Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Between 2000 and 2004, the city of St. Louis used eminent domain to condemn 24 buildings owned by Jim Roos' non-profit organization. To protest the condemnations, Roos painted a huge "End Eminent Domain Abuse" mural on the side of a building that faces Interstate 44. Unsurprisingly, the government of St. Louis wasn't happy. The city's Building and Inspection Division cited Roos for violating the city's sign code, arguing that permits were required for “signs” of this size displayed on a building. Fed up, Roos' non-profit has sued the city for violating its First Amendment rights. According to Roos, if the First Amendment means anything at all, it means that citizens have the right to protest government policies without having to get government approval. After a long legal battle, the case has finally worked its way up to the Eighth Circuit - stay tuned for the verdict.
One last note. Doesn't the red slash through "End Eminent Domain Abuse" make this mean, Don't End Eminent Domain Abuse? Michael Scott would approve: