City of Brentwood Wins Legal Battle Against The Contributor
by Emily Luxen
BRENTWOOD, Tenn.- The city of Brentwood is the winner in a legal battle against the American Civil Liberties Union and Nashville's homeless newspaper The Contributor.
A U.S. District Court ruled the vendors for the newspaper are violating a Brentwood city ordinance, and can no longer sell papers in city limits.
Brentwood officials said the ruling has been well-received in the city.
"The purpose of the ordinance all along was to deal with traffic and safety," said Brentwood City Attorney Roger Horner. "I think people here know what the real issue was."
The ordinance at the center of the case prohibits people from going out into the street to sell or distribute newspapers or other materials. It also prohibits people from distributing on the sidewalk or alongside the road and reaching out into the street to sell or distribute newspapers to people who are in cars. It was enacted in 1969, but was recently revised in 2011.
However, the ACLU's cooperating attorney argued the ordinance was unconstitutional and violates the newspaper's first amendment rights.
"We thought we had a good argument and a good set of facts," said Irwin Venick, the Cooperating Attorney for the ACLU, "Obviously, our client is disappointed."
The ACLU has 30 days to file an appeal. Venick said Wednesday they are still reviewing the case and haven't made a decision.
The city of Brentwood will continue to uphold the city ordinance. All vendors inside city limits could be fined up to $50.
Wednesday also marked The Contributor's five year anniversary.