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:
=POVERTY & HUNGER
OBAMA’S “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”
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.