Michigan Capitol Confidential
April 11, 2011
A federal lawsuit claims a Branch County tea party group was denied the right to display banners and signs at a tea party rally at a public park in Coldwater because it was “too political” and “too controversial.” The Coldwater City Council then passed a resolution banning all banners and signs in that park.
The Thomas More Law Center law firm filed its lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Attorney Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center alleged that Coldwater City Manager Jeff Budd objected because the Common Sense Patriots of Branch County were “too political” and “too controversial.”
Budd didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Heather Peet was the only person of the nine-member City Council to respond to an email seeking comment. She referred questions to John Hutchinson, the city’s legal counsel. Hutchinson didn’t respond to a phone message left at his law office or an email.
In a Nov. 2 memo to the City Council, Budd stated the “administrative headaches” of increased requests to have banners in the park led the city to either “allow all banners or no banners.”