They claimed that the statute violated the First Amendment and their Equal

They claimed that the statute violated the first

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that the statute violated the First Amendment and their Equal protection rights and was too broad. The district court rejected the claims, even after noting that the Tea Party and other plaintiff organizations did not engage in any active campaigning or electioneering. It reversed and remanded the as applied First Amendment claim. Legal Issue/IssuesIs Minnesota’s statute 211B.ll about banning political apparel in or near a polling place facially too broad and infringing the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment? Legal Rule/RulesContent-based laws or restrictions on speech must be reasonable and not an effort to suppress expression. Laws that target speech based on its communicative content are content-based laws and they are presumed unconstitutional and subject to strict scrutiny. Legal AnalysisThe Minnesota statute made no distinction based on the speaker’s political persuasion. It would be permissible as long as it is reasonable. One component of reasonableness is having “objective, workable standards” that guide enforcement of the law. The law is not considered reasonable because the provision did not define the term “political” or any other terms that describe the types of prohibited apparel. The law was overbroad and contains too much discretion when it comes to enforcing the political apparel ban and is therefore unreasonable.
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ConclusionIn a 7-2 decision, the Minnesota law, prohibiting political apparel at polling places, violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.
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  • Spring '08
  • Fellner
  • Law, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Minnesota Law, Minnesota Voters Alliance

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