Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky (Argument February 28, 2018)
Can the government ban political apparel on clothing at the polls?
Minnesota does. And the Minnesota Voters Alliance says the law violates the First Amendment.
The government is allowed to regulate people's actions if it has a good reason. If the actions regulated are protected rights - constitutional rights - the government must be considerate. It cannot regulate too much.
That's the issue here.
Is Minnesota's law banning all political apparel too much?
Minnesota does have an important interest: maintaining peace at the polls and minimizing voter intimidation. But really, all political insignia on clothing? Is that necessary?
The Supreme Court will be comparing this case to a 1992 case out of Tennessee. In Burson v. Freeman, Tennessee banned any campaigning within 100 feet of the entrance to the voting place. The Supreme Court said the regulation was acceptable in light of Tennessee's interest in maintaining peace.
Let's see if this case is similar to that one, or alternatively, if Minnesota's regulation is too broad. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on February 28, 2018.
- SCOTUSblog (Amy Howe's) Plain English report on the case
- Argument in favor of regulation (J. Gerald Hebert), noting the potential public discord that could result from political apparel at voting places (published on SCOTUSblog).
- Argument against regulation (Rodney Smolla), saying political messaging is inherent in democracy and suggesting the regulation is "silly."