Significance

Quick Info

Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

This case did not set a binding or persuasive precedent either within or outside its jurisdiction. The significance of this case is undetermined at this point in time.

Official Case Documents

Have comments?

Let us know if you notice errors or if the case analysis needs revision.

Send Feedback