A New Jersey resident Andrea Dick refused to remove three anti-Biden signs from the front of her home as ordered by Roselle Park Municipal Court Judge Gary Bundy, who deemed a word written on them obscene.
“I’m not taking them down. I refuse to take them down … Today I got a phone call from code enforcement … I said nothing against you, but I’m not taking them down. I said I have a right, freedom of speech, and I’m leaving them up there,” Dick emphasized, according to The Blaze on July 18.
She also has the backing of attorney Michael Campagna, who argues that the judge’s ruling would imply censorship contrary to the First Amendment.
“I am a firm believer in the First Amendment. I may not believe in what you’re saying, but I absolutely believe that you have the right to say it,” Campagna said.
He added: “That’s what our democracy is about. If you tell people that they cannot say something, that they cannot print something, that they cannot put a sign up, we’re going into censorship.”
He further alluded to Hitler, saying, “In Nazi Germany, when Hitler didn’t like something, they burned the books and then they burned the people. I don’t think we want that to happen in Roselle Park.”
Judge Bundy ordered Dick, who resides at the home of her mother, Patricia Dilascio, to remove the profanity-laced signs within a week, after which she could face fines of $250 for each day she delays in complying with the verdict.
Bundy considered that profanity is not protected by the First Amendment. Likewise, the Democratic mayor, Joseph Signorello III, justified the lawsuit against Dick because of the apparent anger of neighbors, given the proximity of a school to the signs.
According to city attorney Jarrid Kantor, the controversy is about the conception of obscenity in the past and today.
Kantor said the First Amendment is subject to “reasonable limitations” and that the judge should apply “contemporary community standards” regarding that moral concept.
“Mr. Campagna gets to the heart of the issue,” Kantor said. He added, “He says, what’s obscene in the 1800s? What’s obscene in the 1850s? What’s obscene now? What’s obscene then? That’s why there is no defined term,” according to Conservative Brief.
The lawyers called the decision “ridiculous and unconstitutional,” arguing that it violates U.S. Supreme Court precedent set in the landmark 1971 case Cohen v. California.
In that case, a man opposed to the Vietnam War was charged with violating a “disorderly conduct” statute for wearing a jacket with a sign calling for war and adding the same slur that appears on Dick’s signs.
Holding that “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric,” the high court ruled that the government cannot regulate an individual’s right to use profanity to protect public morality, cited Law & Crime.