State Capitol News
Tue August 19, 2008
Legality of Flagstaff anti-war t-shirts upheld
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – A federal judge today permanently blocked local and state officials from prosecuting Flagstaff resident Dan Frazier for the anti-war T-shirts he is selling. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
Frazier has been producing and marketing shirts from Flagstaff
with the words Bush Lied on one side and They Died on the other,
all superimposed over the names of more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers
killed in Iraq. State lawmakers approved a statute last year
which makes it a crime to market any products with the name of
dead soldiers. Frazier got the American Civil Liberties Union to
intercede on his behalf after being told by Flagstaff police they
were preparing a report on his activities for prosecutors. U.S.
District Court Judge Neil Wake put the law on hold last year
while he heard arguments on the issue.
In today's new ruling,
Wake acknowledged that the constitutional rights of free speech
are not as broad when it comes to commercial activities. But the
judge said the fact Frazier sells his shirts is immaterial in
this case. He called the T-shirts -- quote -- core political
speech fully protected by the First Amendment. The ruling does
not end all of Frazier's legal problems. He still faces a
separate lawsuit brought by the parents of a dead solider under
another provision of the law which requires consent of next of
kin to use any names.
For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard