If Corporate Election Financing is Free Speech, Why Not Workers Seeking Jobs on the Street?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Corporations now can give more than ever to political campaigns, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that businesses’ donations are a protected form of free speech. But day laborers in California are arguing they deserve the same kind of legal guarantee to simply gain employment while hawking their services from city street corners.

Cities such as Costa Mesa in Orange County have adopted ordinances that forbid workers from holding signs to advertise their availability to work in order to cut down on noise and loitering. Opposing the law is the Asociacion de Jornaleros (Association of Day Laborers), which argues that the city’s 2005 ordinance violates the First and 14th Amendments.
The group and others believe solicitation speech is a form of expression that deserves the same constitutional protections as traditional speech. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) have won numerous lawsuits in California challenging such ordinances.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Workers Demand Rights to the Corner (by Elizabeth Banicki, Courthouse News Service)
Asociacion de Jornaleros v. City of Costa Mesa (U.S. District Court, Central California) (pdf)


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