Free Speech

Free Speech Must Include The Right To Scream At Traffic Cops

SO. Freaking. Annoying!

If you like traffic cops, please raise your hand.

Good. Now bring that hand down in a hard, smacking manner upside your own head.

Traffic cops are the worst cops of all cops and meter maids are the worst of all the traffic cops. Think about it, the entire job of a meter maid involves punishing people for parking their cars — usually in a time and place where the very city they represent has not provided enough parking. What kind of job is that? I feel like everybody should have the right to go Lock Stock on traffic wardens.

Well, maybe that’s going a little far. But you should at least be able to scream at them. That’s a position that the state of Michigan fully supports me on…

Michigan State University passed a ridiculous ordinance which made it an offense to “disrupt the normal activity” of a school employee. Apparently, “disruption” includes yelling at a meter maid. In happy first amendment news, the Supreme Court of Michigan found the rule overbroad. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The case stemmed from a confrontation between Jared S. Rapp, who was ticketed for parking his Land Rover at an expired meter, and Ricardo Rego, a parking attendant. When Mr. Rapp vehemently disputed that the meter had expired, shouting and taking pictures of Mr. Rego with his cellphone, the attendant summoned campus police officers.

Mr. Rapp, who is now a lawyer in Illinois, won dismissal of the parking ticket, but he was convicted of violating the ordinance.

Being yelled at seems like something that is totally within the “normal activity” of a parking attendant. Just like being ridiculed, or going home wondering why life turned out so crappy.

In any event, the Michigan Court struck down the MSU ordinance:

The Michigan court called that policy “overbroad” on its face, in that it had been written such that people on the campus could be prosecuted in “seemingly infinite ways.”

Oh yeah, there are infinite ways to taunt a meter maid who is in the process of giving you a ticket. Let’s hope they’re all constitutional.

Michigan State U. Rule Is Struck Down as Violating Free Speech [Chronicle of Higher Education]

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