In a terse two-sentence decision issued today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the federal district court on Friday. As a result, registrants in Missouri are not required to post a sign on the front door of their home on Halloween this year.
“We are grateful that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to protect registrants as well as their families and homes,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “It was a difficult battle and we won!”
The specific ruling today by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals was the denial of an emergency motion filed by the Attorney General on Friday evening. That 47-page motion was supplemented by a 12-page reply brief filed earlier today. Both of those documents argued that the Halloween signs did not constitute compelled speech and therefore registrants were not protected by the First Amendment.
In the plaintiffs’ response filed earlier today, the main argument was that the Attorney General filed his motion in the wrong court. That is, the motion should have been filed in federal district court and not the court of appeals. The response also argued that the First Amendment protected registrants from the Halloween sign requirement.
The TRO issued by the federal district court will expire 14 days after it was issued. During that time, however, the state of Missouri cannot enforce the Halloween sign requirement. The federal district court has scheduled a hearing on November 9 in St. Louis during which the parties will have an opportunity to discuss whether a Preliminary Injunction, would could last up to one year, should be issued.
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