The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a strategic partner of The Save America Foundation based in Clearwater, Florida, announced today that it has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Town of Campbell, Wisconsin’s ordinance which police are enforcing to prohibit citizens from displaying the American Flag and wearing t-Shirts which call for the impeachment of President Obama on the highway overpass managed by the Town. Joining TMLC as local co-counsel is La Crosse, WI. lawyer Bernardo Cueto.
Erin Mersino, a TMLC attorney handling the case, said, “Viewpoint
discrimination is one of the most harmful threats to our freedom of
speech. The answer to contempt of a certain viewpoint is not to silence
that viewpoint, but to invite more speech and create a discourse. That
is one of the most fundamental tenets of our Republic. The ordinance
at issue turns the public sidewalk on the overpass, which is otherwise
open to the public into a dead speech zone.”
The lawsuit claims that the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to
freedom of speech and peaceful assembly have been violated and that the
Ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and as applied by the police.
Because the Plaintiffs wish to continue their constitutionally protected
speech, they asked the Court to enter a Preliminary Injunction banning
further enforcement of the ordinance during the pendency of the lawsuit.
Gregory Luce is a Catholic who is pro-life and opposes President
Obama for many reasons including the President’s actions in support of
abortion. On October 24, 2013, Luce along with a few of his supporters
appeared on the pedestrian overpass wearing t-shirts that collectively
spelled out “IMPEACH” on one side and “OBAMA” on the backside. A Town of
Campbell police officer confronted Luce and his supporters and ordered
them to leave or receive citations. Luce and his supporters left as
ordered. This police action also thwarted a similarly planned
demonstration by Luce on public land 100 feet from the overpass in
question, which was also prohibited by the challenged ordinance.
Plaintiff Nicholas Newman is a patriotic American. On October 27,
2013, Newman appeared on the overpass in question carrying an American
Flag to express his pride for his country and the ideals on which it was
founded. Police issued Newman a citation for displaying the American
Flag in violation of the ordinance, which carries a fine of $139.00.