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Michigan Man Victorious In Fight To Keep Anti-Obama Signs On His Own Property

April 10, 2013 by  

A Michigan township challenged local farmer Vern Verduin’s right to display political banners (located on his own property) critical of President Barack Obama’s fiscal policy. They lost.

Officials in Gaines Township had cited and fined Verduin for allegedly violating the local sign ordinance, which forbids political signage unless it’s near an election season, while allowing commercial signage anytime. But a district judge tossed out the charges and ruled the Township’s ordinance is unConstitutional on the grounds it violates 1st Amendment protections of free speech.

Verduin’s signs, which were displayed on two tractor trailers he owns, read:

MARXISM/SOCIALISM

=POVERTY & HUNGER

And:

OBAMA’S “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”

8% UNEMPLOYMENT

16 TRILLION DEBT

Both vehicles were parked on his own property, where Verduin operates a 40-acre cattle farm. District Judge Steven Servaas ruled that the Gaines Township ordinance violated the 1st Amendment because it favored commercial advertising over free political speech.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Dave

    The guy is dumb. There isn’t a law against stupidity. He should be able to keep his sign up as a testiment to his lack of intelligence.

    • vicki

      A lovely and useless ad hominem. Congrats.

    • Vigilant

      Dave, consider yourself lucky that “There isn’t a law against stupidity”

    • Dave

      Sorry if you boys and girls can’t handle the truth. Obama for all his faults is not responsible for even close to 16T in debt. The unemployment rate is below 8% and socialism? There are many socialist countries that are doing better than us at this point. Maybe if you did a little research once in a while, you would know this. So deal with it..

      • Vigilant

        How about dealing with the subject instead of going off in the weeds? The thrust of the article is the man’s freedom of speech…unless you’re saying only pro-Obama propaganda is acceptable for posting on private property.

        • Dave

          Vigilant, where did I say I have a problem with anything is is putting on his property?

          • Vigilant

            Dave, you missed the point completely. Your comments are a defense of Obama. The article , as I said, dealt with the concept of free speech. Your unrelated screed talks about debt, unemployment and socialism.

          • Dave

            No Vigilant, I said I support the sign in his yard… So there goes your BS about defense of Obama right there.

            I am talking about his sign being the work of someone who is dumb…

            His sign says:

            “Marxism&Socialism”=Poverty and Hunger which as I proved is BS and besides its not even close to what Obama has put forth and what we have in this country and I gave examples.
            Then this dummy blathers on about

            OBAMA’S “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”

            8% UNEMPLOYMENT

            16 TRILLION DEBT
            #1 The unemployment rate is below 8% and last I checked Obama is president, and there is this other branch of Gov called Congress… maybe you heard of it… No laws get passed without them… The GOP has record filibusters in the Senate since 2010 and they have the House too… So if you believe the gov should do something more to speed up the “recovery” then you can blame both Obama and the GOP in Congress for not getting anything done.
            #2 he 16T of debt is not Obama’s and the debt Obama’s policies that put onto the debt is but a fraction. The majority is due to tax cut and spend that has lingered since Reagan (he tripled the debt with his policies) and then we sell our manufacturing base out and in 2008 (before Obama got into office) the economy collapases due to the policies passed during Reagan and Clinton concerning investment/savings banks, credit and home buying. Do you have a complete breakdown of the spending during Obama’s term Vigilant? No you don’t so as you put it… STFU.
            So I stand by what I said, the guy has every right to keep his signs up and they are a testiment to his ignorance.
            You may go now… I am done with your nonsense.

          • satelliter

            So your rant is that the only signs that can be posted are those of proven facts…(whose proof?) In other words, I can not post a sign on my yard stating “the sky is green” because I’m dumb. I didn’t see that in the first amendment so I guess I am the dumb one. Perhaps you could show me where it says that…

  • Bobby Regan

    We are at 8% unemployment and over 16 trillion in debt. Socialism has failed everytime it has been tried throughout history. Facts are irritating to some people. I can see why those people would want that man to take down the signs. Some just rather keep their heads stuck in the sand and not see facts. You are right Dave…there is not a law against stupidity. You illustrated that very well.

    • Dave

      The netherlands, Sweden, Germany… They seem to be doing just fine and they are far more socialist than we are. The word you are looking for is “authoritarian”

      • Dave

        I am sure Bobby as a brilliant conservative, you would have figured it all out on your own. Facts are irritating which is why the dolt with the sign in his yard and you do not present any. You do a fine parroting job of right wing talking points however… kudos for your memorization there. Your conservative corporatist master would be proud.

      • Vigilant

        I lived for 19 years in Germany and the Netherlands, and I can tell you things are NOT “just fine.” As we used to say in the service, “if you haven’t been there, then STFU!”

        • Dave

          The quote was:

          “Socialism has failed everytime it has been tried throughout history.”

          The Netherlands, has less numbers of people in poverty as a %, they are better educated, less people in jail and they have a longer life expectancy. Since you can’t keep up with the context of the conversation, you won’t mind if I use one of your lines and tell you to STFU.

          Thanks!

        • anthony

          well said!

      • chocopot

        The word is “Marxist,” not socialist.

  • Vigilant

    While I agree he should have the right to post whatever he wants on his private property, I fail to see what the First Amendment has to do with it. The First deals with limiting the Federal Government from abridging freedom of speech, not the state governments.
    Article I, Section Five of the Michigan State Constitution should have been cited, NOT the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

  • Warrior

    Why the gall of this judge, dissing the “busy peoples” herculean efforts at “controlling” one’s message. BTW, maybe the “busy people” could impose a “fine” or a “tax”, if you will, on older Prius’s that still have 2008 oblama/bite me stickers on the rear deck lid. They “grossly” offend me and isn’t that what this is all about?

  • anthony

    there are a lot of people that are unemployed, and either just gave up or are on welfare…..so they’re not counted. the actual numbers are around 15-20% national unemployment. the welfare game is just a way for obozo to claim that there is less unemployment.

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