Florida Homeowner Fined For Displaying “Let’s Go Brandon” and Pro-Trump Banners on Home

There is an interesting constitutional fight brewing in Florida. I have a column out today on the “Let’s Go, Brandon” movement. Marvin Peavy is part of that movement and displayed a banner with the chant (with a pro Trump banner) from his home in Seagrove Beach, Florida. He is now facing a $50 a day fine for violating an ordinance against such banners. He has pledged to continue to fight the enforcement. The question is whether the ordinance is constitutional.

Hanging from Peavy’s home is a banner proclaiming “Trump Won” and another proclaiming “Let’s Go Brandon.”  The latter chant is a euphemism for “F— Joe Biden.”

The code states that following signs are “the prohibited in the Route 30-A Scenic Corridor”:

B. Prohibited signs. In addition to the signs prohibited in Section 6.03.00, the following signs
shall be prohibited in the Route 30-A Scenic Corridor:
1. Permanent off-premise outdoor advertising signs (an off-premise sign is any sign
located on property other than that to which the sign relates);
2. Pole signs;
3. Water towers as commercial advertising;
4. Wall murals as commercial advertising;
5. Off-premise signs;
6. Temporary mobile or portable signs;
7. Interior lit single panel plastic or Lexan face;
8. Streamers, feather flags, pennants, ribbons, spinners and other similar devices;
9. Flashing signs;
10. Signs containing reflective elements that sparkle or twinkle in the sunlight;
11. Roof signs;
12. Signs containing moving parts.

The law is notably neutral on content. That is a key distinction given prior Supreme Court rulings like Reed v Town of Gilbert.  In that case, the court ruled unanimously that an Arizona ordinance was unconstitutional. Under the ordinance, “ideological signs” and “political signs” were subject to different limitations.

Writing for the Court in Reed, Justice Clarence Thomas stressed that “[g]overnment regulation of speech is content based if a law applies to particular speech because of the topic discussed or the idea or message expressed.”

The content-based regulation triggered “strict scrutiny” analysis requiring that the government must demonstrate that the law has been “narrowly tailored” to serve a “compelling interest.”

Here all signs are limited or banned in this area regardless of their message. What remains, however, is the denial of homeowners to be able to speak politically through signage on their own homes. The city would argue that they can still speak in other ways. Moreover, there is a general exemption in the ordinance for

“Temporary signs for political candidacy, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions and other signs conveying a non-commercial message for a one-time event provided that such signs are removed within 15 days following the campaign, drive, or event.”

Again, there is no content regulation here and political signs are allowed during campaign seasons.

But how about those who want to express political views between elections? Such sentiments are supporting ongoing movements, including “Let’s Go Brandon” which is a criticism of media bias. This is an aesthetic regulation that negates forms of political expression. While the odds may be against Peavy, he may force a reconsideration of such speech rights.

107 thoughts on “Florida Homeowner Fined For Displaying “Let’s Go Brandon” and Pro-Trump Banners on Home”

  1. Okay, you say, “Hanging from Peavy’s home is a banner proclaiming “Trump Won” and another proclaiming “Let’s Go Brandon.”’

    You then go on to suggest the code that is applicable regulates “signs” and quote it:
    “B. Prohibited signs. In addition to the signs prohibited in Section 6.03.00, the following signs”
    You then highlight subsection 8:
    “8. Streamers, feather flags, pennants, ribbons, spinners and other similar devices;”

    However, 8, nor any other provision mentions “banner” which is a synonym of “flag.” 8 does reference “feather flags” but they are distinct and different from the traditional/ common usage of the term “flag.”

    Could he not have a valid claim that the “code” that is being used to quell his speech doesn’t actually cover the type of banner/flag displayed from his home? Nothing is the code you provided seems to regulate the usage of flags (ordinary usage of the word). In fact, it would seem that the way you are interpreting the code would mean that a person couldn’t hand the Stars and Stripes from one’s home and I definitely don’t see how that interpretation could be applied from the code AS WRITTEN.

  2. Chris Krebs (former CISA Director):
    “Good news everyone! Apparently we secured all the elections in the last year, because I’m not seeing a lot of claims of fraud or stolen elections after yesterday. Congrats to all the election security peeps out there for all your hard work!”

  3. The DAILY MAIL has a good article on the Baldwin shooting.

    They discuss industry standards for the use of guns on a set and note that Baldwin and crew violated at least three of these established standards of care.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10162287/Alec-Baldwins-Rust-crew-accused-breaking-THREE-movie-industry-gun-safety-rules.html

    Mespo, Darren and I mentioned many of these in the previous thread.

    With published and accepted standards on the table cases for civil and perhaps criminal liability clearly become possible.

    One thing about standards like these, they weren’t put together in a faculty lounge. Many are painfully learned from tragedies that should not be repeated. But the tragedies will be repeated if the standards are not religiously followed. Just ask Baldwin.

    1. If you have not seen the photo of newly elected Virginia Lt Governor Winsome Sears holding an AR-15 rifle from a campaign piece earlier this year, look for it on the internet. Search “Winsome Sears holding rifle” – it ought to do the trick. Ms. Sears is going to go far in politics, if the Dems do not destroy her by their dirty politics, which I assume they are likely digging in her background this very moment.

Leave a Reply