The Rat Has Rights: 10-Foot Inflatable Rat Prevails in New Jersey Supreme Court

rat_babbioThe New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a 10-foot inflatable rat. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union was using the giant rat in protests when the officials at the Lawrence Township informed the union that the rat violated a ban on banners, streamers and inflatable signs, except those announcing grand openings. The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that the rat has rights . . . or at least the union under the first amendment.

Justice John E. Wallace Jr. ruled that “The township’s elimination of an entire medium of expression without a readily available alternative renders the ordinance overbroad.” The ruling overturns the $100 fine given a union official in 2005. The decision reverses a 2007 appellate court.

The court left open a possibility for the township:

Our determination that the Township’s ordinance violates
the First Amendment does not leave the Township without adequate means to address its asserted concerns. As long as any future sign ordinance “leave[s] open ample alternative channels for
communication,” the Township may regulate the “time, place, or manner of [the use of] signs.” Clark v. Cmty. for Creative Non- Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 293, 104 S. Ct. 3065, 3069, 82 L. Ed. 2d 221, 227 (1984); State v. Miller, supra, 83 N.J. at 416-17. To be sure, such an ordinance must be narrowly tailored to further the governmental interest. See, e.g., id. at 413.

As for the union, they may want to keep it away from George Bartusek.

Here is the a-73-07-state-v-wayne-deangelo

For full story, click here.

7 thoughts on “The Rat Has Rights: 10-Foot Inflatable Rat Prevails in New Jersey Supreme Court”

  1. Lottakatz,
    I am with you. The shcck of hearing that the Supremes had actually upheld a free speech right blew me away.
    I thought Roberts was the rat.

  2. 11:22 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009
    E-mail this to a friend Printable version
    Iran’s slow but sure missile advance

    By Paul Reynolds
    World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

    Iran’s Safir rocket in August 2008
    Iran said it launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite last August

    Iran’s successful launch of its own satellite by its own rocket shows how it is slowly but surely mastering the missile technology that the West and Israel fear one day might be available as a delivery system for a nuclear weapon.

    It also shows, as Iran itself has triumphantly proclaimed, that the UN sanctions against Iran, which include sanctions against its missile programme as well as its nuclear activities, have not stopped this event.

    The satellite launch by itself, however, does not fundamentally change the equation over Iran’s potential development of a nuclear weapon.

    Iran continues to state that it has no intention of building a bomb and the International Atomic Energy Agency has reported that all Iran’s declared nuclear enrichment activities are under its inspection.

    Western governments and Israel are worried that Iran might one day use the expertise it is gaining in nuclear fuel enrichment to enrich to the higher level needed for a nuclear explosion.

    Missile technology

    The key element here is that Iran is steadily building up its knowledge of missile technology.

    One concern is that the rocket used this time, the Safir 2, is basically the same as Iran’s ballistic missile, the Shahab 3
    Mark Fitzpatrick
    International Institute for Strategic Studies

    “This launch represents another technological advance for Iran,” says Mark Fitzpatrick, nuclear watcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

    “One concern is that the rocket used this time, the Safir 2, is basically the same as Iran’s ballistic missile, the Shahab 3, so each launch increases its accuracy and reliability.

    “However, this is not as worrisome as the launch last November of a solid fuel rocket, the Sajjil. Solid fuel missiles are more mobile and less vulnerable to pre-emptive attack.”

    The satellite announcement came as Iran is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its revolution.

    The link between the launch and the revolution is no coincidence.

    The Iranian government uses technology as a symbol of national pride.

    It claims that the effort to stop it from enriching uranium is an attempt to stifle its technological progress.

    Western governments have offered Iran a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel if it will give up its own enrichment but Iran has turned down this offer.

  3. I’ve heard the rat is also John Roberts preference for replacing Justice Ginsberg. Personally, I think a giant rat full of hot air is right at home running for public office instead of seeking judicial appointment, but birds of feather . . .

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