An interesting legal battle is brewing in West Long Branch, New Jersey. One local man is being threatened with fines and jail time for flying two flags on his property because they are “fan flags” for Donald Trump. Furthermore, the man is such a devoted Trump supporter he says he is willing to continue flying the flags as part of his “First Amendment rights” even if it means paying the $2,000 fine and actually going to jail.
Joseph Hornick Jr. thinks Trump is “the best thing since the American apple pie.” He’s willing to fly his Trump flags come hell or high water, neighbors be damned, and no matter the borough ordinance stating no political signs can be displayed unless within 30 days of an election. That’s because Hornick argues the flags are not political signs—they’re flags.
Complaints of Hornick’s Trump flags started being raised by neighbors two weeks ago. Local authorities told Hornick to remove the flags as per the ordinance, but Hornick finds the command problematic, stating:
“What’s so offensive with my flag? It says ‘TRUMP — MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.'” Tell me what’s so offensive with my flag.”
“This is basically, in my opinion, a Trump fan flag. I’m a fan of Donald Trump. I am proud of it, and I’m expressing my First Amendment rights.”
So far, Hornick has received a ticket for the flags and is scheduled for an April 20 court date. With the court date looming, Hornick states:
“I’m going to keep on flying my flag at all costs. If they have to put me in jail for expressing my freedom, I’ll do the jail time, whatever it takes.”
While the ordinance impacting Hornick’s enthusiasm for Trump is currently on the books and should technically be enforced, three locals polled by CBS New York all felt Hornick should be able to fly his flags.
Ocean Township’s Joanne Raio said:
“I believe in the freedom of speech in this country, so I think that if he wants to put a flag up for whoever he wants to vote for, we should be allowed to do that.”
Frances Caprio, of West Long Branch, stated:
“What’s the difference? It’s his own business, I think, what he wants to put on his property.”
West Long Branch’s Ray Antoky said:
“All it says is the name of somebody. It’s not a sign; it’s a banner. So how do you interpret it?”
Whether Hornick will win or lose on the technicality that his “sign” is actually a flag remains to be seen.
Featured image by CBS News via video screen capture.