Polling station fashion police: A joke or a warning?

Thursday, March 1, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

voting in AmericaAmericans are being told that they should not expect to hear back from the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) anytime soon regarding a case that involves clothing in polling stations.

Wen Fa, who serves as an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), believes that it is going to be at least a few months before SCOTUS rules in the lawsuit Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky.

"In many First Amendment cases, the justices often write many separate opinions, and that would tend to slow down the process somewhat because you have multiple justices writing [and] you have some of the justices responding to other justices – so those cases tend to take a little bit longer," Fa pointed out. "Based on what I heard at argument today [Wednesday], I think this could be one of those cases."

PLF is representing Minnesota Voters Alliance in the lawsuit.

The issue involves a law in Minnesota that forbids "any political badge, political button or other political insignias," although Fa points out nine other states have similar laws. And while a Tea Party shirt with the Gadsden flag and the “Don't Tread On Me” slogan is the subject of Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, Fa pointed out that other people in different states have been told over the years that they could not wear shirts saying “Vote the Bible” or “Dallas Cowboys.”

Meanwhile, Fa believes that the justices were all very engaged and asked probing questions for both sides.

"I think one of the things that struck the justices was exactly how broad this law is – and the type of arbitrary enforcement that it could lead to," Fa impressed. "At one point, Justice Alito asked the lawyer for the state if a shirt with the 2nd Amendment could be banned from the polling place. The attorney said, 'I guess it could,' and then Alito said, 'What about the First Amendment?' After some awkward laughter, the lawyer said it couldn't be banned, so I think that just shows you sort of how broad the law is – and also how it leads to arbitrary enforcement on the part of individual poll workers."

Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky told OneNewsNow in November 2017 that he could not speak about this matter while the case moves forward.

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