ACLU Declares Victory in Challenge to Colorado "Anti-profanity" Regulation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DENVER, CO — The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) declared victory today in a free speech case, saying that the State of Colorado has agreed to stop enforcing a regulation that forbids owners of bars and restaurants from “permitting profanity” on their premises.
“Today’s settlement is a victory for the principle of free expression,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “The Constitution does not permit government inspectors to monitor private businesses to ensure that the owners express themselves in accordance with government-approved standards of good taste.”
The ACLU challenged the regulation in a lawsuit filed last September on behalf of Leonard L. Carlo, owner of Leonard’s Bar II in Colorado Springs. The suit charged that the Colorado Division of Liquor Enforcement violated Carlo’s constitutional rights when it relied on the anti-profanity regulation as grounds for abruptly confiscating 29 signs that had been on display in Carlo’s bar.
Less than a week after the ACLU filed suit, the Division of Liquor Enforcement countered by filing an administrative charge seeking to suspend or revoke Carlo’s liquor license for allegedly “permitting profanity.” The ACLU then obtained a temporary injunction barring any additional enforcement while the ACLU’s lawsuit was pending.
“The State of Colorado has now agreed that it cannot enforce this antiquated and unconstitutional regulation against owners of bars and restaurants,” said Steven D. Zansberg of Faegre & Benson, who served as an ACLU volunteer attorney and negotiated the settlement agreement. “The State will dismiss its charge against our client and return the signs it tore down from the walls of Mr. Carlo’s bar. In return, our client will drop his civil rights claim against Colorado officials.”
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The Latest in Free Speech
Sasha Colby Is Winning in More Ways Than One
Southern Utah Drag Stars File Lawsuit Challenging the City of St. George’s Censorship of Drag Performances
ACLU Commends Supreme Court Decisions Allowing Free Speech Online to Flourish
ACLU Slams Montana's Unconstitutional TikTok Ban as Governor Signs Law
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
Learn More About Free Speech
Protecting free speech means protecting a free press, the democratic process, diversity of thought, and so much more. The ACLU has worked since 1920 to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for everyone.