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Pennsylvania Township’s ‘Thin Blue Line’ Flag Ban Deemed Unconstitutional

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Clear Facts

  • A Pennsylvania township’s ban on the ‘thin blue line’ flag has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.
  • The flag was banned earlier this year for causing “discontent and distrust” in the community against police.
  • District Judge Karen Marston ruled that barring the flag would be going against First Amendment-protected rights.

A Pennsylvania community’s prohibition on displaying the American flag with a thin blue line, supporting law enforcement, has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. Located roughly 15 miles outside of Philadelphia, Springfield Township prohibited the use of the ‘thin blue line’ flag earlier this year, stating it was causing “discontent and distrust” in the community against police, according to Fox News.

However, District Judge Karen Marston ruled that barring the flag would be going against First Amendment-protected rights.

“The Township repeatedly suggests that the ‘Thin Blue Line’ American Flag is of limited, if any, public value or concern because it is ‘offensive’ and ‘racist,’” Marston wrote in the court opinion.

“But as this Court previously told the Township, ‘the First Amendment protects speech even when it is considered ‘offensive.’”

Tensions within the community over the flag began in 2021 after the city’s police union voted to incorporate the flag into its logo. While some residents and community leaders saw the move as solidarity and support to police, others found it to be racist and hateful towards minorities, according to CBS News.

The union eventually denied a request by township commissioners, turning down an offering of up to $10,000 to change the logo. However, after the union had refused an effort to change the logo, the commissioners adopted a policy barring on-duty or representing township employees, agents, or consultants from displaying the flag.

Marston had noted within the court opinion that while the township conduct “at times” bordered “unprofessional,” she conceded that the flag nevertheless “carries racist undertones to certain members of the community.”

“And unfortunately, it appears that the morale of the police department, the same department that the Township previously acknowledged was ‘well-respected,’ has taken a significant toll from the repeated assertions that the police officers— and not merely the Flag—are racist,” Marston added.

An attorney representing the police officer, Wally Zimolong, applauded the court’s ruling, calling it a win for “free speech” and showing how the government “cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination” based on personal opinions of what is offensive or disagreeable, according to Fox News.

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Clear Thoughts

The federal court’s ruling against Springfield Township’s ‘thin blue line’ flag ban is a victory for free speech and the First Amendment. While the flag may carry racist undertones for some, the government has no right to engage in viewpoint discrimination.

This case highlights the importance of protecting our constitutional rights, even when dealing with controversial symbols. The court’s decision should serve as a reminder that our freedoms must be preserved, even in the face of disagreement and tension.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Don

    November 17, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    Anything and everything can be racist if you look for it. I long for the days when everyone got along and weren’t looking for something to complain about.

  2. Bobby

    November 18, 2023 at 10:17 am

    Everything a leftist doesn’t like it seems is Racist. I guess next police cars and uniforms will be racist.
    We’re coming up on Black Friday . Maybe that’s Racist because that’s the day us white folks had the Slave Sales !

  3. Margie

    November 18, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Is it okay to fly a pride flag or a Palestinian flag ?

  4. Mathew Molk

    November 18, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    Anybody that sees the “blue line” flag as racist has no business in my country. Boot them out and let them see what racism really is. North Korea would be a good place for them. –

    There is no question that the collage boys of today are a far cry from “Mike the Cop” of days of yore that everybody on his beat knew and loved and could be counted on the kelp you no matter what. These kids today might be stand offish and and some times unfriendly but they are still cops and deserve respect of the community and to not be second class citizens and denied first amendment rights. –

    And 20 bucks says you will not find one single “racist” thing this small town Police department ever did and the complainants are all criminals that got arrested for breaking the law. ,,,, and would prefer the palistinian flag flying all over the place instead of even Old Glory.

    Let the coppers have the flag they want. I hope every citizen honest goes out and buys and flys a blue line flag. – Hey, that will make it easy to see where the crooks and thugs “stay”, Right?

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