The Contributor v. City of Brentwood, No. 12-6598 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The Contributor produces a street newspaper to educate people about homelessness and poverty and helps develop job skills for homeless and formerly homeless persons, employing them as street vendors. Two such vendors were cited for attempting to sell issues of the newspaper on the streets and sidewalks of Brentwood, Tennessee, under an ordinance that provided that no person could use or occupy any portion of the city street, alley, sidewalk or the public right-of-way to sell any goods or materials. The city then revised the ordinance to provide that it should not “be construed as prohibiting the sale or distribution of newspapers, magazines, periodicals, handbills, flyers or similar materials, except that: (1) Such activity shall be prohibited on any portion of any street within the city. (2) Such materials shall not be handed to the occupant of any motor vehicle that is on a street, nor shall any action be taken which is intended or reasonably calculated to cause the vehicle occupant to hand anything to the person selling or distributing the materials." The district court upheld the revised ordinance as leaving open adequate alternative channels of communication. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.