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Bush-bashing bumper sticker lands motorist in free-speech fight

By The Associated Press
03.29.06

Editor’s note: The Associated Press reported on April 4, 2006, that Chief Judge R. Roy Walker of the DeKalb County Recorders Court had dismissed the case against Denise Grier. Walker said the lewd-decal law was ruled unconstitutional in 1990.

ATHENS, Ga. — A bumper sticker that takes a double-entendre dig at President Bush has landed a woman in trouble with the law.

Denise Grier, 47, of Athens was recently pulled over in suburban Atlanta's DeKalb County where she works as a nurse when a police officer spotted her bumper sticker that reads: "I'm Tired Of All The BUSHIT."

The officer who stopped her thought it was lewd, and she was cited for violating a state law prohibiting lewd or profane stickers and decals on vehicles.

Grier said the sticker is simply a political statement.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled more than a decade ago that the law against lewd bumper stickers is unconstitutional, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Grier, the police officer and an ACLU attorney will meet in court next month when Grier contests the misdemeanor charge, which carries a $100 fine.

"I am so appalled at the officer's attempt to squash my freedom of speech," Grier said on March 23. "I'm not a huge political activist or rabble-rouser, but Bush's handling of the country has pushed me to that."

ACLU attorney Gerry Weber said, "There's a concern police officers may use their personal bias in meting out citations. They just might not like what a particular bumper sticker says."

Grier says she believes the officer stopped her because he supports the president.

"In my opinion, I was pulled over solely because the officer was pro-Bush, and this was an attempt to squash my right of free speech," she said. "The officer did not have any other reason to pull me over."

Besides the offending bumper sticker, Grier's white Chrysler's rear window sports two other political statements: A crossed-out W and "Hillary 2008."

While Grier argues her bumper sticker is political speech protected by the First Amendment, the case that challenged the lewd decal law didn't involve such a serious message. In 1991, the ACLU backed a motorist who was cited for a "S--- Happens" bumper sticker.


Update
Ga. woman sues over ticket for anti-Bush bumper sticker
Federal lawsuit seeks damages for 'emotional distress,' declaration that sticker is protected speech under First Amendment. 10.17.06

Related

Man's anti-Bush bumper stickers prompt visit by Secret Service

‘They aren't going to dictate what I put on my truck,’ says Jesse Ethredge, who got in trouble more than 10 years ago over similar slogans. 09.01.01

Bumper stickers

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