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Free Speech Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

In 1999, the Ku Klux Klan was granted a mile of Interstate 55 to clean up under Missouri's adopt-a-highway program. State officials attempted to block the Klan's participation; they were particularly concerned about the public's response to the sign that the Klan would be allowed to post along its stretch of highway. But after five years of litigation, the local KKK chapter's claim that it had a First Amendment right to post a sign and pick up trash was supported by the court.94

When Fatima Stevens, a minister of the Spiritual Psychic Science Church of Truth, was forbidden to practice commercial palm reading by a city ordinance, her holiness argued that her rights of speech were being violated. And the court agreed. In 1984, the California Supreme Court held that palm reading and other forms of prognostication were protected forms of speech, even when engaged in for a fee. Remember, the court said while drawing an interesting parallel, Thomas Paine did not give away his famous pamphlet, Common Sense.95

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