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Rats! Union Protest Rodent Is Constitutional

Rats! Union Protest Rodent Is Constitutional

Posted by Frank Steinberg | Feb 11, 2009 | 0 Comments

If you live in New Jersey you've probably seen the subject of a new NJ Supreme Court decision.  It's a 10 foot tall inflatable rat set up by striking union workers.  

The case is State v. DeAngelo, decided February 5, 2009.  The question for the court was whether striking workers violated a municipal ordinance by inflating the rat, allegedly in violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibited “balloon signs or other inflated signs (except grand opening signs) … displayed for the purpose of attracting the attention of pedestrians and motorists….”

In a unanimous decision the court found that the ordinance under which the workers were charged was both content-based and overly broad, both of which are problematic in First Amendment jurisprudence.

The net result: the Rat lives!

Thanks to Professor Mitchell Rubenstein at the Adjunct Law Prof Blog for bringing this decision to our attention.

About the Author

Frank Steinberg

Frank is the founder and principal of Steinberg Law, LLC. A Jersey boy born and bred, he focuses on employment litigation and counseling, business litigation,  and aviation law. Following law school and a clerkship in the federal district court Frank spent his early career with large litigation ...


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