Loyal readers of Liberty & Law may remember that, last October, we brought you the news of our victory over Charleston’s tour guide licensing requirement—a victory that was the fruit of a years-long strategic campaign to change the way courts treat licensing requirements that tread on First Amendment rights. We are pleased to bring you the sequel to that news: In May, a federal court ruled that a similar licensing law in Savannah, Georgia, also violated the First Amendment.
The Savannah decision is a mark of IJ’s continued progress in this area, as yet another federal court has adopted our once-radical legal arguments. Just as importantly, though, it demonstrates IJ’s persistence. We filed the Savannah case five years ago, and it would have been easy to sit on the sidelines while the court refused to issue a ruling. But that is not the IJ way: We spent those five years aggressively advancing the case every way we could think of until we achieved this victory. All told, we filed 13 different briefs with the trial court in our effort to get the court to grant judgment in our favor—usually, you’d file two or three.
That sort of commitment is essential to achieving systemic change. We cannot rest on our laurels after a single splashy victory. IJ’s goal is freedom for all Americans, and we achieve that goal the old-fashioned way: one step at a time.
Robert McNamara is an IJ senior attorney.