ACLU to represent Trump supporter in New Jersey flag flap
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey is coming to the aid of a West Long Branch man who faces a fine and possibly jail for flying a flag over his property in support of Donald Trump.
Joseph Hornick has a hearing on May 18 for violating an ordinance that prohibits displaying a campaign sign more than 30 days before an election. Municipal officials say they consider the flag a campaign sign.
The ACLU, which has successfully challenged similar ordinances in Hawthorne, Shrewsbury and Wyckoff, says the U.S. Constitution protects the right to express political beliefs no matter when the election takes place.
"West Long Branch needs to realize that unless it takes this policy off the books, it’s violating the Constitution," said ACLU-NJ Deputy Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero.
Hornick, who calls himself a "proud, passionate Donald Trump supporter," is more determined than ever to keep his Trump flag flying.
"I shouldn’t be punished for exercising my constitutional right to free speech. I’m not breaking the law by flying my Trump flags; rather, the borough is breaking the law by having this unconstitutional ordinance on the books.”
West Long Branch Borough Clerk Lori Cole said she could not comment because Hornick's hearing is pending. Earlier, Cole said she could not recall a case where anyone had been jailed for violating the ordinance.