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Indybay Feature
Mon Dec 20 2010
9th Circuit Mandates New Trial in Free Speech "Nazi Salute" Lawsuit Against City
Court Finds Free-Speech Issue in Nazi Salute
Tim Hull, Courthouse News writes: The 9th Circuit on Wednesday [Dec. 15] revived the First Amendment claim of a man who was kicked out of a Santa Cruz City Council meeting for giving a Nazi salute. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote that a councilman's ensuing "hissy fit" may have disrupted the meeting more than the silent gesture.

Robert Norse was ejected from a Santa Cruz City Council meeting and arrested in 2002 for giving the board a "silent Nazi salute."

A full panel of the Pasadena-based federal appeals court ruled that the district court had failed to give Norse adequate notice and an opportunity to present evidence before dismissing his complaint in 2004.

In a separate, concurring opinion, joined by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, Kozinski said the incident would not have caused any disturbance if Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice had not thrown "a hissy fit."

"Councilman Fitzmaurice clearly wants Norse expelled because the 'Nazi salute' is 'against the dignity of this body and the decorum of this body' and not because of any disruption," Kozinski wrote. "But, unlike der Führer, government officials in America occasionally must tolerate offensive or irritating speech."

imc_pdf.gif imc_video.gif Read more | previous coverage: Jun 28th, 2010 | Mar 12th, 2010 | Nov 21st, 2009 | Apr 12th, 2007 | Dec 3rd, 2004
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