Let’s Go Brandon, Fly Your Anti-Biden Flag

The Order Approving Consent Judgment, Granting Stipulation for Dismissal Adams v. MillerYesterday signed by Judge James Patrick Hanlon, (S.D. Ind.):

Brandon Adams challenged the City of Kokomo’s enforcement of an ordinance that regulates the content of sign materials. This is a First Amendment case. He refused to take down the flag that had been displayed by City officials. After that, Mr. Adams filed a preliminary injunctive motion. Prior to the Court’s ruling on the motion, Mr. Adams filed a preliminary injunctive relief request. In this order, the Court approves the parties’ stipulated dismissal of the case….

Brandon Adams claimed that Mark Miller (Greg Sheline), Tyler O. Moore (“Defendants”) and Bob Cameron (the City of Kokomo) violated his First Amendment right to free speech. Particularly, Adams claimed that Defendants made him take down a flag with a political message on it after he had hung it from his house. In support of the request, defendants cited an ordinance in which the city prohibits any sign that contains statements, words or photographs depicting an obscene, indecent or immoral character.

Both parties reached an agreement to keep the status quo and filed later a Stipulation Of Agreed Entry declaring that they would be terminating their respective agreements.[t]The City of Kokomo has decided to stop any further actions against Mr. Adams in relation to his flag that reads, “Fuck Biden, and fuck your vote for him.” Additional information is found in the Agreed Entry:

In accordance with United States Supreme Court Decision in Cohen v. California403 U.S. 15. 18 (1971) The City is not authorized to prosecute or bring any legal action against Adams, or anyone else, for any message displayed on the flag. This message reads: “Fuck Biden” and, “Fuck you for voting for him.” So long as there is no showing of an intent to incite disobedience or disruption the First and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit the City from punishing, in any way, Mr. Adams or any other person for displaying such a flag….

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The consent decree refers to a court order which embodies terms that were agreed on by parties in compromise to litigation. An “accord decree” must (1) be derived from and used to settle a matter within the court’s subject-matter jurisdiction; (2) have the party’s consent.[e]Within the scope of the case as set out in the pleadings; (3) further the purposes of law on which the complaint is based.

Based on the Agreed entry’s substance and context, this Court interprets it as dkt. 37) as a Consent Judgment. The Court holds that each of the requirements are satisfied by the Consent Judgment. Local No. 93 factors. First, Adams’s lawsuit alleging a First Amendment violation is within the Court’s jurisdiction. Second, the Consent Judgment’s remedies—prohibiting Defendants from enforcing the sign ordinance against Mr. Adams—come with the scope of the case. The Consent Judgment, which allows Mr. Adams freedom to voice his political views without being prosecuted under the sign ordinance, will help further the First Amendment’s objectives.

Next, the Court will decide if the Consent Judgment proposed is legal, fair, reasonable and appropriate. … [It is.]The sign ordinance was narrowly drafted to bar Defendants’ enforcement of the ordinance against Mr. Adams and any other person who displays a flag similar to that displayed by Mr. Adams. The Consent Judgment was accepted by both parties, who were represented by counsel during the proceedings. And although the Consent Judgment was filed early in the litigation, the record gives no indication that greater discovery would aid in the resolution of this case….

The City made the right decision to settle because it is content-based, even if not viewpoint neutral, and clear unconstitutional. Cohen v. California This argued that the First Amendment usually protects vulgarities such as Cohen’s “Fuck the Draft” jacket.