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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

First things first

Doesn't the First Amendment already do that?

A proposal in the Indiana Statehouse would stop homeowners' associations from banning political signs in members' yards and windows near elections.

Of course, people are so busy using the amendment to protect nude dancers and chocolate-smeared artists that it can't possibly be used to protect mere political speech. And as opponents of this measure point out, they're just trying to make areas look nice, and we all know how important that is. Besides, people "who join homeowners associations know the rules before they buy their property." Give up the property or your constitutional rights. Nice choice.


Tue, 01/12/2010 - 1:14pm

The First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing restrictions on speech. Homeowners associations aren't government.

Leo Morris
Tue, 01/12/2010 - 4:10pm

Glad you borught that up. HOA's are essentially a de facto level of government. You're right that most case law now treats them as "private actors," but I think that's developing. The F.A. was initially thought of as protection against the federal government and is now used as a tool by the federal government and applying to all other levels. I don't think an organizaion that imposes drastic restrictions, provides services, regulates activities, levies assessments and imposes fines can keep pretending it is anything other than a government. Because I choose to live there and agree to the rules and regs when I do? You could say the same thing about a city.