(CN) – A county in Maryland can’t outlaw a fortune-telling business, the state appeals court ruled, because it involves constitutionally protected speech.
Nick Nefedro wanted to open a fortune-telling business in Montgomery County, so he challenged the county’s ban on receiving compensation for telling fortunes.
The trial court ruled that the ban is constitutional, but the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the decision.
“A restriction on remuneration for protected speech is a restriction on the speaker’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech,” Judge Clayton Greene Jr. wrote.
He also stopped short of a blanket statement that fortune telling is always fraudulent.
“Fortune telling may be pure entertainment, it may give individuals some insight into the future, or it may be hokum,” Greene wrote. “People who purchase fortune-telling services may or may not believe in its value. Fortune tellers may sometimes deceive their customers. We need not, however, pass judgment on the validity or value of the speech that fortune telling entails.”