A New Jersey woman has won an appeal to keep her ‘F**k Biden’ banner just over a week after a local judge ordered her to remove them or face a $250-a-day fine.
Andrea Dick, 54, hung 10 pro-Trump signs on her Roselle Park home, where she lives with her mom, that included the former president extending two middle fingers over the words ‘F**k Biden’.
Early last week, Municipal Court Judge Gary Bundy ordered Dick to take down three of the 10 signs or face a daily fine of $250 because they violated local public obscenity laws.
But Judge Bundy’s ruling was vacated by the state’s Supreme Court on Tuesday after the ACLU got involved and warned that Bundy’s edict violated Dick’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
The civil liberties organization challenged the original ruling, with New Jersey’s Supreme Court agreeing.
Two of the signs that got Andrea Dick in hot water are pictured – both of which display the phrase ‘F**k Biden’
Pro-Trump supporter Andrea Dick told The New York Times that she feels ‘amazing’ after the New Jersey Supreme Court sided with her and said forcing her to remove her signs infringed on her First Amendment rights
‘I feel amazing,’ Dick told The New York Times after the New Jersey supreme court vacated the local judge’s order. ‘I’m glad it’s over’
‘I feel amazing,’ Dick told The New York Times. ‘I’m glad it’s over.’
Tensions have been high in Roselle Park – a town of about 14,000 22 miles outside of Manhattan – since Dick erected the banners on Memorial Day over her continued refusal to accept Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
As the issue gained more press attention, she received more threatening calls and at hate mail from as far away as California, North Carolina and Texas.
ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha said in a statement that the First Amendment exists ‘specifically to make sure people can express strong opinions on political issues – or any other matter – without fear of punishment by the government’ and this decision confirms that.
‘Roselle Park had no grounds to issue fines for a political sign and the town’s use of its obscenity ordinance infringed upon fundamental rights protected by the First Amendment. It was an uncomplicated case.’
The banners have been hanging on the Roselle Park home since May but they riled up neighbors who took offense to the profanity and the close proximity of Dick’s home to a school.
In a statement to the New York Times, Jarrid H. Kantor, the borough attorney, said Roselle Park stood by the summons and agreed with Judge Bundy’s decision but ongoing litigation will bring unwarranted attention and taxpayer money.
Mayor Joseph Signorello III, a Democrat, told The Times it was a ‘moral loss’ for Roselle Park, saying the signs are ‘offensive.’
‘You cannot legislate decency,’ the mayor said, ‘and I think that’s a sad reality.’
Dick hangs a 2020 Trump sign on her car parked in the driveway of her Roselle Park home
Dick is a diehard Trump supporter with signs and banners all over her home and car
ACLU-NJ challenged the local judge’s order to remove the signs and won. This is the ACLU’s full statement
Fellow Trump supporters stand with Andrea Dick and her right to display Trump banners on her property in New Jersey
This isn’t the first instance of a community fractured by profanity-laced political statements.
In early July, Dwayne Cole – the mayor of Munford, Tennessee – said a city resident flying a flag that read ‘f**k Biden and f**k you for voting for him’ was protected speech but a similar yard sign would violate local laws and have to be removed.
In March, a Jackson, Michigan, resident began flying a similarly profane flag.
While some courts dislike adults exposing kids to profanity, the non-sexual context of the f-word upon the flag may keep judges from interpreting the message as obscene, Northern Kentucky University law professor Ken Katkin told The Washington Examiner.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, a man named Jim Greenawalt flew the same flag from his own front porch and was allowed to keep it up due to freedom of speech, YourErie.com reported. Both Greenawalt and the Munford man have no plans of removing their flags.
A lawyer told the aforementioned website that Greenawalt’s flag is legal as long as it doesn’t impede municipal functions or incite violence through hate speech.