Michigan Muslim decision
sjamar at law.howard.edu
Fri May 14 11:54:31 PDT 2004
let's use technology to solve the problem - have pagers go off instead
of church bells and shouted calls to prayer.
On Friday, May 14, 2004, at 10:51 AM, Douglas Laycock wrote:
> The old ordinance apparently prohibited "any excessive,
> unnecessary or unusually loud noise, or any noise which either annoys
> or disturbs." Easy to see why the imam thought he wasn't violating
> that, and why sensitive neighbors thought he was. This is hardly a
> neutral ordinance; it is reminiscent of the ordinance struck down in
> Coates v. Cincinnati, which made it illegal to conduct yourself in a
> manner annoying to persons passing by. Most of the annoyance being
> expressed seems to flow more from the content than from the noise.
> We don't know how loud this is, or how far it can be heard, or
> how early in the morning. Maybe it is such a problem that it would
> have been regulated independently of its content. But my hunch is
> that if that were so, the City Council would not have amended the
> ordinance to expressly permit it.
> The underlying legal issue is how strong an interest is
> required to justify suppressing speech or a religious practice. I
> assume that under Kovacs v. Cooper they could ban all loudspeakers.
> But they may not want to live with the consequences of that. It may
> shut down events they would like to permit. I don't think they can
> ban only those loudspeakers that someone finds annoying.
> Douglas Laycock
> University of Texas Law School
> 727 E. Dean Keeton St.
> Austin, TX 78705
> 512-232-1341 (voice)
> 512-471-6988 (fax)
> dlaycock at mail.law.utexas.edu
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Howard University School of Law fax: 202-806-8567
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"Love the pitcher less and the water more."
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