November 13, 2017

Supreme Court accepts review in PLF’s First Amendment case!

By Wen Fa Attorney

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States granted PLF’s petition for certiorari in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, a First Amendment challenge to a Minnesota law that bans political apparel at the polling place. Minnesota interprets “political” broadly. Voters who wear shirts with any message that can possibly be associated with a political viewpoint face criminal sanctions and civil penalties. Under the State’s policy, it’s illegal to wear shirts that carry the logos of the Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, NAACP, and many more. The law violates the First Amendment because it is facially overbroad. The Supreme Court has already held that the government is not allowed to ban all speech, and create virtual speech-free zones at places like airports. Here, Minnesota has created a speech-free zone at the polling place, and speech-free zones violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court will likely hear the case in the spring. You can read more about this case on our website.

The press conference is at 11am central time on Tuesday in Room 181, State Office Building, 100 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.

 

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Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a polling-place dress code in Minnesota, upholding free speech rights across the nation and protecting the right of Americans to peacefully express their political views at the polls.

PLF represented Minnesota voters, including Andy Cilek, who showed up at his polling place wearing a t-shirt that read “Don’t tread on me.” State law bans voters from wearing any “political” apparel at a polling place. This includes any t-shirt, button, or other items that could be construed as political, or even organizations that take political positions such as the AFL-CIO or NRA. A poll worker not only prevented Andy from voting for five hours, but also took down his name for possible prosecution.

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