Phoenix, Arizona, Says City Bus Benches Are Only For Commercial Transactions

...and apparently thinks connecting gun users with marksmanship trainers isn't quite commercial enough. And now the Goldwater Institute in Arizona is suing. The details, from a Goldwater Institute press release:

Today, the Goldwater Institute filed a legal challenge to the removal of a business advertisement from 50 Phoenix bus shelters in October 2010, claiming the city’s rules are so vague that they allow city officials to violate business owners’ right to free speech.

The Phoenix Public Transit Department says posters for a website operated by TrainMeAz did not comply with city standards for advertising at bus shelters. But city officials cannot explain how the TrainMeAZ ads are substantially different than posters that appear on bus stops throughout the city for other businesses including jewelry stores, fast-food restaurants, and weekend gun shows, said Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute’s litigation director.....

The Arizona Constitution protects free expression to a greater degree than the federal Constitution – it gives every person in the state the right to “freely speak, write and publish.” But the City’s ordinance permits only commercial speech at bus stops, prohibiting all other types of advertisements. This doesn’t comply with the state’s broad speech protections. In Arizona, the government may not favor one type of speech over other types.

The TrainMeAz website was created in 2010 to connect self-defense and marksmanship trainers with potential customers. To grow the new business, the website launched a promotion campaign that included roadside billboards. It also contracted for poster locations with CBS Outdoors, a private company hired by the Phoenix transit department to manage advertising at city bus stops. A week after the bus stop ads were in place, Phoenix transit officials ordered their removal. Negotiations to restore the ads failed, as the city claimed the posters did not propose “a commercial transaction.”

Jacob Sullum on the city of Boston's attempts to bar drug policy reform ads on its public transportation system back in 2002.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    the city claimed the posters did not propose “a commercial transaction.”

    Which prevents people from engaging in commerce, so...economic inactivity...COMMERCE CLAUSE, bitches!

    (Double-edged swords, how the fuck do they work?)

  • ||

    ...last I saw this suit is taking place in state court...not really sure what this has to do with INTERSTATE COMMERCE, and how that would apply.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I don't know. Ask the Supreme Court and the Justice Department about that interpretation.

  • ||

    Art! You're back, dude! How goes things?

  • SCOTUS||

    Because.. if you get trained in Arizona, that means you wont train in another state. THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE OTHER STATES! OMG INTERSTATE COMMERCE!

  • ||

    Wait, so the March of Dimes and Salvation Army aren't allowed to advertise at bus stops either? That's ridiculous.

  • Tulpa Minutes Hate ||

    "Wait, so the March of Dimes and Salvation Army aren't allowed to advertise at bus stops either? That's ridiculous."

    Fuck you and your statist shit.

    Go crawl back under the Obama rock you came from.

  • ||

    The irony of being condemned as a statist for -- as I usually do -- arguing against an arbitrary exercise of state power, is pretty ironic.

  • LarryA||

    People have been paying me to teach them to shoot for 25 years now. It sure feels like "commerce."

  • Dick Cheney||

    Larry Arnold taught me everything I know ;-)

  • ||

    so mean

  • The real Dick Cheney||

    Please! I even laughed

  • LarryA||

    Given that Mr. Cheney didn't leave the scene, got his friend medical help before calling his PR people, and took responsibility for his actions, I'd take him as a student.

    Shooting sports are still among the safest you can participate in.

  • rather||

    I might just show up for lessons. Can I use a blow-up of epi for a target?

  • rather||

    or just epi

  • Ted S.||

    On the bright side, if it's not commerce, you don't have to pay taxes on it. ;-)

  • ||

    How do you figure?

  • ||

    A Phoenix Public Transport official was quoted as saying, "but guns are icky!"

    -jcr

  • Robert||

    And gun showsN/b> aren't?

  • ||

    the obviouse solution is to sell the transit system and all its bus stops to a private firm...

    or something....

  • johnl||

    I would be surprised if that Clear Channel Outdoors or someone like that doesn't already own the concession.

  • ||

    the obviouse solution is to sell the transit system and all its bus stops to a private firm...

    ...because private corporations respect free speech rights.

  • ||

    the obviouse solution is to sell the transit system and all its bus stops to a private firm...

    ...because private corporations respect gun rights (or does the Second Amendment keep them in check too?)

  • Tom Walls||

    Well, if they had abbreviated Arizona correctly they might have gotten somewhere. Everyone knows it's Ariz., not "AZ"

  • Almanian||

    +2

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Everyone knows Arizona free speech was not designed to protect anything that deals with something as yucky as guns, business-related or not.

    Plus, Phoenix city government bought and owns those bus shelters so anything put on them people might think government endorses and government certainly doesn't condone people learning to shoot straight.

  • Res Publica Americana||

    Yes, and that stems from the simple fact that guns kill people, more guns is more crime, and government is just looking out for the little guy.

    This is the same ball-gobbling crowd that thinks angbangers are just misunderstood kids with bad childhoods we should release from their sentences three years into incarceration for murder.

    And why the fuck are governments permitted to operate transportation? Private companies, fucking NOW.

  • Robert||

    Are all of you missing the detail above that says they do take ads for gun shows? So it's not like they're against guns, just against shooting straight...or something. Looks like somebody's not shooting straight, huh? Just some idiosyncrasy.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They have done gun show ads in the past, but are they still approving those, or has the something changed? Perhaps new decisionmakers?

    I realize the ads were pulled before Tucson so that can't be it, but I have a difficult time believing that the bureaucracy is being that arbitrary in wielding its power.

  • Robert||

    I have no trouble believing that at all. It could be just that someone there doesn't like this one person.

  • ||

    I have a difficult time believing that the bureaucracy is being that arbitrary in wielding its power.

    Isn't that the whole point of becoming a bureaucrat?

  • JSinAZ||

    I saw the ad for a gun show that I recently attended on a bus stop in a nearby Phoenix exurb, and this was after the Tucson shooting.

  • ||

    There has got to be a way to hold individual officials accountable for such egregious abuse of their power. By "hold accountable" I mean personal fines or jail time.

  • ||

    Sure, now feel free to find an AD who agrees with you...I'll wait...

  • ||

    Wow, I never thought about it like that before.

    www.anon-toolz.se.tc

  • Almanian||

    Oh, Anon Bot - your capacity for learning seems limitless!

    I am impress

  • Name Nomad||

    Threadjack:

    Libertarians are certainly used to the ROADS and SOMALIA memes. For another old favorite, it looks like Gingrich is the first this election cycle to pull the trusty "this election is the most important since..." card out of the stack.

  • Jerry||

    His tax plan is not that bad. Let's see if Daniels can do even better.

  • Oriom girls||

    So Gingrich wants to free slaves, and prevent a Federation Civil War. WTF, is your problem Name Nomad?

  • ||

    "Libertarians are certainly used to the ROADS and SOMALIA memes."

    As opposed to the CONCENTRATION CAMPS! memes that emanate from libertarians...

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Not all memes were made equal.

  • air max pas cher||

    huhu

  • ||

    Jacob Sullum on the city of Boston's attempts to bar drug policy reform ads on its public transportation system back in 2002.

    Hey Boston, look, I'm doing this as hard as I can. (both moonfingers too)

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Another isolated incident. 71 shots in 7 seconds. Former Marine with 2 tours in Iraq killed with wife and young child hiding in the closet. Then the cops refused to call an ambulance when there might have been a chance for him to survive.

    DARE officer arrested for over 150 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Of course the report only mentions that the accused is a DARE officer as an afterthought as if it has no bearing on the case.

  • Oriom girls||

    "We had just bought a home and he was working graveyard shifts and overtime just to help pay the bills, we were just starting to make this house our home," Vanessa Guerena said

    You would think that if they 'knew' the family's 5-year-old son was at school that morning and deputies say they thought Guerena's wife and his other child would also be gone when they entered the home they would realize drug dealers don't need to work overtime and nightshifts to make more cash

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Fucking basic logic, how does it work?

  • LarryA||

    The Pima County Regional SWAT team fired 71 shots in seven seconds at a Tucson man they say pointed a gun at officers serving a search warrant at his home.

    71 shots/5 SWAT members=14+rounds/cop. Obviously they were using "assault clips." Cue the Brady folks in 3...2...1...

    Oh, wait.

  • ||

    The department says SWAT members were clear when identifying themselves while entering the home.

    "Tucson is notorious for home invasions and we didn't want to look like that," said Lt. Michael O'Connor of the Pima County Sheriff's Department. "We went lights and sirens and we absolutely did not do a 'no-knock' warrant."

    And yet, my immediate assumption is that this is a lie.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    That's because it very likely is.

  • ||

    Why aren't security cameras standard on new houses?

    "it's in an excellent neighborhood, and has built-in cameras linked to an offsite repository."

    "We'll take it."

  • ||

    (obviously the cameras only point where the tenants want them to....ugh, ok, nevermind, it's a horrible idea.)

  • Rick Gozinia||

    Phoenix Public Transit are friends of the the TrainMeAz folks, clearly. They understand better than anyone that advertising to bus riders that don't exist is a waste of their ad money.

  • Robert||

    The bus stop is just a convenient and fairly prominent place for a billboard. There don't have to be any bus riders there for it to be seen. In fact, people waiting for the bus tend to block the view of the sign.

  • SIV||

  • ||

    http://dailypundit.com/?p=41322 He apparently appointed the judge in the "no right to resist the police" case. I have never liked Daniels. He always struck me as a technocratic asshole. I never got the love he gets on here.

  • SIV||

    Welch's post quotes David Bernstein identifying Daniels as some sort of "libertarian-Republican". Reminded me of the Dondero-spoofs here last election. I really hope the GOP primary contest boils down to Cain, Paul and Bachmann just to watch the GOP establishment squirm.

  • ||

    I hope so to. I hate the Republican establishment. They are just as big of assholes as the DNC establishment.

  • ||

    Oh come on. I'm all for prohibiting prosecution of residents who resist police officers entering their home if there's reason to believe they didn't know they were police officers. That would be a wonderful incentive for departments to stop using no-knock raids.

    But handing out a blanket right to shoot cops if every i isn't dotted on the warrant? That's a recipe for chaos.

  • ||

    You say that like it is a bad thing. But if a cop comes on my property and I try to stop him and it turns out I am right and he was wrong, I haven't committed a crime. He has. The court is saying that if a cop shows up at your house and tries to enter, you have to let him in no matter how wrong he is. That is bullshit.

  • ||

    What precisely is the cop's motivation for trying to enter without a warrant or probable cause? Any evidence discovered is going to be inadmissible in court.

    Perhaps my prosecution prohibition could also cover situations where the intruder is known to be a police officer, but they have refused to leave even after it's become clear they have no lawful reason to be there. It would be messy to write, I know. But a blanket right to shoot cops in the presence of even the slightest irregularity is not the answer.

  • ||

    What precisely is the cop's motivation for trying to enter without a warrant or probable cause?

    I can think of any number of reasons.

    But a blanket right to shoot cops in the presence of even the slightest irregularity is not the answer.

    Then its a good thing that's not what anyone is proposing.

  • SIV||

    Code 3! Strawman down!

  • ||

    I can think of any number of reasons.

    In that case giving a specific one shouldn't be hard.

    Then its a good thing that's not what anyone is proposing.

    If the address is typed wrong on the warrant, for instance, the search is illegal.

    SIV and John favor a right to resist police during an illegal search.

    So, they are arguing that mistyped address --> right to resist. As a good home defender, how do you suggest one resist an armed intruder who refuses to leave and against whom the police will not help you?

  • tarran||

    There was a state trooper who was a serial killer. He used to kidnap pretty blonde women, rape them and murder them, while in uniform.

    There was a woman in Columbus who had two guys posing as FBI agents with a warrant who murdered her after she let them in (she was suspicious enough to call 911 before her fear of the FBI overwhelmed her common sense).

    There are cases where police break into the wrong home, and then attempt to charge the home owner for defending himself. If the police were to find themselves facing the same consequences as a non-cop would for showing up armed and trying to break into someone's home, one might see them resorting to fewer SWAT team raids, and engaging more of the knocking on the door an presenting the home-owner with a piece of paper.

  • ||

    And of course, closing the door in someone's face isn't a prosecutable offense, so you don't have to let a cop into your house in that situation.

    If he wants to crawl in through the window or kick open the door, that's the end of his career if he doesn't have a warrant.

  • ||

    I think it is under the Indiana decision. That is what is so outragous. If you resist, you are obstructing a police officer and guilty of a crime.

  • ||

    Only if the cop has a plausible warrant.

    If the "trying to enter" that you refer to is anything other than ringing the doorbell and saying "let me in" when you open the door, that cop is fucked if he doesn't have a warrant.

  • ||

    No under that decision. If the cop doesn't have a warrent, rings your doorbell, and says "let me in" and you don't let him in, you are guilty of obstructing a police officer. The Court said you should always let a cop in and you are criminally in the wrong if you don't. Your remedy is in court later, not there. That is bullshit.

  • Xenocles||

    As I said over at Balko's place, it's conceivable that a cop could unlawfully force his way in, provoke a reaction that could be interpreted as resistance, make an arrest, and then be entitled to search the house as part of the arrest. This decision really closes the circle.

  • ||

    Once he unlawfully forces his way in it's over. Nothing from that point forward is admissible.

  • ||

    I mean, the logic you present would mean that, even in the absence of this decision, a cop could present an invalid warrant to the home occupant and proceed to ask if he could search the house. When the occupant consents (thinking he has no choice in the matter anyway due to the warrant) then the search would, by your argument, be considered a consensual search and thus be admissible even though the warrant was invalid.

  • Xenocles||

    "I mean, the logic you present would mean that, even in the absence of this decision, a cop could present an invalid warrant to the home occupant and proceed to ask if he could search the house."

    But this was always true. Cops have been allowed to lie in the course of an investigation for some time now; using a fake warrant to search isn't allowed but I believe using a fake warrant to secure consent would be. (This is why you always make your lack of consent known.)

    My point was that since it has been upheld that police can search your home following your arrest outside the home, it follows that the product of a search following a lawful arrest inside the home would be admissible. Under the Indiana ruling, a lawful arrest can follow an unlawful entry. All they need to do is claim you were resisting. Having seen what passes for resistance in the eyes of the judiciary, one might reasonably conclude that search warrants are longer needed for inhabited homes.

  • ||

    Show me a case where an officer used a fake warrant to obtain permission to search and the search was upheld as lawful.

  • Xenocles||

    I know of no such case testing the question. But some people seem to think it's a reasonable possibility that a cop could come up to you with no warrant, say "I have a warrant, do you consent to me searching your house?" and if you say yes, the search would be legal. Naturally if you decline and they do it anyway, it would not be upheld. Since they can threaten to arrest you in an attempt to obtain consent, it doesn't seem to be a big stretch.

    I do wish you'd comment on my original premise. Do you deny that under this ruling, an unlawful entry could easily become a legal arrest and search? If so, why?

  • ||

    I know of no such case testing the question. But some people seem to think it's a reasonable possibility that a cop could come up to you with no warrant, say "I have a warrant, do you consent to me searching your house?" and if you say yes, the search would be legal.

    So what you're saying is, that cops can already search without a warrant. So there's no point busting through a window and provoking resistance when you can just lie about having a warrant (or as in my scenario, simply present a fake one that the home occupant couldn't possibly know was fake).

    Do you deny that under this ruling, an unlawful entry could easily become a legal arrest and search? If so, why?

    I already stated that once unlawful entry is committed, even getting a valid warrant afterward should not make a subsequent search legal. I vaguely recall this being addressed by a court.

    In fact, if prior unlawful entry is no impediment to a lawful search, how come police don't just bust into homes when no one is there and look for drug paraphernalia, then go get a warrant based on a different bullshit reason, then come back and do a "lawful search" with the warrant later?

  • Xenocles||

    I do wish you would respond to what I say instead of your misunderstanding of it.

    Point one: I never said police could legally search at will with no warrant. I said they could pretend they had one in order to trick you into consenting. If you give consent the search is automatically legal.

    Point 2: As I said, the technique I described only works if you're there to provide resistance and be arrested. The search would be justified by the arrest, not by a retroactive warrant.

    Don't assume police won't push the boundaries. It's worked much too well for them so far.

  • ||

    I never said police could legally search at will with no warrant. I said they could pretend they had one in order to trick you into consenting. If you give consent the search is automatically legal.

    Wait, didn't you say that had never been tested in the courts? In any case, you're not addressing my contention that they can show a FAKE warrant that the homeowner cannot possibly know is fake. You keep going back to the scenario where the officer claims to have a warrant and the homeowner foolishly doesn't ask to see it; in that scenario I could see the court saying it's the same as a cop simply verbally lying, as opposed to showing a falsified court document, which I suspect the court would frown on to a greater degree.

    Your main point seems to be that this decision allows police to make an end run around the usual process of justifying a search. Correct? Or is this a misunderstanding?

    It follows that the fact that they already have a much easier end run available even without this decision would seem to be a relevant piece of information, no?

  • Xenocles||

    You can't "just lie" about having a warrant; the suspect would still have to give consent in that case. The lie is just a vehicle to obtain that consent. Obviously they wouldn't show a false warrant; why risk that when showing a real warrant isn't even required? That's not new, and while scummy it's not an illegal entry or an illegal search. It's just a citizen being duped by a cop.

    "It would be an arrest that directly resulted from the unlawful entry, so a search so justified would attract great suspicion in the courts. "

    Hello? That's what this decision wipes out. Cops are already allowed wide latitude to search subsequent to arrest. What reason do we have to believe that a search following one of these new arrests would be thrown out? If the arrest is legit, what do the circumstances leading up to it matter?

    Let's go back to the fake warrant idea for a second. Say you crack open the door to talk to the cop who wants to search. After discussing it, you make it clear you don't consent. He then tries to push open the door and you push back. You are now guilty of battery against a police officer! He subdues you and proceeds to search your house. The Indiana ruling provides the legal cover for the arrest; already existing rulings provide the cover for the search. Think the DA will prosecute the cop who just provided him with a case against you?

  • ||

    As I said, the technique I described only works if you're there to provide resistance and be arrested. The search would be justified by the arrest, not by a retroactive warrant.

    It would be an arrest that directly resulted from the unlawful entry, so a search so justified would attract great suspicion in the courts. Of course, even without the "resistance" decision, an officer could break in, see you smoking a bong, arrest you for possession of drug paraphernalia, and then go searching for your stash with just as much justification as he would have if you resisted.

  • Xenocles||

    Perhaps in a courtroom before the Indiana ruling what you say might be true. Now there are precedents legitimizing both the arrest and the search following it, so your presumption of juducial suspicion is worthless. Pull your head out of the sand and look at the real implications of the ruling, not your belief about the way things should be.

  • SIV||

  • ||

    And that judge apparently made a bunch of statements about evil GUITMO is and how every terrorist deserves a federal trial. So Daniels has in that one appointment managed to mortally offend both wings of the Republican party. What a douchebag.

  • SIV||

    The case in question:

    Indiana says shitting on the constitution isn't enough.
    Court overturns Magna Carta

  • Skonkeye||

    "modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence"

    Ha

  • sevo||

    Just 'cuz there's no edu-funding thread going doesn't mean you have to pass up amusement.
    If we cut funding, why THE CHILDRUNZ might not get break-dancing lessons (no, seriously!):
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....462251.jpg

  • ||

    My God those people are stupid.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Is there seriously no way to shove CA to sea?

    There is nothing I hate more than indoctrinating children via political protest. Let them make up their own fucking minds, you statist trolls.

  • sevo||

    mad libertarian guy|5.14.11 @ 2:45PM|#
    "There is nothing I hate more than indoctrinating children via political protest."

    One of them should be holding a sign saying:
    "Your tax dollars at work!"

  • DanD||

    Oh man, I love this headline:

    Obama announces steps to speed up US oil production.

    Yep, our government is going to speed up oil production and take charge to lower oil prices and save us all. Clearly no one in the private sector had any desire or means to increase oil production before this bright idea came forth.

    Ugh.

  • Somalian Road Corporation||

    Sure, comrade, maybe the last few Five Year Plans didn't turn out so well as presented, but trust us, the next one will be a corker!

  • ||

    What precisely is the cop's motivation for trying to enter without a warrant or probable cause? Any evidence discovered is going to be inadmissible in court.

    You've been watching Dragnet again, haven't you?

  • ||

    But handing out a blanket right to shoot cops if every i isn't dotted on the warrant?

    Fucking RTFA- how does it work?

  • ||

    Fucking following things to their logical conclusion--how does it work?

  • PantsFan||

    Did the GWI give up on their campaign to stop the bailout of the Coyotes?

  • MNG||

    I.M.F. Head Is Arrested and Accused of Sexual Attack

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05.....l?_r=1&hp;

  • SIV||

    Tulpa could've told the maid "just lie back and pretend he is a cop".

  • SIV||

    NY Post has more gratuitous detail

    or try Zero Hedge

  • MNG||

    Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten?

    As competition in education has spread down, the tutoring industry has followed...PARENTS pay $200 to $300 a month for their 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-year-old to spend up to an hour twice weekly being tutored at a Junior Kumon center — 20 to 30 minutes each on reading and math. Children are then expected to do 20 minutes of homework on each subject every day, with their parents guiding and grading them...“The best you can say is that they’re useless,” said Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who compared the escalation of supplemental education with Irish elk competing to see which had the biggest antlers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05.....n.html?hpw

  • sevo||

    “The best you can say is that they’re useless,” said Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley,"

    To quote a third-party ignoramus.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The Times will talk badly about this until there's a federal initiative to publicly fund these 2 year olds in order to promote fairness to lower income chillunz, then it'll be necessary for the welfare of our nation.

  • sevo||

    mad libertarian guy|5.14.11 @ 9:39PM|#
    "The Times will talk badly about this until there's a federal initiative to publicly fund these 2 year olds in order to promote fairness to lower income chillunz, then it'll be necessary for the welfare of our nation."

    There already is; Head Start. According to the government and the various rent gainers, it's worth the tax money spent on it.
    It's only when parents spend their own money that it becomes 'worthless'.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Got it.

    People spending their own money of their own volition = worthless.

    People being forced to give money in the form of taxes because some suit in DC says so = vital to the health of the nation.

  • SIV||

    What kind of sadistic monster sends a two year old to school?

  • SIV||

    I'm really happy the Huckster decided to pass. This clears the way for a Bachmann Blitzkrieg through a very front-loaded primary. Run Michele Run!

  • Michele||

    In my undies?

  • ||

    I guess even if you are the head of the IMF, it's still illegal to sodomize a housekeeper in NYC.

    C'est incroyable!

  • rather ||

    I'm sure will hear he's pulled this before

  • ||

    lol, the entire state of AZ is on crack I think.

    www.anon-toolz.se.tc

  • ||

    www.fivefingersoutlet2011.com

    five fingers outlet 2011,vibram five fingers,five finger,vibram fingers,vibram,5 fingers,vibram 5 fingers

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement