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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Ind. Decisions - "7th Circuit Invalidates Anti-Panhandling Ordinances After Reed v. Town of Gilbert"

The ILB over time has had a number of posts on panhandling ordinances.

Last year, as summarized in this Sept. 26, 2014 ILB post, the 7th Circuit, in the case of Norton v. City of Springfield, Ill., by a 2-1 vote upheld "an ordinance (§131.06 of the Municipal Code) that prohibits panhandling in its 'downtown historic district.'”

On Friday, Aug. 7, the 7th Circuit issued another opinion in Norton v. City of Springfield, on petition for rehearing, reversing its earlier opinion. In the 6-page opinion Judge Easterbrook writes:

Our first decision in this appeal concluded that Springfield’s anti-­panhandling ordi nance does not draw lines based on the content of anyone’s speech. Because the litigants agreed that the ordinance’s va lidity depends on this issue, we affirmed the district court’s decision. 768 F.3d 713 (7th Cir. 2014). We deferred considera tion of the petition for rehearing until the Supreme Court decided Reed v. Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015). Shortly after deciding Reed, the Court remanded Thayer v. Worcester, 755 F.3d 60 (1st Cir. 2014), a panhandling-­ordinance decision on which our first opinion had relied, for further consideration in light of Reed. 135 S. Ct. 2887 (2015). At our request, the parties filed supplemental memoranda discussing Reed. We now grant the petition for rehearing and apply Reed to Springfield’s ordinance. * * *

As we said at the outset, the parties have agreed that the ordinance stands or falls on the answer to the question whether it is a form of content discrimination. Reed requires a positive answer.

The judgment of the district court is reversed, and the case is remanded for the entry of an injunction consistent with Reed and this opinion.

MANION, Circuit Judge, concurring.

I join the opinion of the court in full, but write separately to underscore the significance of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which held that a speech regulation targeted at specific subject matter is content-based even if it does not discriminate among viewpoints within that subject matter. 135 S. Ct. 2218, 2230 (2015).

Here is the SCOTUSblog case page on Reed.

Re Thayer v. City of Worcester (1st Cir), referenced in the 7th Circuit opinion Friday, see this ILB post from Dec. 8, 2014.

Thanks to this August 7th post from Josh Blackman's Blog, both for the heading, and for the analysis, which concludes by pointing out that (Indiana's) Judge Manion, who "wrote a 20-page dissent to the original panel decision * * * was vindicated."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 9, 2015 01:18 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions