The constitutional fish tale from Clearwater, Florida is getting more difficult to believe with the appearance of city officials in court over their crackdown on the posting of the first amendment on the side of a fish and bait shop. As discussed earlier, Complete Angler and its owner Herb Quintero was first fined for simply painting a mural of fish on the side of the building. They were told that it constituted a “sign.” When he covered the mural with a copy of the first amendment, he was hit with another threatened fine. Now, the city has said that they would not fine him for handing the American flag but not the first amendment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins is considering whether to give the shop a protective injunction while the ACLU litigates the question. Clearwater planning director Michael Delk explained the position of the city that a flag is fine but the Constitution is verboten.
Of course, Lord only knows what would happen if businesses posted quotations from the Constitution. Rampant expressions of civil liberties and stubborn defenses of core principles of freedom. What is particularly striking is that the flag is a transient symbol of the United States, which has changed repeatedly. The Constitution is the very core of the country, the defining symbol of what it is to be American.
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