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Total Restriction on Putting Handbills on Windshields Is Overbroad
Description City ordinances in Arkansas prohibited placing handbills of any sort on the windshield of parked cars. Appeals court struck down the ordinances as in violation of the First Amendment for not being narrowly tailored to assist in the public interest to reduce littering.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words First Amendment; Handbills
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Members of a church contested the constitutionality of several city ordinances in Arkansas that made it illegal "for any person to place a handbill or advertisement on any other person's vehicle parked on public property within city limits." This prevented the church members from placing religious handbills on parked cars. District court held for the cities. Church members appealed.
Decision Reversed. Written "forms of expressions in public forums are subject to reasonable time, place or manner restrictions, but ... restrictions must (1) be content-neutral, (2) be narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and (3) leave open ample alternative channels of communication. These ordinances, intended to reduce litter, are not narrowly tailored and, hence, are overbroad and violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has noted that "the public convenience in respect of cleanliness of the streets does not justify an exertion of the police power which invades the free communication of information and opinion secured by the Constitution."
Citation Krantz v. City of Fort Smith, 160 F.3d 1214 (8th Cir., 1998)

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