Just in Time for July 4th, Court Says Tea Party Can Hand Out U.S. Constitution
Redding, CA – A Shasta County Superior Court judge today handed a second constitutional win to local Tea Party leaders, granting a preliminary injunction against Redding Municipal Library. The library had been seeking to restrict the peaceful sharing of ideas and information in a breezeway that had previously been used for that purpose by a wide range of groups.
Pacific Justice Institute and Redding attorney Tim Pappas filed suit on behalf of the Tea Party groups and officials earlier this year and previously won a temporary restraining order. The suit alleges that recently enacted library restrictions on distribution of educational materials and related activities violate both the state and federal constitutions.
The conflict arose after library officials discouraged the Tea Party’s distribution of the U.S. Constitution and patriotic-themed information in the library’s breezeway during Constitution Week last September. Over the next few months, a library committee drafted a new policy designed to limit such activities. Despite objections from attorneys for both conservative and liberal groups, members of the City Council, acting in their dual role as the Library Board of Trustees, voted 4-1 this spring to approve the policy.
PJI president Brad Dacus stated, “Our founding fathers created public libraries to promote civic education and good citizenship. It is outrageous that the library sought to restrict distribution of the Constitution, and we are thrilled that the court has again sided with free speech over censorship.”