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Free Speech

When Arizona resident Mark Reed planned to vote while wearing a “Tea Party” t-shirt, government officials wanted to keep him out of the polls. The Goldwater Institute argued that Tea Party shirts were constitutionally protected free speech, no different than shirts promoting unions or other advocacy groups. The courts agreed, requiring election officials to use uniform, objective standards without violating the constitution.

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  • Korwin v. Cotton (Bus Shelter Ads case)

    Posted on May 11, 2011 | Type: Case

    On May 11, 2011, the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Alan Korwin and TrainMeAz LLC to challenge the decision by Debbie Cotton, director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department, to remove posters at 50 bus shelters advertising the company’s website. Ms. Cotton has claimed the ads didn’t promote a commercial transaction as required by city policy. Ms. Cotton’s explanation ignores the express purpose of TrainMeAz to make a profit while providing resources to people who want training on self-defense and marksmanship. In addition, the city of Phoenix has no written standards to explain to potential advertisers what specific messages and logos are acceptable at city bus shelters. Ms. Cotton and the city of Phoenix have arbitrarily denied Mr. Korwin’s right to free speech.

  • Goldwater Institute Files Lawsuit to Stop Arbitrary Censorship of Gun Ads

    Posted on May 11, 2011 | Type: Press Release

    PHOENIX – Today, the Goldwater Institute filed a legal challenge to the removal of a business advertisement from 50 Phoenix bus shelters in October 2010, claiming the city’s rules are so vague that they allow city officials to violate business owners’ right to free speech.

  • Removal of gun safety ad sparks free speech debate

    Posted on May 11, 2011 | Type: Video

    ABC 15 profiled the Goldwater Institute's lawsuit against the City of Phoenix and its transit director for arbitrarily taking down one business's bus shelter ads.

  • Coconino County Promises to Protect Voters' Free Speech at Polling Places

    Posted on March 14, 2011 | Type: Press Release

    Flagstaff, Ariz. – Coconino County has accepted a settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of Flagstaff voter Diane Wickberg. The suit was filed after Mrs. Wickberg was told by County poll workers at her voting precinct to cover up her T-shirt with the words “We the People” and “Flagstaff Tea Party – Reclaiming our Constitution Now” during two different elections in 2010.

  • Federal Judge Allows Tea Party T-shirts on Election Day

    Posted on November 01, 2010 | Type: Press Release

    PHOENIX – A federal judge has issued an emergency order stating that Maricopa County cannot ban clothing worn by voters on Election Day that refers to the phrase “tea party,” unless there’s also a message on the clothing that attempts to influence how other voters might cast their ballots.

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