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National Briefing / ARIZONA

'Bush Lied' T-shirt is cleared

August 21, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A federal judge barred the state from prosecuting an online merchant who sells shirts that list names of thousands of troops killed in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake did not strike down the 2007 law against selling products that use military casualties' names without families' permission. But he ruled that using the law to prosecute Dan Frazier would violate the Flagstaff man's 1st Amendment rights because his "Bush Lied -- They Died" shirts are "core political speech."

"It is impossible to separate the political from the commercial aspects of that display," Wake wrote. "For example, the state argues that Frazier can sell his shirts without displaying the soldiers' names. But Frazier's product is his message, and his customers' message."

Arizona's law was enacted with little debate, and Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas have enacted similar laws.

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