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WASHN: dissented.

The Associated Press
6/17/02 10:44 AM

The village of Stratton, Ohio, required a permit for any door-to-door soliciting by salesmen or anyone else. Theoretically, Girl Scouts would have to get such a permit to sell cookies, as would a candidate for the school board or a student raising money for a class trip.

The majority in Monday's case said the law was too broad. Had it been much more narrowly written to guard against unwanted sales calls, it might have withstood constitutional scrutiny, Stevens wrote.

People who do not want to listen to a political candidate or other canvasser need not do so, the court said. Residents may post a "No Solicitations" sign at the door, or simply refuse to engage in conversation.

The court also rejected the town's claim that the law helped prevent crime. There is no evidence that a criminal casing a neighborhood would be deterred by the need to get a permit, the court said.

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