In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned restrictions on picketing imposed by Macerich at shopping centers in Santa Cruz and Sacramento, Calif. The decision follows a California Supreme Court ruling in December that declared unions have the right under state law to leaflet in malls and ask shoppers to boycott stores. This contradicts rulings historically handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has ruled that the Constitution does not protect freedom of speech at private property. Traditionally, malls have been considered private property by the courts. The new ruling changes that interpretation and says malls are public property.