The law will prohibit the sale of ‘hate symbols’ on public grounds
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law to ban the sale of Confederate flags or anything deemed as “hate symbols.”
The Democrat later admitted the new edict might go against the First Amendment and be struck down as unconstitutional.
The law will prohibit the sale of “hate symbols” on public grounds, including state and local fairs.
It will also limit their display unless deemed appropriate to serving an educational or historical purpose.
Cuomo said the law might need “certain technical changes” so the state doesn’t get caught treading upon free speech protections.
“This country faces a pervasive, growing attitude of intolerance and hate,” Cuomo said.
“What I have referred to in the body politic as an American cancer,” Cuomo wrote in his approval message.
“By limiting the display and sale of the confederate flag, Nazi swastika and other symbols of hatred from being displayed or sold on state property, including the state fairgrounds, this will help safeguard New Yorkers from the fear-installing effects of these abhorrent symbols.”
Former Aide “Yes, Governor Cuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched”
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— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) December 13, 2020
“While I fully support the spirit of this legislation, certain technical changes are necessary to balance the State’s interests in preventing the use of hate symbols on state land with free speech protections embodied in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued Cuomo might have a larger problem on his hands, extending past a fast “technical” fix.
“Governor Cuomo is correct that the First Amendment may require changes in the law in light of the First Amendment.”
“A private entity can choose to sell or not sell offensive symbols, but when the government bans the sale of offensive, but constitutionally protected symbols, on its property, the First Amendment comes into play,” Abrams told The Post.
Cuomo’s legal team will be reviewing the bill in consultation with the state Legislature in order to make an amendment.
“There’s going to be a chapter amendment that limits the prohibitions at the state fair, to ensure that we are respecting the protections that the Supreme Court has recognized for individuals and vendors at state fairs to exercise their First Amendment rights,” explained Maya Moskowitz, press secretary of bill sponsor state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx).
Earlier this year, House Democrats released a funding bill that included a plan to remove statues of those who served the Confederacy or have “unambiguous records of racial intolerance.”