‘F#%* Biden’ — NJ woman wins fight to display profane signs
ROSELLE PARK — A borough woman has won her fight to display signs that bash President Biden with vulgar language.
Facing daily fines imposed by a Municipal Court after the borough government charged Andrea Dick and her mother with violating a borough ordinance prohibiting profane displays in public, a Superior Court judge on Tuesday threw out the case.
Borough officials have said that they did not intend to appeal.
Dick and her mother, both Trump supporters, were represented by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, whose attorneys argued that the borough was infringing on Dick's First Amendment right to express herself politically.
"This type of policing and silencing of speech, which has historically disproportionately impacted New Jerseyans of color, cannot go unchecked," the ACLU chapter said in a written statement a day before the court hearing. "We will vigorously defend our clients' rights to criticize politicians — even using coarse language — expression that sits at the core of the First Amendment."
A Municipal Court judge in Roselle Park had ordered Dick to remove the signs from her fence or face a $250 per day fine. The ACLU's New Jersey chapter stepped in to represent her in a hearing on Tuesday, during which the judge dismissed the charges.
Dick said the borough was going to drop all charges and the fines, which started accumulating on Thursday.
"I don't know what I am. I'm numb, I'm happy, I'm beyond," Dick said Tuesday in an interview. "Oh my God, I'm so happy."
Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello told New Jersey 101.5 that the borough believes Municipal Court Judge Gary Bundy made the right ruling but the council will tighten up its ordinance for future cases. He also reiterated the borough’s reluctance to fight Dick in court due to the cost.
“It is incredibly costly to fight First Amendment charges. A constitutional lawyer probably costs about $300 an hour. Even if we were to win in Superior Court, taking this to a higher level, which we have a feeling Ms Dick and the ACLU would do, you’re probably talking about a bill to the borough of $100,000, probably more than that when it’s all said and done,” Signorello said.
The mayor held out hope that Dick would be still consider taking the profane signs down even with the ruling.
“You can’t legislate being a good neighbor, unfortunately,” Signorello said. “I hope, personally, she takes down the indecent signs because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dick said she may pursue a lawsuit against the borough for the putting her through an ordeal over the flags.