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The Nation

Judge Clears Sidewalk Book Sales

June 18, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the city's ban on sidewalk book sales violates the 1st Amendment.

New Orleans had denied a permit to two would-be booksellers, who then took the city to court. The decision forces New Orleans to let Josh Wexler and Anne Jordan Blanton set up shop on city sidewalks.

"It has long been settled that the sale or distribution of literature in a public sidewalk is protected speech," U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. wrote.

"We're very glad to be finally vindicated after a couple of years fighting about this," Wexler said.

The city probably will change the law to allow the book sales, said Patrick Evans, a spokesman for Mayor Ray Nagin.

Wexler and Blanton filed the suit after officials refused to issue a permit because of a law that prohibits the sidewalk sale of all but a few items.

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