USA: Is honking a car horn protected free speech? Supreme Court to examine that question



The sound of a car horn is enough to make any driver or pedestrian whip their head around, but a California motorist is sounding the alarm on a thorny Constitutional question.

In the case of Porter v. Martinez, a California woman says that her free speech rights were violated when she was ticketed for using her car horn during a 2017 protest in San Diego County.

According to the National Constitution Center, a judge held that a sheriff’s deputy had the power to cite a woman who honked her car horn at a 2017 rally protesting against former Rep. Darrell Issa.

The woman was cited under a California law that holds that horns in cars should not be used except in instances where “safe operation” requires it, or as a “theft alarm system.”

The woman alleged that her First Amendment rights were violated, and that honking the horn in support of protesters was an expression of her political views.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that argument earlier this year, concluding that the law was narrowly-designed for ensuring public safety and therefore did not violate the First Amendment.

The case will be part of the Supreme Court’s docket this week, according to Autoblog