Monday, January 23, 2012

Does Indy's Super Bowl Clean Zone Violate Free Speech Clause of Indiana and U.S. Constitution?

Over at Civil Discourse Now, Mark Small raises the possible unconstitutionality of the "Clean Zone" an ordinance which sharply restricts any type of commercial signage within a mile of the stadium before and after the big game.  If you own a pizza shop and you put a sign in the window to offer a discount to the out of town visitors to our fair city, you're in violation of the City's clean zone ordinance and can be fined.

The "clean zone" is a restriction on commercial speech.  While the courts have allowed more restrictions on commercial than political speech under the First Amendment, Indy's Clean Zone is so restrictive and onerous, I'm not sure it could pass a constitutional challenge.  I could see a contrarian downtown merchant filing for an injunction to get the "clean zone" knocked out for Super Bowl week.

Clearly the clean zone ordinance does not apply to, nor could it, to political speech.  Merchants could erect signs complaining about the clean zone ordinance or the city's subsidies to the big game which now result in the Capital Improvement Board estimating it will lose $800,000.  Some analysts have suggested the figure will be higher.

See other articles I have written on the subject: 

Friday, July 1, 2011, City Decides Agreed-Upon Mile Radius Super Bowl "Clean Zone" Is Not Big Enough; Ordinance Would Grant Licensing Administrator Unlimited Power to Create Clean Zones
Saturday, July 11, 2011, Indianapolis Downtown Businesses: Beware the Super Bowl "Clean Zone" Ordinance

See Pat Andrews of Had Enough Indy's numerous articles on the subject:

Friday, July 1, 2011, Superbowl Ordinance Before City-County Council

Tuesday, July 19, 2011, Superbowl 2012 - What Are They Trying To Hide?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011, Superbowl Ordinance Back At Council Committee Tonight

Saturday, January 14, 2012, Super Bowl Ordinance Should Have Included Review Process

1 comment:

Jon said...

Constitutionality doesn't matter, the fat cats aren't going to allow right or wrong to interfere with their "little game".
And just a point of personal curiosity, does the mayor or the NFL get the use of the mayor's suite at Lucas and if so who pays for the tickets in that suite?