Costa Mesa Halts Enforcement of Anti-Solicitation Ordinance After Civil Rights Groups Sue
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The city of Costa Mesa today halted enforcement of its anti-solicitation ordinance in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, MALDEF and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. The suit was brought on behalf of day laborers represented by the Asociacion de Jornaleros de Costa Mesa and the Colectivo Tonantzin.
It alleges that the ordinance violates the First Amendment not only because it prohibits day laborers’ constitutionally protected speech, but because it also impermissibly censors a wide range of other individuals and groups, including small businesses that use handheld advertising on public streets, homeless individuals soliciting contributions, and persons engaging in fundraising activities, such as students who attempt to get the attention of passing motorists for car washes.
The city of Costa Mesa agreed to place a moratorium on enforcement of the ordinance pending a decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on a challenge to a similar anti-solicitation ordinance in the city of Redondo Beach.
“It shouldn’t have taken a lawsuit for the city to understand that this ordinance was constitutionally questionable,” said Hector Villagra, ACLU/SC legal director. “Nonetheless, we are pleased that the city has placed a moratorium on this ban of free speech.”
Gladys Limon, MALDEF staff attorney, stated, “This decision ensures that day laborers and prospective employers can continue to exercise their full right to peacefully solicit employment in public areas, without fear of harassment or threatened enforcement of the ordinance by Costa Mesa police officers.”
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
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.