Arizona Trashes The First Amendmentby Doug Mataconis
The Arizona Senate has passed a resolution banning the sale of t-shirts that carry an explicitly political message:
PHOENIX — State lawmakers voted Monday to enact new laws designed to stop the sale of anti-war T-shirts with the names of dead soldiers — a measure a veteran media lawyer says is “unconstitutional about three or four different ways.”
On a 28-0 margin, the Senate agreed to make it punishable by up to a year in jail to use the names of deceased soldiers to help sell goods. The measure, SB 1014, also would let families go to court to stop the sales and collect damages.
What about that pesky First Amendment, you might ask ? Well, they have an answer for that:
Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, a backer of the measure, doesn’t see it that way. He said because Frazier is selling his shirts for a profit means it is not constitutionally protected political speech.
Umm, sorry but I don’t think so.
The measure is headed to the Governor, who may well veto it, but given the fact that it passed both houses of the Arizona legislature unanimously, the probability of an override would seem pretty high.
And just in case you might think Arizona is alone in being this blatant, the shirts in question are already banned in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
H/T: Hit & Run