Advocating for core political speech rights, the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic filed an amicus brief to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to uphold an injunction against the City of Atlanta’s residency requirement for collecting referendum petition signatures.

Under the City of Atlanta’s Municipal Code, collection of a sufficient number of certified petition signatures would require a City-wide vote on whether the ordinance authorizing lease of land for construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center should be repealed. The Clinic’s brief argues that the residency requirement for collecting signatures is a content or viewpoint-based regulation of political speech that must be subject to strict scrutiny. The Clinic further argues that the First Amendment right to gather petition signatures does not depend whether a referendum vote could lawfully repeal the ordinance.

The Clinic’s brief was written by Clinic project attorney Samantha Hamilton, Clinic legal fellow Ashley Fox, and Clinic director Clare Norins.

It was filed September 20, 2023 in support of the plaintiffs-appellees in City of Atlanta v. Baker, Case No. 23-12469.

An image of two protesters holding up signs. The man on the right holds a sign that says "Justice 4 All". The woman on the left weras a face mask and her sign says "I want to be heard".

The Issue

Free Speech

The First Amendment protects the right of private individuals to engage in speech and expression without being censored or punished by the government because of their viewpoint. While the government may constitutionally regulate the time, place, and manner of private speech in public forums it must do so in a viewpoint-neutral manner and, depending on…

Explore Issue