City of Sacramento Sued Over Law Requiring People to Stand for National Anthem

A Las Vegas resident has filed a lawsuit against the City of Sacramento, California regarding a section of the city code that requires people to stand when the national anthem is played. He alleges that he plans to attend at least one Sacramento Kings NBA game in the foreseeable future, but that it will be impossible for him to go if he must subject himself to criminal prosecution for exercising his freedom of speech by refusing to stand for the anthem at such an event.

Failure to comply with the Sacramento code section at issue is a misdemeanor, carrying potential fines of $500 to $1,000 and six months in jail. Among other relief, the plaintiff seeks a declaration that the law is unconstitutional on its face, and a permanent injunction against the City from enforcing it in the future. This lawsuit follows years of controversy related to the national anthem and professional sports events. Specifically, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes have drawn criticism for taking a knee during the anthem to protest police violence against Black individuals and others.

Additional Reading

Complaint, Lipeles v. City of Sacramento, filed July 1, 2020, via Justia Dockets

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