Special Topic

Top Ten Quirky Quotes From Judge McIntyre’s Occupy Boston Eviction Order

Occupy Boston in front of the Federal Reserve, on October 2.

Suffolk Superior Court Frances A. McIntyre has lifted her temporary restraining order against the eviction of Occupy Boston from Dewey Square. Her decision rests on her conclusion that the occupation of Dewey Square in the shadow of the Boston Federal Reserve is not a symbolic act of speech worthy of First Amendment protection. Here are the top ten quirkiest quotes from the judge’s ruling:

10. “The act of occupation, this court has determined as a matter of law, is not speech

9. “The plaintiffs’ occupation of Dewey Square to the effective exclusion of others is the very antithesis of their message that a more just and egalitarian society is possible”

8. “While it is surely true that any person who chooses to make a speech or carry a placard at Dewey Square would find a hospitable audience, parents with young children, vendors, and wheelchair-bound people cannot access this space as presently used.”

7. “The Conservancy in enacting and enforcing rules is effectively acting as a governmental agency

6. “Municipalities across the country have responded in kind to the act of occupation, frequently by police force. I take that as showing that the act of occupation is not understood to communicate plaintiffs’ intended message of egalitarian democracy”

5. “There is little likelihood that Occupy Boston’s professed message can be understood by their act of occupation, either. It has not generally been perceived as benign by those occupied

4. “The media has clearly understood the plaintiffs’ contribution to the national conversation”

3. “The court has been informed that the plaintiffs wish to import a stainless steel sink and fireproof tent onto the site. As should be clear from this opinion, they are not entitled to do so.”

2. “Here, the Federal Reserve Bank is not the intended audience

1. “The plaintiffs are permitted to camp on the Harbor Islands in Boston”

Although not as bizarre as some of the other quotations, the judge’s finding about the Conservancy is telling. The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy is a private corporation run by a board of Boston’s one percent — wealthy financiers, corporate lawyers, and real estate investors. The judge has explicitly found that the control of public space has been explicitly transferred to this private corporation, which makes rules and regulations in place of a democratic government.


The Boston Phoenix finds the most chilling sentence in the decision: “Little in the way of expression is outlawed under the United States Constitution, but an act which incites a lawful forceful response is unlikely to pass as expressive speech.”

Share Update