Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Redondo Beach Anti-Solicitation Ordinance

The Ordinance States:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to stand on a street or highway and solicit, or attempt to solicit, employment, business, or contributions from an occupant of any motor vehicle. For purposes of this section, "street or highway" shall mean all of that area dedicated to public use for public street purposes and shall include, but not be limited to, roadways, parkways, medians, alleys, sidewalks, curbs, and public ways.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to stop, park or stand a motor vehicle on a street or highway from which any occupant attempts to hire or hires for employment another person or persons.
The Ninth Circuit held that the ordinance, which was enacted to regulate the solicitation activities of "day laborers," was not narrowly tailored to the City's interests in traffic safety and flow.  In explaining the measure's breadth, the court observed:

The case is Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach (9th Cir., Sept. 16, 2011).
The Ordinance technically appl[ies] to children selling lemonade on the sidewalk in front of their home, as well as to Girl Scouts selling cookies on the sidewalk outside of their school and would prohibit signbearers on sidewalks seeking patronage or offering handbills even though their conduct does not pose a traffic hazard, as well as prohibit sidewalk food vendors from advertising their wares to passing motorists. The Ordinance applies to a motorist who stops, on a residential street, to inquire whether a neighbor's teen-age daughter or son would be interested in performing yard work or babysitting. (citations and quotations omitted)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Phoenix Panhandling Law Invalidated

The Arizona Court of Appeals has invalidated a Phoenix ordinance that banned panhandling at night.  The court, applying intermediate scrutiny, held that the ordinance was not narrowly tailored owing to the fact that it banned peaceful, non-threatening forms of solicitation.  It rejected Phoenix's argument that the government could protect people on the public sidelwaks and streets from unwanted and uncomfortable encounters. 
“Our constitution does not permit government to restrict speech in a public forum merely because the speech may make listeners uncomfortable,” the appeals court wrote. “The First Amendment does not allow the City to restrict speech in a public forum merely because listeners might prefer not to hear a message that may annoy them or make them uneasy.”