Banning Masks for Anons in NYC is Unconstitutional
- The NY 1845 anti-mask wearing ordinance is unconstitutional as applied to Anons using the mask as their sole common symbol. The case the State relies upon for the constitutionality of their statute is Church of the American Knights of the KKK v. Kerik 356 F.3d 197 (2d. Cir. 2004) and the ruling would lead to different results with Anonymous than it did with the KKK.
- Therefore, the law law is unconstitutional as applied to Anonymous for the following reason: the 1845 ordinance, as applied to the KKK was not unduly burdensome because the robes and hoods clearly identified them as the KKK, thus making the mask portion of their garb superfluous. Anonymous, on the other hand, is defined solely by their masks. The masks are part and parcel to the identity of the speech that Anonymous seeks to engage in. That wasn't so with the KKK. They were otherwise identified. Accordingly, the 1845 statute is unconstitutional as applied to Anonymous, as it is not the least restrictive means of acheiving the state interest, and is not narrowly tailored to an important and legitimate government goal.
- The Guy Fawkes masks worn by Anonymous members are their only common defining symbol. Symbols are speech, and the mask is inextricably intertwined with the speech of Anonymous. Indeed, the mask is easily seen as the speech itself, as the statement is made simply by one being present with the mask, and thereby the mask of Anonymous enjoys 1st Amendment protection.
- Or, at least, this lawyer summarily opines as such.
- Update: Leave it to Stephen Colbert to come up with the argument for unequal enforcement: "New York police, enforce that anti-mask law! Storm every operating room in the city and drag those surgeons to jail!". Tweeted at 20:50 on 21 September 2011. Though I must point out that the surgeons must be in public for the law to apply. Of course, at a public hospital ...
- Jay Leiderman
- Leiderman Devine LLP
- 5740 Ralston St #300
- Ventura, CA 93003