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Federal Court: You Can Fight City Hall and Win
Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:30 pm | By Grant Morgan

Last Wednesday, a Federal Appeals Court in St. Louis held Jim Roos, a local property owner, had the right to paint a large mural on the side of his building, despite city ordinances to the contrary.

 

What did the 360 square foot sign, which was visible from two interstates, say?

 

“End Eminent Domain Abuse”

Roos, a member of the Missouri Eminent Domain Abuse Commission, had been fighting the city since 2007, when he painted the sign to protest aggressive land-taking by the city government of St. Louis.

The initial ruling from the district court held that the city ordinance was content-neutral and therefore acceptable on its face, and Mr. Roos’ work was a “classic example” of a sign.

 

However, the panel of the appeals court found that the ordinance did discriminate based on content, and that it was not supported by a compelling state interest. Thus, Mr. Roos is protected by the first amendment, and the sign may stay up.

This ruling is encouraging for multiple reasons. First, it tells property-owners that city governments may not normally impose content-specific rules on how they can exercise their first amendment rights using their own property. Also, it sends a message to governments that if they try to use local laws to silence activists fighting their abuse of eminent domain, courts will intervene.

Either way, this ruling is a victory for liberty.

Tags: EmDom Missouri | Permalink | Comments

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Aug06Damsie Excellent piece, Pastor Dami! I have been that bride who didn't show up literally. Four days to the titidaronal marriage, I found out some information my fiance9 at the time had selectively kept hidden, a child I didn't know about and an angry jilted bride I also didn't know about. It was a heavy decision, arrangements were in place, but I chose to walk away and my parents supported me. There are few things I am more grateful for, than for the God-given courage to walk away from what would have been a sham of a marriage!Moving forward, I love this part of the message It’s not enough to sign up as a volunteer, show up to do the work. So many of us, moved by all sorts of motives, including good intentions, have turned into serial volunteers. We sign up for various volunteer activities in church or commit to do something at work when we simply do not have the time or resources to fulfil these obligations. Sometimes we suffer burnout when we push to fulfil them. Thanks for pointing out that it takes courage to know when to say no, best intentions and all.Thanks, Pastor! And yes, I will share this!
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