Skip to comments.Wisconsin town sued for banning display of American flag on overpasses
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 towns pedestrian overpass.
Demonstrators began using the overpass in August 2013 to call for President Obamas 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 Im 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 ...
Hopefully, they’ll bankrupt the town.
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.
sounds like vandalism of public property
If the overpass is over an Interstate it could be a driving distraction.
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.
If you dont like Obama, you can Impeach him in 2014.
Women walking on overpasses are distractions to me.
Women waving Old Glory on overpasses are never a distraction for me.
“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.
Sure. Like interstate signs.
Progressives / liberals don’t like their own methods used against them.
Beat me to it. My sentiments exactly.
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/
one could argue billboards pose the exact same danger. yet govt allows those distractions.
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.
You are Patriots!
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Lawsuits and liability are conditions even the Progressives want to avoid.
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.
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.
Same with bumper stickers.
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”.
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.
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?
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.
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.