Redondo Beach Wrongly Restricted Day Laborer Solicitation




LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the United States Supreme Court denied the request of the City of Redondo Beach to review the Ninth Circuit decision striking as unconstitutional the City’s ordinance prohibiting solicitation of employment, business, or contributions from city streets and sidewalks.  The Court’s denial of certiorari effectively removes the City’s last chance to preserve its unconstitutional restriction of free speech.  Today’s Supreme Court order also confirms the September 2011 en banc Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision as binding precedent throughout the nine western states covered by the circuit. 


MALDEF President and General Counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, stated, “Today’s denial of Supreme Court review is a singular victory for the First Amendment and its protection of free speech by all persons; the Amendment protects day laborers as well as the wealthiest corporation.  The dozens of cities in the western United States with markedly similar anti-day labor laws should act immediately to repeal them; each day that these laws remain on the books is a further unconstitutional deterrence of constitutionally protected expression.”


The 2004 case of Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach was a response to the City’s undercover sting operation in which officers posed as employers hiring day laborers only to arrest the workers after they agreed to employment and entered the officers’ vehicles.  The case challenged Redondo Beach Municipal Code § 3-7.1601 as a violation of the First Amendment guarantee of free expression.  The district court and the en banc Ninth Circuit, on a 9-2 vote, concluded that the ordinance is facially unconstitutional.  MALDEF, later joined by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the Bay Area and the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, represented the plaintiffs, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach, in the successful challenge.


In part because anti-solicitation ordinances targeting day laborers have been promoted by national anti-immigrant groups, numerous municipalities across the country have adopted similar, constitutionally infirm laws.  Indeed, several of the statewide anti-immigrant laws enacted in 2010 and 2011, starting with Arizona’s SB 1070, also include anti-solicitation provisions.  Today’s decision renders the dozens of anti-solicitation laws in the Ninth Circuit region subject to immediate and likely successful legal challenge.


MALDEF, in partnership with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and its predecessor organizations, has been challenging anti-day labor laws for the past two decades.


NDLON National Coordinator, Pablo Alvardo, stated, “Today’s victory took over a decade to achieve, and it is shared by day laborers throughout the country.  Every morning, day laborers not only do hard work to build our communities, they do their part to defend our most cherished Constitutional values.  Particularly in today’s economy, we are proud to have defended people’s right to seek work in public.” 

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