NEWS & Events
GDHM seeks US Supreme Court review in “car art” lawsuit
GDHM appellate lawyers have asked the United States Supreme Court to reverse a decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the City of San Marcos, Texas, to ban the public display of an “car art” on private property.
Local businessman Michael Kleinman held a charity “car bash” in 2008, selling sledgehammer swings for $1. He then commissioned San Marcos artists Scott Wade and Furly Travis to transform the wrecked Oldsmobile 88 into a work of art, and displayed it near the IH-35 frontage road on his property near his Planet K store. San Marcos cited the artwork (pictured above, photo courtesy John Kelso, 2008) as a “junked vehicle” and refused to make an exception, even while admitting it embodied artistic expression.
GDHM lawyers Pete Kennedy, David Lein and Drew Harris have been representing Kleinman and the artists in a federal court lawsuit, arguing that San Marcos’ junked vehicle ordinance, as applied to their work, violates the First Amendment.
On June 7, 2010, GDHM filed a petition for certiorari with the US Supreme Court, asking the court to hold that the First Amendment applies to all art, not just “great art,” as the Fifth Circuit suggested might be the case. The petition also argues that a city may not completely ban the public display of artwork based on the artists’ choice of medium, but rather that any regulation must be narrowly tailored and leave ample alternative channels of communication – and that a citywide ban cannot be justified under the First Amendment.
photo courtesy John Kelso, 2008