First Amendment rights and bags

By From page A14 | September 22, 2013

Wikipedia defines freedom of speech as “the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them.” ACLU states it is “dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that freedom of speech includes the right “not to speak” (e.g., “the right not to salute the flag”), the right for students to “wear black armbands to school to protest a war,” the right to “use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages,” the right “to engage in symbolic speech (e.g., burning the flag in protest),” the right “to contribute money to political campaigns,” and the right “to advertise commercial products.”

I am more than willing to receive advertisements from Nugget Market, Rite Aid, Ace Hardware, Hibbert Lumber, Sophia’s Thai Restaurant, etc., in the form of plastic or paper bags that advertise their business and commercial products.

I only hope that the ACLU defends such expanded First Amendment rights when a Davis merchant sues the city for infringing on its right to advertise its store name on plastic and paper bags it gives away freely to customers willing to receive them.

This is a freedom of speech issue, regardless of what the government is trying to do.

Keith Redenbaugh


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