US Magistrate Rules Alexandria, Louisiana Fortune-Telling Ban Unconstitutional

July 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments

Following up on a story from last September … it looks like Rachel Adams of Alexandria, Louisiana may have won her battle against that city and its fortune-telling ban.

A little over a week ago, US Magistrate Judge James D. Kirk ruled that Alexandria’s law against fortune-telling was unconstitutional in that it infringed on the First Amendment right of free speech.

The law itself not only prohibited psychic or Tarot readings for pay, it stated that it was unlawful …

“… for any person to engage in the business or practice of palmistry, card reading, astrology, fortunetelling, phrenology, mediums or activities of a similar nature within the city, regardless of whether a fee is charged directly or indirectly, or whether the services are rendered without a charge.”

The City had argued that ‘fortune-telling’ constituted commercial speech and could thus be regulated.

As reported by The Town Talk, Judge Kirk disagreed and ruled that the law should be struck down.

“To apply the ordinance literally would outlaw every ‘amateur psychiatrist, parlor sage and barstool philosopher’ in Alexandria who dares to suggest to another what the future may hold.”

In his 10-page recommendation, Kirk went on to make some more pretty powerful points,

“This attempt at ‘alchemy’ by the city to turn content-based speech into commercial speech just doesn’t shine … “

“My use of allegory and analogy is intended to demonstrate why we cannot afford to allow government to squelch free thought and speech without a compelling interest, and why even a fortuneteller’s speech must be protected …”

“For a government to believe that it knows all that is true and real, no matter how obvious it thinks it is, is arrogance, pure and simple. Our Constitution protects us from such government oppression.”

The City has two weeks to respond with objections.

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