It is an interesting balace: the freedom of speech and expression, and the right for the government to censor some of that speech.
A story today from the state of Maine, concerns a beer company’s labels on their beer. Law.com brings us today’s story. Please click on here to read the story: LINK.
While the First Amendment allows United States citizens the freedom of speech and expression, courts have held that the government, whether federal or state, may limit certain types of speech, like pornography. Pornography however, is specifically defined by a case called, Miller v. California, (1973), as lacking any serious literary, artistic, scientific, political, or other social value.
After the state of Maine blocked the beer labels, the beer company filed a lawsuit to find the state’s decision to be unconstitutional. So the beer labels, presumably having determined by the attorney general to have some serious literary, artistic, scientific, political, or other social value, were allowed to be printed.
Interestingly, the company’s owner has not dropped the lawsuit against Maine, stating that the state’s policy and law concerning applications for these types of labels are vague. A law that is vague or ambiguous, which can be left to open interpretation is unconstitutional. In light of the outcome of the beer labels dispute, it does look like the beer company’s challenge does have merit.