A city’s fine for a profane yard sign about Biden and Trump was unconstitutional, judge rules

Jul 10, 2024, 1:09 PM

President Joe Biden, right, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, le...

President Joe Biden, right, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, left, participate in a presidential debate hosted by CNN, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a Tennessee woman has a constitutional right to post a yard sign with profane language condemning both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Julie Pereira set up a sign in her front yard saying “F— ’Em Both 2024” — except, uncensored. The city of Lakeland, a northeast suburb of Memphis, then fined Pereira hundreds of dollars for violating its regulation against obscene content on signs.

She filed a lawsuit in June, saying she was so dissatisfied with both presidential candidates that she wanted a sign that “speaks simply and cogently for itself.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Norris in Memphis ruled Tuesday that Pereira’s political sign is not obscene, and the city cannot lawfully regulate people’s points of view.

“We are proud to have protected Mrs. Pereira’s right to express her political views and to have achieved a successful outcome in this important First Amendment case,” said Daniel Horwitz, Pereira’s lead attorney.

The judge’s order comes after the city agreed to a settlement paying Pereira about $32,000 for her legal fees and reimbursing nearly $700 in fines.

The city’s regulation prohibits signs with “statements of an obscene, indecent, or immoral character which would offend public morals or decency” and “statements, words or pictures of an obscene nature.”

Initially, Pereira censored her sign as local officials demanded by covering up one letter in the profane word, but within a week she removed the redaction. The city began fining her in January, so she covered up part of the word again to avoid further penalties, according to the lawsuit.

Pereira’s lawsuit said “cuss” words are not constitutionally obscene. The lawsuit — and the judge — pointed to a 1971 Supreme Court decision that overturned the conviction of a man in California who entered a courthouse wearing a jacket with a message against the draft that included profanity.

United States News

Actor Matthew McConaughey speaks at the 2024 summer meeting of the National Governors Association, ...

Associated Press

Actor Matthew McConaughey tells governors he is still mulling future run for political office

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Actor Matthew McConaughey continued to tease he might run for political office to a room full of governors Friday, joshing about drinking his brand of tequila with at least one of them the night before and taking advice from another to be himself if he ever does run. Whether the […]

3 minutes ago

Associated Press

Appeals court makes it harder to disqualify absentee ballots in battleground Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Absentee ballots still count in Wisconsin even if voters’ witnesses fail to give election clerks their full address, a state appeals court has ruled. The decision Thursday by the 4th District Court of Appeals is expected to expand the number of absentee ballots that will be counted in the battleground state […]

25 minutes ago

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper touts Medicaid expansion reaching 500,000 enrollees during a news co...

Associated Press

North Carolina’s Medicaid expansion program has enrolled 500,000 people in just 7 months

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More than 500,000 North Carolina residents have enrolled in the state’s Medicaid expansion program since it went live about seven months ago, officials announced Friday. Gov. Roy Cooper, joined by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley and two health care professionals held a news conference to […]

26 minutes ago

Pre-Columbian artifacts from Mexico are displayed as part of the 'Repatriation and Its Impact' exhi...

Associated Press

Small Nashville museum wants you to know why it is returning artifacts to Mexico

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When Bonnie Seymour took a job as assistant curator of Nashville’s Parthenon museum, one of the first things she did was to look through the collections. Among paintings by American artists and memorabilia from Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition — the event for which the Parthenon was built — she found a […]

30 minutes ago

FILE - U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks before President Joe Biden at the Earth Rider Brewe...

Associated Press

Sen. Klobuchar says she’s cancer-free but will get radiation as precaution after a spot removal

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Friday that she remains cancer-free following her bout with breast cancer in 2021, but doctors recently removed a small calcification and that she’ll get radiation treatment as a precaution. The Minnesota Democrat, who chairs the powerful Rules Committee, was successfully treated for early-stage breast cancer three years […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

An Ohio mom was killed while trying to stop the theft of a car that had her 6-year-old son inside

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio mother who tried to stop two men from stealing her car with her 6-year-old son inside was killed when the vehicle struck her. The boy was unharmed, police said, and no other injuries were reported. Alexa Stakely, 29, of Pickerington, was at an apartment complex in Columbus to pick […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

A city’s fine for a profane yard sign about Biden and Trump was unconstitutional, judge rules