Michigan City Bans “Being Annoying in Public”

Last Thursday, the Brighton (MI) City Council approved a local ordinance that tickets anyone caught annoying others in public “by word of mouth, sign or motions.” This is perhaps one of the most obvious infringements on free speech in this nation’s history. Considering the fact that this Amendment has been incorporated to the states since the 1920’s, can anyone please inform me on how this does not violate the First Amendment which reads-

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This ordinance obviously violates the free speech clause and also to a lesser extent the free association clause. Also the idea of “annoying speech” is so incredibly subjective that it can mean any speech, thus giving the executive (police) the complete and total fiat of determining what speech is acceptable for the community. The Hot Air blog (usually not the bastion of free speech) pointed out thoughts similar to mine-

Michigan finds itself in such financial distress that its Congressional contingent has successfully harangued the White House into multi-billion-dollar loans to private enterprise.  I find that extremely annoying.  Do we get to issue citations to the entire state of Michigan now?  Considering the economic mess the state government has created in that state, what they need is more annoying speech, not less, especially if it annoys the current power structure.

If my understanding of human nature is correct then this ordinance will actually incite normally un-annoying individuals (I think I am in this category—at least usually) to become annoying in public as a means of protesting this absurd infringements on the rights of man.

Further Reading-

Why Free Speech Matters

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Texas Woman Visited by the “Thought Police”

Poppy Seed Beer = 7 Years in Jail? Muffins Next?


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.