ACLU steps in to defend anti-Trump mural in New Orleans


Originally published at:


So, the city of NOLA is arguing that a direct, validated quote from the sitting president of the United States of America is obscene?

Perhaps they should be worried about more things than a mural, then.


No, they’re arguing that installation doesn’t have the requisite permits.


I hate Trump too, but if my neighbor put this up I’m pretty sure I’d be bothered by it. Like our President, it’s in bad taste.


Oh, if they’re looking for the permit, I found it. I can link to it for them if they want:

“Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”


That’s essentially the ACLU’s argument. I suspect the judge will say “That’s great but the First Amendment doesn’t preclude you from applying for a permit.”




Wow, was that shopped?


Finally, here’s a chance for conservative defenders of liberty to weigh in on an actual First Amendment case. Take it, gang…



“Someone shot a bunch of people. Let’s regulate guns more.”


“Someone quoted Trump admitting to sexual assault. Let’s regulate speech more.”

"Damn right!"


I love strict mural permitting codes, because there is a very fine line between a mural and a billboard. If the first amendment protects this mural, it would also protect covering every available square inch of public wall space with advertising. Corporations are people, friend.


Preclude? No. But it does preclude government from creating laws requiring you obtain permission to exercise your rights.

As I understand it, that is really a common misinterpretation of the citizens united ruling. The actual ruling was that corporations are groups of people and groups of people have rights.


The essence of citizens united is that spending money is speech. Corporate personhood precedes citizens united by at least a century.


Well, I know there has been a long tradition of corporate rights laws and activism but as far as personhood goes, I’ve not seen any ruling declaring corporation people, only gatherings of people and the idea is that you can’t deny people their rights just because they act as a group.
Can you cite some case or ruling that endows personhood upon a corporation?


I’m not disagreeing with you on the specifics. “Corporate personhood” is what people call the legal principle that corporations have similar rights to people.

My comment was just about citizens united and how it wasn’t really about that at all, it was about whether those rights were being infringed upon by corporate spending limits in election campaigns.


That is like being a fan of strict censorship of movies because there is a fine line between a movie and a cigarette or booze ad. You don’t have to regulate everything that is not a billboard to regulate billboards. Disband the dept of precrime.


Corporate personhood is what’s known as a legal fiction, originally intended for the sake of convenience in the course of limiting liability for human shareholders and executives. It specifically separates the corporation from its human associates while still giving it legal rights enjoyed by humans (e.g. filing a lawsuit, entering into a contract).

Over the past 30 years in the U.S. that legal fiction has been twisted into increasingly literal, Romney-style interpretations of personhood that go far beyond the original intent. Citizens United is the most egregious example.


Too true. If Corporations are “made of people” and therefore have the same right as people, then why the hell aren’t the executives and shareholders of Uber being charged for negligence / manslaughter? If me and a group of my friends got together and killed someone, we’d each individually be 100% guilty of the killing.

The idea that corporations have the rights of people because they are made of people is farcical unless they also have the responsibilities of people.


Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania is the one that explicitly states corporations are persons under the 14th amendment. There are other, even earlier decisions, starting about the time the last of the founding fathers kicked the bucket I imagine (the founders distrusted and hated corporations).

It seems to me that whenever big moneyed interests want a corporation to be a person, it is ruled to be one for that specific purpose. And when they don’t, it isn’t.


There’s a fascinating story about this on NPR.

Essentially, the 14th was always about granting recently freed slaves citizenship as well as others born in the country whose parents were from faraway lands.

It was only through the manipulation of supreme court records that mischaracterized a ruling that said the 14th didn’t apply to corporations to read as though it did (and a subsequent refusal to correct the error when it was discovered) that we’re in the fix we are today.