Wyoming Liberty Group

We here at the Wyoming Liberty Group strive to bring you the latest information. Please enjoy the blogs and comment on them often.

Steve Klein serves as attorney and research counsel with the Wyoming Liberty Group and Pillar of Law Institute, focusing on free speech and criminal law.  Steve has co-authored numerous amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs for state and federal courts in several important free speech cases, advocating in favor of political speech across the country. In 2014, Steve was co-counsel in three successful free speech cases in Wyoming.
In the 2015 Wyoming Legislative Session, Steve lobbied on behalf of reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture law. 2015 Senate File 14 passed the entire legislature 80-9 before being vetoed by Governor Mead. Steve continues to lobby on behalf of reform in the 2015-16 legislative interim.
Steve holds a bachelors degree in politics from Hillsdale College and a law degree from Ave Maria School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of the Ave Maria Law Review and President of the Ave Maria Federalist Society. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Michigan.

Friend of the Court Jester

“This case concerns amici because the law at issue undermines the First Amendment’s protection of the serious business of making politics funny.”

So begins a friend-of-the-court (amici) brief from our friends at the Cato Institute and P.J. O’Rourke—“America’s leading political satirist”—in the case Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, which is pending at the United States Supreme Court. The case is a challenge to an Ohio law that punishes false campaign speech, and the brief hilariously illustrates the pitfalls of such laws. Specifically, the brief utilizes O’Rourke’s legendary wit to show how easily political satire can be censored under the threat of a bureaucrat labeling it “false” speech:

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Drones in Wyoming Skies and “Robocop” at the Door

Last Friday was the final day for first reading of bills in their house of origin in the 2014 Wyoming Budget Session. Due to the priority of budget amendments, even extended hours could not provide the time needed to consider first reading of every bill that survived introduction and came out of committee. This spelled death for dozens of bills. In some cases this was a welcome development: I incorrectly predicted that an attempt to restrict the use of a “wearable computer with head mounted display” (i.e., Google Glass) while driving would not survive introduction, but Senate File 35 made it all the way to General File before its demise thanks to the first reading cutoff.

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This is What a Flawless Free Speech Victory Looks Like

Yesterday, the Cheyenne City Council voted to amend the Cheyenne Unified Development Code to conform to the preliminary injunction we secured against the city in our case Williams v. Cheyenne last week.

What does that mean? The Wyoming Tribune Eagle sums it up nicely:

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WyLiberty Attorneys Partner to Prohibit Unconstitutional Cheyenne Sign Law

UPDATE (3:30 PM): We have received word that Judge Skavdahl has considered and signed the proposed order. Effective immediately, “Defendant City of Cheyenne is enjoined from enforcing the provisions of Article 6.5 and Section 1.3.3 of the Cheyenne Unified Development Code, as those provisions pertain to signs relating to a candidate, issue, proposition, ordinance or other matter to be voted upon by the electors of the city or as those provisions pertain to signs conveying a philosophical, religious, political, charitable or other similar noncommercial message within the City of Cheyenne.”

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UDC Censors Citizens of Cheyenne

You may have heard recently about a lawsuit brought by Cheyenne resident Ron Williams against the city for limiting the number of political signs he can put on his lawn and setting a timeframe within which he can display those signs. You might also think “what’s the big deal?” Indeed, I’ve heard from a few fellow residents that political signs aren’t important enough to sue over, that neighborhood aesthetics are more important than political signs, and that there are other ways for Ron to speak out. As one of Williams’s attorneys in the case, allow me to answer these criticisms.

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WyLiberty Attorneys seek Preliminary Injunction in Cheyenne Sign Case

CHEYENNE – Wyoming Liberty Group attorneys filed a motion for preliminary injunction in the federal district court in Cheyenne today, seeking immediate relief for Ron Williams in his case against the City of Cheyenne over political sign restrictions.

“If the court grants a preliminary injunction, it would prevent the City of Cheyenne from enforcing the unconstitutional time and quantity sign restrictions in the Unified Development Code until the case is resolved,” said Boyd Wiggam, counsel to Williams. “Williams’s case is very likely to succeed, so we believe this injunction is warranted.”

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“Watchdogs” Try to Commandeer FEC

One of the few things Congress got right when it passed the Federal Election Campaign Act – thereby creating the Federal Election Commission (FEC) – was appointing an equal number of commissioners from both major political parties atop the agency. No matter what the agency’s bureaucrats want to do, they must usually answer to these political appointees. If a majority vote of four out of six commissioners cannot be achieved (that is, a passing vote with at least one vote from a commissioner of a different party), then the agency cannot act.

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