A Syracuse University professor has filed a lawsuit challenging the rules that the small town in which he lives has about displaying political signs on private property. David Rubin, the former dean of the Newhouse School of Communications at SU, filed the suit against the town of Manlius in conjunction with the Center for Competitive Politics. The suit alleges that Manlius’ town code, which places restrictions on temporary campaign signs, is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.
Manlius allows private property owners to display campaign signs up to 30 days before an election and seven days after an election. The regulation is in place in “order to preserve aesthetics and ensure traffic safety,” according to the town code.
“Oh, I’ve got to get a form," Rubin said. "I’ve got to fill it out. I’ve got to take it down to the town hall. I’ve got to wait; they are going to go through it. Why should I have to do all this?”
He teaches First Amendment Law.
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“This sort of speech is the most protected kind of political speech. Why do I have to wait until 30 days before the election when we have candidates who aren't waiting 30 months before the election and they start to run?" Rubin asked. "You should be able to comment on an election from the point at which an election has started, people are declared candidates, people are raising money, people are circulating petitions, people are doing all the things that they do to run for office. Why should I not people able to speak during this important time when public opinion is being molded ... pollsters are out there. This is when judgments are being made.”
Not everyone supports Rubin’s free-speech crusade, The Daily Caller reported.
“Look, it’s green. It is beautiful. The flowers are out. Why put a sign at somebody’s house?” said Manlius resident Thomas Corcoran. “I mean, it is a beautiful community and why litter it with all these signs?”