High court backs canvassers' rights
Justices strike down law
WASHINGTON | The Constitution guarantees
religious groups, politicians, Girl Scouts and others the right to
knock on their neighbors’ doors without stopping at town hall for
permission, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a broad endorsement of
By a vote of 8-1, the high court struck down an Ohio village’s
law that required anyone going door to door to register with
authorities and carry a permit. Violators could be fined $100.
‘‘It is offensive, not only to the values protected by the First
Amendment, but to the very notion of a free society, that in the
context of everyday public discourse a citizen must first inform the
government of her desire to speak to her neighbors and then obtain a
permit to do so,’’ Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
The mayor of the tiny Stratton, population 287, said the law was
intended to protect elderly residents against flimflam artists or
pesky salesmen. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose religion mandates
doorstep proselytizing, objected, saying the law was largely aimed
at keeping them out of town. Stratton Village Solicitor Frank
Bruzzese defended the law, saying it was ‘‘narrowly drawn to
regulate only entry onto private property.’’ Town leaders said they
are still evaluating their next step.
Monday’s case turned in part on the notion of anonymity when
speaking one’s mind.
The court already has held that the Constitution gives people the
right to anonymously distribute campaign literature. Monday’s ruling
extends that right to door-to-door soliciting for other causes.
[From the Dayton
Daily News: 06.18.2002]
Home | Local
index | Today's
print edition local section
Help | Get
newspaper home delivery
pair tortured with sledgehammers, razor wire
County settles suit with Aryan Nation leader
face Net-sex sting charges in Xenia, Dayton
nurse still licensed, but jailed for drugs
orders involving sheriff, wife, woman dropped
lead Seattle past Reds, 2-0
rookie running back tuning out the whispers
grad wants to show he can play at Ohio all-star game
world's watching but do we really care?
Walker surprised by trapshoot win
on leave amid abuse allegations
Miami Valley co-workers to share $6 million jackpot
want to buy a bar? One's available in Dayton
killed in fiery car-train wreck
5 years of work planned for area's busiest
broken mental retardation system
Foreign Game: Athletes pay to play in America
NCR engineers helped crack the Nazi 'Enigma'