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Wisconsin town sued for banning display of American flag on overpasses
The Daily Caller ^ | 2-4-14 | Rachel Stoltzfoos

Posted on 02/04/2014 6:55:00 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic

The town of Campbell, Wis., is facing a federal lawsuit challenging ordinance 9.12, which bans the display of banners or flags on or near the town’s pedestrian overpass.

Demonstrators began using the overpass in August 2013 to call for President Obama’s impeachment and to display patriotism. After a gathering in October angered local citizens and garnered media attention, the Town of Campbell passed the ordinance, which prohibits the display of signs, flags or banners within 100 feet of the overpass.

On Oct. 24, Gregory Luce and a few supporters, wearing T-shirts that collectively spelled out “IMPEACH OBAMA,” were ordered by a policeman to leave the overpass or be issued a citation. They left as ordered. Three days, later Nicholas Newman was issued a $139 citation for displaying an American flag

The Thomas More Law Center announced Monday it has filed the suit on behalf of Luce and Newman, on the grounds that their rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly have been violated, and that the ordinance itself is blatantly unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that a bedrock principle of the First Amendment is that government cannot ban the expression of ideas just because some find it offensive,” said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center. “In fact, the Supreme Court has allowed the burning of the American Flag on the grounds that it is a matter of free expression. So I’m astonished that the Town of Campbell and the police department think it can ban a citizen from displaying the American Flag.”

(Excerpt) Read more at dailycaller.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: campbell; demonstration; overpass; thomasmorelawcenter

1 posted on 02/04/2014 6:55:00 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Hopefully, they’ll bankrupt the town.


2 posted on 02/04/2014 6:56:25 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Hunton Peck; Diana in Wisconsin; P from Sheb; Shady; DonkeyBonker; ...

Thomas More Law Center sues Campbell on behalf of overpass activists.

FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.


3 posted on 02/04/2014 6:56:38 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

sounds like vandalism of public property


4 posted on 02/04/2014 6:57:47 PM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: 2banana

If the overpass is over an Interstate it could be a driving distraction.

.


5 posted on 02/04/2014 7:02:10 PM PST by Mears
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To: 2banana; Mears
sounds like vandalism of public property

If the overpass is over an Interstate it could be a driving distraction.


No defacing of public property involved. If the display is deemed to be a driving distraction, why did the police get involved when anti-Walker and other lefty demonstrations on the same overpass were left alone?

If the only significant difference is the content of the message, this is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
6 posted on 02/04/2014 7:17:11 PM PST by Dr. Sivana ("We are not sluts."--Sandra Fluke)
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To: Mears

One argument against overhanging signs of any kind on an overpass is that they are a driving distraction. Yes and no. I’ve seen plenty just outside of DC that were not distractions.

However, if the men left as ordered and got a fine, then that is illegal under both the First Amendment and 4th Amendment.

Want to buy a bankrupted town? Probably full of Wisconsin reds and liberals so it comes with a “Buy as is” warning.

Some people just don’t want Americans to express their pride in our country. Some people need to be removed from office and for some, their guns/badges taken away.

As stupid cop is a dangerous cop.


7 posted on 02/04/2014 7:17:21 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: afraidfortherepublic

If you don’t like Obama, you can Impeach him in 2014.

Period.


8 posted on 02/04/2014 7:18:33 PM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Women walking on overpasses are distractions to me.

Women waving Old Glory on overpasses are never a distraction for me.


9 posted on 02/04/2014 7:22:12 PM PST by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.")
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To: bunkerhill7; afraidfortherepublic

http://www.youtube.com/embed/TnQDW-NMaRs#!


10 posted on 02/04/2014 7:29:19 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Dr. Sivana

“No defacing of public property involved. If the display is deemed to be a driving distraction, why did the police get involved when anti-Walker and other lefty demonstrations on the same overpass were left alone?

I certainly was not aware of that.Appears to be selective law enforcement.

.


11 posted on 02/04/2014 7:31:18 PM PST by Mears
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To: Mears

Sure. Like interstate signs.


12 posted on 02/04/2014 7:35:47 PM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: Navy Patriot

Progressives / liberals don’t like their own methods used against them.


13 posted on 02/04/2014 7:44:24 PM PST by jsanders2001
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To: lepton

Beat me to it. My sentiments exactly.


14 posted on 02/04/2014 7:58:35 PM PST by ConservativeChris (I feel like Marvin Boggs!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I am a member of Overpasses for America and Florida and a couple of local groups. When I go up there, it is a FREEP to get people used to seeing the words IMPEACH OBAMA and REMEBER BENGHAZI and similar things that LIV are not used to seeing. We are very careful with our signs and displays so that we do not get blamed for idiot drivers. We have had groups that were told they could not hang things from the chain link, but most of the time we have been left alone by law enforcement, although once some contractors came up and told us they were responsible for the overpass and tried to intimidate us into leaving. Often Nut jobs scream threats at us and make wild hand gestures. No one ever said standing up for our rights would be safe and easy. We understand that. https://www.facebook.com/groups/166178186911610/


15 posted on 02/04/2014 8:15:47 PM PST by GILTN1stborn ( #rememberbenghazi #extortion17 #impeachobama)
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To: Mears

one could argue billboards pose the exact same danger. yet govt allows those distractions.


16 posted on 02/04/2014 8:22:05 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: GILTN1stborn
"once some contractors came up and told us they were responsible for the overpass and tried to intimidate us into leaving.

A couple of generations ago contractors and construction workers were generally outspokenly patriotic and anti-commie/leftist.

That was back in the days when they would fly banners and wear T-Shirts that said "America - Love It Or Leave It."

Now most labor unions are in bed with the socialists in the government and have traded their patriotism and votes for government handouts, waivers and special treatment.


17 posted on 02/04/2014 8:30:34 PM PST by Iron Munro ("Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime." - Lavrentiy Beria (& Eric Holder))
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To: Iron Munro
Most of the contractors around here do seem to be patriotic, truck-drivin rednecks just like us. These guys flashed name tags claiming to be with the company the county hired to maintain the overpass. Could be, but they had no business telling us to move on. Maybe some lefty boss, or OCW trolls sent on a mission. It was weird. Sheriff department stops every now and then and they know we leave the area in better shape than we found it.
18 posted on 02/04/2014 8:43:47 PM PST by GILTN1stborn ( #rememberbenghazi #extortion17 #impeachobama)
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To: GILTN1stborn

You are Patriots!


19 posted on 02/04/2014 10:34:39 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Lawsuits and liability are conditions even the Progressives want to avoid.


20 posted on 02/05/2014 12:20:45 AM PST by lee martell
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To: afraidfortherepublic
In Flemington, NJ there is a railroad bridge over Route 31 that all through the 1980s had a large distinct "E=mc2" spraypainted on it as graphitti. The bridge was repainted sometime in the 1990s I guess... but last time I was back east and driving out of Flemington I noticed "IMPEACH 0BAMA" is now on the bridge. Smart kids in Flemington.
21 posted on 02/05/2014 4:09:55 AM PST by Rodamala
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To: Mears

I live not far from the town of Campbell. It is over the interstate, and it violates town rules. I’m all for impeaching Obama and public displays of disapproval, but these people are out of line.


22 posted on 02/05/2014 4:56:44 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Mears

I live not far from the town of Campbell. It is over the interstate I-90, and it violates town rules. I’m all for impeaching Obama and public displays of disapproval, but these people are out of line.


23 posted on 02/05/2014 4:59:16 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Secret Agent Man

Same with bumper stickers.


24 posted on 02/05/2014 5:01:56 AM PST by gitmo (If your theology doesn't become your biography, what good is it?)
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To: driftless2

I live in Campbell and I am a plaintiff in an upcoming class action lawsuit against the town for violation of my Constitutional rights.

Please tell me how you think we are “out of line”.


25 posted on 02/05/2014 8:39:11 AM PST by ThE_RiPpEr.
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To: ThE_RiPpEr.

Your constitutional rights do not allow you post signs anywhere you want just because you think you can. Walking around with a sign declaring your political thoughts is fine. Posting them in areas where where they are proscribed by law for public safety reasons is another. Use common sense.


26 posted on 02/05/2014 10:59:11 AM PST by driftless2
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To: driftless2

Thank you for responding.

The pedestrian overpass is a public sidewalk, allowing pedestrians to cross the I 90 interstate. We all have the right to express our speech in this “public square”.

In my case, we were not posting signs. We were simply wearing t-shirts. Nowhere in the ordinance did it state we were not allowed to wear clothing on the pedestrian overpass. They claimed collectively that our t-shirts was a sign. Our free speech was chilled. Thomas More Law Center agrees.

The pedestrian overpass was the safest location that would provide the largest audience for our message. There is no other location available that offered the type and size of audience we were trying to reach - a very major point in the courts eyes.

There also has not been any safety issues or history of traffic accidents. But as our forefathers warned us, they are hiding behind “safety” as the reason for passing this ordinance to silence political speech.

This is no different than an advertising billboard or even the corporate oasis restaurants located over the highways - all are designed to attract your attention. Should corporations have greater freedom of speech than a citizen?

Tell me how unfurling an American flag presents a safety hazard or holding a cross compared to an LED billboard or driving under the corporate oasis?

The Wisconsin department of transportation was contacted and they stated the same thing - no different than a billboard and they had no issues with our banners, signs or flags as long as they were not attached to the overpass ... it seems only you and the liberals that run the town have a problem with it ... why?


27 posted on 02/05/2014 6:47:40 PM PST by ThE_RiPpEr.
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To: ThE_RiPpEr.

My sole concern is the law and public safety. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the law in this case. But although I support your spirit, I’m a little cautious about where protests are done. If they’re distracting drivers on an interstate, that can be a real problem, law or no law. Advertising signs are erected in view of drivers, but that is on private property. And even those are subject to public safety considerations as in the case of the flashing, electronic signs.


28 posted on 02/05/2014 7:49:16 PM PST by driftless2
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To: ThE_RiPpEr.
I bet if it had been code pink up there in their pink vagina outfits, no arrests would have been made. http://twitchy.com/2012/08/18/code-pink-attend-we-are-woman-rally-in-vagina-costumes/

I wish you all the best. When I hear the distraction argument all I can think of is how the left has worked so successfully over the years to sway people in the direction of negative liberty. Just like big bad SUVs that kill people. The list, as you know, is endless. They have twisted and manipulated for so long it requires me to have duct tape on hand at all times.

29 posted on 02/06/2014 9:12:14 PM PST by GILTN1stborn ( #rememberbenghazi #extortion17 #impeachobama)
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