Artist’s Constitutional Rights Upheld As New York Town Lifts Ban

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Artist's Constitutional rights upheld as New York town lifts banA town in the State of New York has agreed to lift an "art ban" in response to a lawsuit filed by a local artist.

Melanie Gold recently scored a victory for artists and supporters of the Constitution as the village of Greenwood Lake agreed to rescind a moratorium on displaying public art. In February, the town enacted an "art ban," threatening fines or imprisonment to building owners and artists who did not adhere to the ordinance.

Backed by the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and a New York-based law firm, Gold slapped Greenwood Lake with a suit, claiming that her 1st Amendment rights were violated. On April 6, the matter was settled when the town agreed to remove the ban and pledged not to pass a future law that compromises its citizens' Constitutional rights.

David Leichtman, a partner with Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi, was one of the attorneys who represented Gold. He said that this agreement reaffirms that Americans have the right to communicate ideas without fear of government retaliation.

"We hope this will send a greater message that artists have Constitutional rights upon which no local government has the right to infringe," said Leichtman. "We see this not just as a defense of the 1st Amendment, but as a victory for artists' rights everywhere."  

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