PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday permanently barred Arizona from using a state law to prosecute an online merchant who sells shirts that list names of thousands of troops killed in Iraq.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake did not strike down the 2007 law against selling products that use of military casualties’ names without families’ permission. But he ruled that using the law to prosecute Dan Frazier would violate the Flagstaff man’s First Amendment rights because his “Bush Lied — They Died” shirts are “core political speech.”
“It is impossible to separate the political from the commercial aspects of that display,” Wake wrote. “For example, the state argues that Frazier can sell his shirts without displaying the soldiers’ names. But Frazier’s product is his message, and his customers’ message.”