As the case was being argued before the court, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. pressed Daniel Rogan, a lawyer representing Minnesota, on what could and could not be worn inside polling places.
The context: during Minnesota’s 2010 election, a new Ramsey County policy — based on an old state law — offered examples of illegal polling place attire, including “issue oriented material designed to influence or impact voting,” and “material promoting a group with recognizable political views.”
“The problem is that so many things have political connotations, and the connotations are in the eye of the beholder,” Alito began. “And on Election Day, you’re going to have hundreds, maybe thousands of officials in Minnesota, and every one of them probably thinks that he or she is the reasonable observer.”
Then Alito got down to specifics.
Would a shirt with a rainbow flag be permitted, he asked Rogan?
“Yes, it would be … unless there was an issue on the ballot that — that related somehow to — to gay rights,” Rogan replied.
How about a shirt that said “Parkland Strong?”
That would be fine, Rogan said.
“Even though gun control would very likely be an issue?” Alito asked.
“I — I think — I think today that I — that would be — if — if that was in Minnesota, and it was ‘Parkland Strong,’ I — I would say that that would be allowed in, that there’s not -”
“Okay. How about an NRA shirt?” Alito pressed.
“How about a shirt with the text of the Second Amendment?”
“Your Honor, I — I — I think that that could be viewed as political…”
“How about the First Amendment?” Alito asked, to laughter.
“It would be allowed.”
A Colin Kaepernick jersey?
“No, Your Honor, I don’t think that that