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Indiana University Student Sues City Over Rejected Proposal for ‘All Lives Matter’ Mural

Indiana University Student Sues City Over Rejected Proposal for ‘All Lives Matter’ Mural

“lawsuit claims the city refused the proposal because officials disagreed with the mural’s message”

This is a perfect example of why the left fears free speech. If the playing field was even, this mural wouldn’t be an issue.

The Herald Times reports:

IU student sues Bloomington over ‘All Lives Matter’ mural rejection, alleges discrimination

An Indiana University student is suing Bloomington, alleging city officials did not allow a conservative mural to be painted on a city street.

Kyle Reynolds, IU student and campus coordinator for Turning Point USA, is claiming discrimination by city personnel within the public works department, saying they would not approve an All Lives Matter mural after previously approving Black Lives Matter street paintings.

The 15-by-145-foot mural was proposed for East Kirkwood Avenue, in front of the Von Lee building and near IU’s iconic Sample Gates. The art would feature the phrase, “All Lives Matter” with thin blue and red lines, representing support for first responders.

The lawsuit claims the city refused the proposal because officials disagreed with the mural’s message. This rejection has prevented the conservative student organization from “communicating their message” in a highly visible area of the community, according to the complaint.

Both Reynolds and the IU chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative youth organization, are listed as the plaintiffs in the case.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants engaged in viewpoint discrimination, violating the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Viewpoint discrimination happens when a governmental regulation restricts expression based specifically on the ideology, opinion or perspective of the message.

The plaintiffs are also alleging violations of Indiana’s Constitution such as the right to speak, write or print on any subject. The lawsuit cites the state Constitution’s guarantee that all citizens will be equally granted the same privileges or immunities.

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Comments

The city’s defense will be that the BLM so-called “mural” (I don’t care how many people make this mistake, if it’s on the ground it’s not a mural) is the city’s own speech, not something it’s allowing someone else to say, and therefore it does not have to say things it doesn’t agree with.

It is undisputed black letter law that governments, like everyone else, are entitled to have their own opinions, and to express them, and need not express contrary opinions. So if the streets are not a public forum on which anyone can paint whatever they like, but are instead a medium the city reserves for its own use, then the student has no case.

Only if the city has a program where it allows people to use its streets to express their own messages, must it treat all applicants equally, no matter what message they want to convey.

The clearest demonstration of this distinction can be seen in the Supreme Court rulings on custom license plate numbers and specialty plates. Custom numbers are the driver’s own speech, and so the state can’t refuse to issue a number that says something it disagrees with. But specialty plates are the state’s own speech, so it can limit them to those expressing messages the state agrees with, or at least ones it doesn’t actively disagree with.