(CN) – The 9th Circuit on Wednesday upheld an ordinance allowing police in Redondo Beach to arrest day laborers who solicit work from people in cars, despite claims that the ordinance violates workers’ rights to free speech and equal protection.
Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network had sued the city of Redondo Beach, Calif., claiming the ordinance violated the constitutional rights of job-seekers who congregated in parking lots.
The 9th Circuit’s 2-1 ruling overturns a federal judge’s ruling for the workers, who argued that the near 25-year-old ordinance unfairly targets a certain group and violates their constitutional rights.
The city said the ordinance complies with law and bans everyone from soliciting on sidewalks and medians to avoid interfering with traffic.
The majority’s ruling, written by Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta, relies heavily on a 1986 decision stemming from similar claims filed against Phoenix by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Judge Ikuta held that Redondo Beach’s ordinance is constitutional, like Phoenix’s, because it is narrowly tailored and the ordinance specifically addresses safety concerns.
The federal appeal court also noted that the ordinance isn’t entirely restrictive, as nothing prevents workers from approaching people who are not in their cars.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw said the ordinance is “overbroad and thus violates well-established principles of our First Amendment jurisprudence.”
“The ordinance is not a valid time, place, or manner restriction because it is not narrowly tailored to the significant governmental interests asserted by the city,” Wardlaw wrote.