Federal court says banning the thin blue line flag is unconstitutional

November 15 – Springfield Township in Montgomery County, PA, recently passed a resolution that banned the use of the thin blue line flag in the township. 

The flag is the US flag with the stars and stripes in black and white, but with one blue line in the center. It is often flown to support law enforcement and police. 

Officials at the township said they believe the flag actually created distrust and discontent against the police and even went as far as to say the flag is racist and offensive. 

Judge Karen Spencer Marston, a US district judge for the eastern district of Pennsylvania said no. Banning a flag is unconstitutional and free speech is a First Amendment right, even if people find it offensive. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “This may get appealed. There was some interesting chatter circulating among legal journals yesterday disagreeing with this decision. But the federal court basically said ‘look, this is a First Amendment, free speech situation and the township doesn’t have any ability to say you can display this flag or that flag’, so for now, it’s perfectly legal to display that flag.”