• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Permission to speak, sir!

Hey, Fort Wayne was ahead of the curve on one -- we've already had this fight here:

David Rubin wants to be able to put political signs in his yard.

Yard signs have long been a staple of political campaigns, local, state, or federal. But in the upstate New York town of Manlius, residents can’t put up signs without a permit, and can’t have them up more than thirty days before or five days after an election.

“It’s an obvious unconstitutional violation of my First Amendment rights,” says Rubin, a communications professor at Syracuse University.

[. . .]

Another problem with the regulation is it applies only to political signs. (For Sale signs, for instance, don’t require a permit.) “The Constitution does not permit greater burdens on political speech than on other speech,” Dickerson says.

Rubin says he still hasn’t asked the town for a permit for his political signs.

 “I don’t have to get permission from government to speak,” he explains. “That’s what the First Amendment’s all about.”

An "obvious violation" is exactly right. The First Amendment was designed specificially for the kind of free political speech without which a self-governing republic would not be possible. The idea that some bureaucratic little tyrant can tell me what political speech I can post on my own property is simply absurd.